In the long, and seemingly endless parade of slumming Oscar winners (headed, of course, with baton held high, by a Pepsi-soaked Joan Crawford probing and pawing a walking carpet in her cinematic swan song), there’s been no shortage of ham-fistedness, embarrassed cowering, and blatant whoring, but for the first and only time, the little golden man has fucked an animal. Though not really an animal, per se, but a genetically modified hybrid that combines the DNA of an insane woman with the cellular structure of a panting hemorrhoid. It’s a heavenly marriage, all in the name of science, and the result – a bald, fish-eyed, kangaroo-limbed monstrosity with the sting of a scorpion and the beauty of a pre-Pope tearing Sinead O’Connor – will be mounted by none other than Adrien Brody (Clive), even though the creature in question is technically his daughter, or at the very least a minor in his care. But by god, he fucks it, or her, or whatever, in a love scene so tender and erotic that there’s no shame in admitting a slight twinge down below, if only because the inhumanity of it all is no match for the broad’s tits. Her name, incidentally, is Dren (yes, “nerd” spelled backwards, in case you missed it), and she grows from screeching pod to a woman about town during her brief stay in an isolated barn, the very barn where she seduces the hapless Brody. I’d dismiss it out of hand were it not for the lab coats.
There really is no other reason to see Splice, of course, though watching a respected thespian fuck his mutant daughter with a passion he could barely muster for his own wife makes up for the multitude of deficits found in the picture’s brief limp across a dirty screen. It is at the point of insertion, though, that we revisit all that has come before us and conclude with perverted delight that above all, this is sci-fi alarmism at its best, and perhaps the year’s most pointed warning against impending parenthood. Our dedicated scientific team – Clive and the sexy geek allure of Sarah Polley (Elsa) – want to shake up the world with their research, and can’t let a little thing like having children get in their way. One initially assumes this is due to their professional obsessions, but at the end of the day, it’s at least in part reflective of mommy’s concern that daddy will swing too close to his own family tree. She senses it, as all protective women do, much more so when they bring a wee one aboard that does not share a similar bloodline. It’s the unavoidable dilemma all mixed families face, and Splice all but argues that far from The Brady Bunch ideal, these artificial creations are rife with disorder, disgust, and a propensity for immoral (and perhaps illegal) sexual intercourse. After all, when Elsa discovers her man in the throes of passion with the hyper-aggressive Dren, she seems less shocked than sadly, predictably, affirmed as a prognosticator.
The moments following the illicit discovery play like something out of Tennessee Williams, complete with our aggrieved hero turning the tables and all but blaming his indulgence on the whims of fate. Only there’s no estate sale at Belle Reeve, just Clive pulling distractions from his pockets like a frantic bum trying to find enough change for a bottle of booze. Yes, he had his penis inside something slapped together in a lab, but didn’t she want to play god? Wasn’t she after some petty redemption by using her psychotic mom’s genes to produce a sister? He plays it brilliantly, as Elsa does in fact forget his appalling sin, as do we, if only because the image was damn near enough to burn our retinas clean. From here, though, the movie turns truly adventurous, as Dren dies, is reborn, and kills several people, including Clive’s brother (as the molester uncle, in all likelihood), only to transform from female to male. Now armed with a penis instead of a vagina, s/he moves on to Elsa, plugging her hole in a further Freudian nightmare that even he might have removed from the case files. This sexual encounter, though crazy enough to work, is less appealing because it approximates actual rape instead of a tender embrace between a father figure and his deformed pet. Needless to say, Elsa will be impregnated by the beast, which means she will be generously compensated by some faceless corporation for her trouble, made sinister by the presence of a CEO with a French accent. More science! And further evidence that Elsa never wanted Clive’s unworthy seed to begin with. No, Elsa craved her own DNA, and by having a child by her daughter, who herself was at least partially her mother, who then became a son, well, we get just the resolution we needed to start the summer with the proper level of absurdity. Women, narcissism incarnate, want nothing more than to give birth to themselves.