One of the best horror movies you haven't seen just cracked Max's top 10

Sarah Polley as Elsa Kast in "Splice" now streaming on Max
(Image credit: Maximum Film / Alamy Stock Photo)

New releases typically dominate the top 10 most-watched lists of the best streaming services, and while that’s usually the case right now on Max as “Dune: Part Two” and “Am I OK?” hold the top two spots, look down the list and you’ll find some older gems. 

Currently holding the No. 9 position is a movie you might not have heard of called “Splice”. This 2009 horror film was a bit of a box office dud, failing to recoup its $30 million budget, and ultimately making little impact on the genre. But the movie’s out-of-the-blue revival over on Max is not unearned, as “Splice” has more going for it than you might first realize. 

In fact, this sci-fi-flavored chiller from director Vincenzo Natali (who would go on to make “In the Tall Grass” for Netflix and helmed ‘90s cult favorite “Cube), is a surprisingly enjoyable watch, blending spooky scares with an intriguing premise. Here’s all the details you need to know if you're considering streaming this one...

What is “Splice” about? 

Splice Movie Trailer 2 - YouTube Splice Movie Trailer 2 - YouTube
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“Splice” weaves a compelling story that tells a cautionary tale of the dangers of mankind attempting to play God. It centers on two young scientists (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley), who are looking to make a name for themselves by splicing together animal DNA to create hybrid creatures for medical purposes. 

When the duo’s employer demands they halt their research, the hubristic pair decide to continue their experimentations in secret, and without any corporate restraints holding them back, they add a new component to their genetic engineering concoction: Human DNA. 

This leads to the creation of a revolutionary hybrid that matures at an unprecedented speed and boasts both human and animalistic qualities. The scientists name the hybrid Dren, and at first, are utterly amazed by their breakthrough, but soon start to fear their own creation as Dren develops new skills at a rapid rate, and begins to act out with increasing violence. 

"Splice" reviews — here’s what critics thought

The early 2010s wasn’t a vintage period for horror with a lot of low-effort entries in the genre, but “Splice” bucked the trend, to a degree. It holds a solid, but not quite spectacular 75% score on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, which earned it a Certified Fresh seal.

Writing for Empire Magazine, Kim Newman said, ”[Splice] doesn't go the complete distance, but this is a wholly admirable, refreshingly grown-up science-fiction movie: a Frankenstein with a beating, gene-spliced heart and top-of-the-range performances."

Nigel Floyd of Time Out called the flick “Cronenbergian” in a nod to its clear inspiration from the works of body-horror expert David Cronenberg but noted “Splice” never quite hits the same heights as the acclaimed director's best works. Michael Ordoña of the Los Angeles Times was another positive voice: “Splice is a hybrid that works. It's smart, slickly paced, well-acted science-fiction cautionary tale-horror movie-psychological drama.

However, not every critic was impressed. The Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday was extremely underwhelming. “A thoroughly repulsive science fiction-horror flick that slicks up its B-movie tawdriness with high-gloss production values and two otherwise classy stars,” said Hornaday in a zero stars review. 

It should also be noted that the movie has a fairly awful audience score of just 37% on Rotten Tomatoes. Many viewers were extremely displeased with a controversial third-act scene that I won’t spoil. Though I will say, I found the moment in question intentionally disturbing, and far from a dealbreaker. But your mileage may vary. 

Should you stream “Splice” on Max?

If you’re looking for a unique sci-fi horror then “Splice” is the perfect pick. Its premise is engaging and touches upon some interesting philosophical questions (though it doesn’t even attempt to answer them). It’s no masterpiece and it's not something I’d rank as one of my favorite-ever horror movies. But it’s extremely watchable. 

“Splice” does enough to be memorable — you’ll certainly not forget that scene any time soon — and has enough spooky moments to send a few shivers down your spine. If you have a Max subscription, it’s worth watching if you’ve already exhausted the service’s supply of new flicks. 

If you’re not convinced by “Splice”, or would rather watch something with universally positive reviews, check out our full rundown of the current Max top 10 movies

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.