Cast/Crew: Directed by Vincenzo Natali (Cube 1997), starring Adrien Brody (whom I call Adrien Beaky, Predators), Sarah Polley (Ana in Dawn of the Dead) and Delphine Chanéac as the adult Dren.
Plot: Sci-Fi Horror about two scientists who secretly bioengineer a humanoid creature. It goes tits up.
• The scientists are well-meaning but ambitious and that’s their excuse for continuing this experiment. Lots of we need to know if we actually did it/if it’s sustainable, let’s cure diseases like Parkinson’s. They’re also quite naive, haphazard and incautious (it must be dead…lemme just stick my hand in-OH NO! etc) – a little frustrating & unprofessional but otherwise wouldn’t make for an interesting film! You’ll have to not let that bug you to enjoy the film.
• Beakey & Polley are also a couple in the film, so the rapidly developing female humanoid gives a parent-child aspect to it.
• Jurassic Park style idea about gene splicing (take DNA from different animals and make a new abomination in an ovum).
• The gestational sac is monitored for heart rate and flatlines for a few seconds. IT’S TAZZ!
• Their presentation (which needs to be a home run to secure much needed funding) goes extremely badly. It was great.
• They use a mix of physical props and CG initially. No amount of high-end graphics would make these look real so it was grand. They later use a girl in prosthetics/makeup with and CG over it.
• Despite being adaptive and screaming initially, the female experiment “Dren” (backwards for ‘nerd’, huh huh huh) grows up mute. Odd as she’s highly intelligent, I’m sure not talking was to keep her mysterious.
• There’s a few shots of breasts later on, but I don’t think I’ve seen a film couple have sex any quicker with more clothes on. Possibly Watchmen. Dren walks around naked but she’s ‘positionally’ covered (things like her tail covers her butt-crack)
• The experiment Dren matures into basically a hot alien girl (a pretty bald woman with a tail, wings and CG placing her eyes farther apart). Made me wonder how long until Adrien Beeky bangs her. He does half an hour later and gets caught, it’s hilarious. Reminds me of the Jay (from Clerks II): Yeah. Like, be the first motherfucker to see a new galaxy, or find a new alien lifeform… and fuck it. And people’d be like, “There he goes. Homeboy fucked a Martian once.”
• More incredibly, he’s able to successfully talk himself out of it doing the dirt on his girlfriend turning it back on her re: horrific scientist ethics.
• Dren’s mature female form changes the dynamic, as she becomes attracted to Beaky (he’s initially unsure but kinda into it), which is well creepy as he’s in the father role and taking advantage of her. After the act, Polley becomes irate and a bit cruel, angrily stripping and mutilating Dren (cutting off her stinger), always deluding herself under the flimsy pretence of science. She gets her receipt in a great bit of ‘turn about is fair play’ in the big crescendo.
• I realise they meet a lot of people involved in gene splicing, but it’s surprising how unsurprised the supporting cast are hearing/seeing this dangerous humanoid monster. “This is from a living creature, so where is it?” kind of thing.
• It all leads to an action end sequence, which makes sense but isn’t that satisfying. The movie is more of a sci-fi drama in a horror setting, it gets cheesy when it becomes out-and-out horror.
Overall: it’s decent, an easy watch but it’s nothing must-see. In the broader scope it protrays scientists and companies as amoral, unethical criminals but it doesn’t spend time worrying about it. The writing isn’t anything special but director Natali did a good job with the drama aspect. Give it a goosie if the trailer interests you.