Reviewed on 2011 July 23
This was a movie that raised a lot of questions about the ethics and wisdom of tinkering with genes, and could have been a modern-day Frankenstein set in a huge lab. Unfortunately, it alternated between dragging along or trying to gross us out instead of just plain scaring the audience.
Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and his lab partner and girlfriend Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) both work at N.E.R.D., or Nucleic Exchange Research and Development, a genetic engineering concern that specializes in combining DNA in an effort to combat diseases. They’ve spliced together the DNA of multiple critters and so far are proud of what they’ve accomplished, but Elsa wants to take it further. What if by combining a little human DNA in their next experiment, they made a nice batch of genetic salad that could yield the cure for, say, cancer?
They forge ahead, whipping up the DNA-version of a scary well drink from a biker bar and creating something (you see it in the promo clips) that looks like a raw chicken gone very wrong. This thing is the creature for which the term “kill it with fire” was created, but Elsa refuses. She bonds with the thing, naming it Dren and making a series of dumber and dumber decisions about it, even as they get more and more evidence that this creature was a mistake from the moment the zygote split.
I know that if you start nit-picking movies you can’t enjoy them. I don’t think it’s a nit-pick session when you point out plot holes like the scientists being surprised by Dren’s physical traits, despite being the ones that picked the DNA to make her. That’s like a chef being surprised there’s garlic in the pasta sauce he cooked. The other problem is we don’t get a lot of rationale behind what Clive or Elsa do about Dren, which is more a weakness of the script than the actors, who did a good job with a lot of silliness. Then, as the thing started to get interesting towards the end, it not only disgusted me, it proved that Elsa is just too stupid to live. If you actually still want to watch the thing, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Just…ick.
One morsel, with no extra preservatives or stuff added to it.