Movie Review: Splice
Playing God is not a children's game
At this point in time, I am not a parent. I don’t know first hand what it’s like to be a parent. But I do know lots of people who are parents. I’ve talked to them about their kids. I’ve shared meals with them where their kids would sit and eat with us. I’ve been there when times are good and when times are bad. The moments where the parent couldn’t possibly be prouder of their kid (and times where the parent is literally pulling out their hair in frustration). Parenting can be tough. But imagine how much tougher it would be if the child was a human/animal hybrid that you created in your lab and she was growing at an incredible rate.
I know some parents think that their children aren’t exactly human. In Splice, this is not an exaggeration but the situation a young couple find themselves after playing God with test tubes.
Clive and Elsa are two scientists in love. They’ve been putting in the hard hours in the lab trying to produce new forms of life by combing DNA from different animals. So far they’ve been successful. And they’re ready to take things to the next level and combine human DNA into their genetic cocktail. Despite being warned that this would be a bad idea, they go ahead with it anyway. Of course they go ahead with it - if they didn’t, we wouldn’t have a movie, would we?
The results of their experiment is a female creature they name Dren. As Dren rapidly grows into an adult, Clive and Elsa raise her in secret. Be warned, this is not a warm and fuzzy Disney movie. Things do get dark and we are forced to consider if attempting to create life, to in essence play God, is a good idea. Dren may seem cute and innocent, but there is something simmering under the surface - something animalistic and, if we’re willing to admit it, all too human.
The special effects in this movie are amazing. There has been a lot care and attention to detail put into making Dren believable. It’s an unnerving combination of realism and something not quite right. There are only four fingers on each hand, yet it looks completely normal at first glance. A lot of this can be credited to the actress playing Dren. She manages to move in a way that is simultaneously natural and unnatural. She earnestly comes across as something truly alien yet real.
Clive and Elsa are completely irresponsible. They are glorified children with too much knowledge and too much power. This is seen in everything from the way they dress to their reluctance to get married and start a family. These two shouldn’t be given a pot plant, let alone the ability to create new life forms. Yet, because of their immaturity, they decide to play God and create Dren. Splice is a movie that asks many moral questions. Should we create new life? Should we tamper with human DNA? Should we exploit these new life forms? Should we treat them as human or as lab experiments? Should we get romantically involved with these life forms that we’ve created and have sex with them? Yes, Splice goes there.
At one point, a character comments that “some things you just don’t do.” There are questions about morality going on here. But what things can you do and what things should you not do? There aren’t any easy answers here.
The scientists in Splice are irresponsible and don’t know what they’re doing. There is no plan when they create Dren. They only do it so they could say they did. They’re making it up as they go without any idea of what happens next. They do an absolutely terrible job of playing God. It fills me with joy to know that this is not how I was created. That the God who brought me into existence didn’t do it for fun, or as a badly thought out experiment. He created me because he loves me and he knows what he’s doing. He knew what he was doing when I was conceived and he has planned out my entire life. I can have confidence that I am not an accident. The real God is in control. If you are a Christian, then you are “God’s elect… who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (1 Peter 1:1-2)
Splice is the kind of movie that makes you think. There are questions here about morality, creation, and parenthood. Be aware that this movie earns its MA rating - there are several sex scenes and some horrific moments. These aren’t there just for shock value as they support the story being told, but they are still there, so if that kind of thing is a stumbling block for you, might be an idea to wait for DVD and fast forward through them.