The outstanding creature effects by Howard Berger only get more astonishing as Splice splits into an eerie horror picture, then divides again into something out of Rosemary's Baby.
The Cronenberg influence here is evident in Mr. Natali's interest in the body and birth and in an initially subdued, near-narcoleptic atmosphere that helps build a nice sense of foreboding.
If it's discouraging -- or at least disorienting -- to see that Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley have signed on to a gnarly work of science-fiction horror, lighten up. They have good taste in schlock.
The detailed imagining of Dren's life cycle and Splice's one-upping make the movie mortifyingly fascinating, and its spell lasts right up until the junk heap of a grand finale.
It wants to tour the scarred human psyche, yet the cobbled-together screenplay is silly when it should be spooky, cold when it should boil over and dumb when it should be smart.
The script blends human psychology with scientific speculation and has genuine interest until it goes on autopilot with one of the chase scenes Hollywood now permits few films to end without.
The film, much of which takes place in laboratories or at the couple's isolated farmhouse, doesn't deliver "the usual." I was fine with that -- grateful, in fact. A little queasy in the stomach, but grateful.
The movie carves out its own psychological terrain, pondering the emotional storms of both childhood and parenthood as relations in the little family grow ever more perverse.
Splices together the mad-scientist story with a satire of modern marriage and parenting. While the results are mad, brazenly unethical, and occasionally funny, the implications are deeply upsetting.
The film's deliberately provocative premise is worked out in broad, lurid comic-book strokes, consciously calculated to shock the easily shockable and titillate the peculiar.
Morphing as often as the character central to its story, Splice is an unruly mix of science, morality, family dysfunction, horror and finger-down-the-throat gross-out ridiculousness.
The movie doesn't work, but the sets and CGI effects are fascinating, and the actors carry on like they're in some kind of meaningful futuristic experience of lasting value.
Benefiting significantly from the casting of Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, director Vincenzo Natali's outlandish sci-fier sustains a grotesque and funny fascination throughout its slightly protracted runtime.
Brody and Polley's performances keep the film grounded in a semblance of reality even when it threatens to go over the top near the end, and director Natali infuses the proceedings with a consistent sense of nail-biting dread.