The Guilty Pleasure of Monster Movies

Last weekend, after exhausting every option for a Saturday night movie, I found myself sitting in a Boise theater with a mini bottle of Zinfandel watching 'Splice.'  There were approximately a dozen people in attendance, mostly teenagers, one group of girls appeared to be helping each other through a bad trip of some kind.  Oddly enough, the morphing, oversexed chimera the film depicts in excess didn't upset their buzz;  the 'freak out' was triggered by one of the movie seats.  I wouldn't want to run into that bunch in a dark alley five years from now.

Everyone sitting in that 10:45 screening was unanimously bored, annoyed, and rolling their eyes about 30 minutes in;  everyone except me.  That's right, I was watching with complete, rapt attention to the modern day B-movie abomination.  I have a confession to make:  no matter how bad, no matter how campy or silly, I love monster movies.  Extra points for body horror.  This one had both.

Give me a monster and I'm sold.  I can forgive any dumb gimmick, like the hand held improvised acting in 'Cloverfield' just to get a glimpse of some beastly critter on a rampage of destruction.  Splice had a lot to forgive.  It did win me over with female lead Sarah Polley--even if she was sleeping with human broomstick Adrian Brody.  The plot of the movie is pretty thin.  In fact, I think I could spoil the entire plot in one sentence.  Psychological overtones were haplessly forced on the connect-the-dots story a few times.  They were believable, but the pointed delivery of the character's insights screamed "double feature."

The creature, Dren, which is "Nerd" spelled backwards (taken from a reading lesson conducted by Polley during her brief stint as a makeshift Anne Sullivan) was a mash-up off human DNA with an unspecified soup of other fauna.  Conveniently the life cycle of this Frankenstein is accelerated, so the scientists (and us lucky viewers) could observe the development in one condensed, edited 90 minute montage.  The special affects on Dren weren't bad--and even though, as stated, the twist ending is campy as hell, if you want to laugh at Adrian Brody, it's worth it.  Just bring booze.

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