Dark R-Rated Sci-Fi Thriller Being Rediscovered By New Fans On Max

By Jason Collins | Updated

Splice 2009

While the top 10 most-watched lists at streamers are usually reserved for the freshest releases, every now and then, an oldie-but-goodie pops up on the list, reminding the viewers of its existence. This time, it’s Splice, a 2009 science fiction horror that brilliantly portrays exactly what happens when genetic engineering goes wrong.

Genetic Engineering Gone Wrong

Splice 2009

Currently positioned as No. 9 on Max’s (formerly HBO) top-10 list of movies, Splice tells a cautionary tale of the dangers of unethical genetic engineering and everything that could go wrong when people decide to play God (or any other deity) and try to make other people. Namely, two scientists—portrayed by Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley—splice together animal DNA in hopes of creating hybrids for medical purposes. However, they didn’t actually stop there; instead, they chose to add human DNA into the mix,

A Modern Frankenstein Story

Splice 2009

What results is a classic Frankenstein tale in a modern, more unsettling setting, in which a creature is trying to free itself from its creators. However, unlike Frankenstein’s monster, the creature in Splice also has intercourse with its creators and changes its gender, which adds an additional layer of creepiness to the entire movie. That is, not before it started developing skills at a rapid rate, which wouldn’t be much of a problem were those skills not predatory in nature—it would seem that Lassie isn’t coming home after all.

Shocking But Subtle

Splice 2009

All jokes aside, director Vincenzo Natali sought to create something shocking but also very subtle and completely believable, and he succeeded in his mission. Originally conceptualized as the follow-up to Natali’s legendary Cube movie from 1997, the budgetary and technological constrictions of the time hindered the project until a decade later, when it evolved into Splice and entered active production.

A Polarizing Premise

Splice 2009

Unfortunately, Splice flopped at the box office so hard it failed to recuperate its production budget of $30 million. It managed to earn $27 million, which certainly isn’t something to write home about, but it managed to polarize the critics, with some calling it well done and intriguing, while others called it one of the worst movies of 2010, ridiculing its plot. With that said, the movie managed to earn a 75 percent critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and a Certified Fresh rating despite a poor audience rating on the platform.

Splice Streaming On Max

Despite its open ending, all ideas of a sequel have been extinguished by poor box office performance. Splice remains a beloved sci-fi horror movie that managed to garner several awards and award nominations, including the Telefilm Golden Box Office Award for being the highest-grossing Canadian movie in 2010 and a nomination for Best Science Fiction Film at the 37th Saturn Awards, but lost to 2010’s Inception—a really good sci-fi action movie from Oppenheimer’s Christopher Nolan.

In the end, the 2010s were a really good time for horror movies, so Splice had some pretty stiff competition, like Orphan, Pandorum, and Drag Me to Hell, among all others. Those interested in seeing Splice can watch the movie on Max, which is currently charting at No. 9 on the top-10 list.