"Splice" is a hybrid that works. It's a smart, slickly paced, well-acted science-fiction cautionary tale-horror movie-psychological drama. In its mix are ethical quandaries in biotechnology, nature versus nurture and an adorable-sexy-disturbing monster. So there's that. But it wins best in show by focusing on one of the weirder relationship triangles in recent memory.
Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive ( Adrien Brody) are brilliant scientists creating genetically modified organisms to harvest proteins that might cure diseases. Their crowning achievement is a pair of multi-animal creations that resemble massive, fleshy worms. When they realize they're about to lose the chance to pursue their ultimate goal — a human-animal hybrid ( George W. Bush was right!) whose proteins could defeat cancer and other scourges — they rush to finish their work. As Clive says, "What's the worst that could happen?"
As one might imagine, the worst is more than a Petri dish of nonviable goo. The resulting creation, Dren, resembles a rabbit-cat-human infant at first (the visual effects are top notch), something downright huggable. They start off so cute….
The clever script and grounded performances — especially by Polley — convincingly sell the "good idea at the time" hubris of geniuses making horrible decisions. Polley's Elsa is a multilayered person balancing an aversion to motherhood with deep-seated maternal yearnings.