It sounds like the premise of a thousand monster movies: Brilliant but reckless scientists perform an ill-advised experiment, unleashing into the world a deadly beast. Havoc reigns. People die. Mankind once again pays the ultimate price for trying to play God.
The difference, in Vincenzo Natali’s chilling, cerebral Splice, is that the premise is handled with unusual restraint. Rather than embracing the sensational, Natali, who co-wrote the original story, seems more interested in the human drama that unfolds as two genetic engineers, played by Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, form a precarious bond with the creature their human-DNA experiment has produced.