Who's In It: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley
The Basics: Young, cool, married super-scientists (they dress in black clothes and get put on the cover of Wired) develop some mutant creatures in their rock-and-roll genetic playground lab: two lovey-dovey worms named Fred and Ginger that look like giant tongues/meatloaves/ottomans and a baby named Dren. Dren is part human, part prehistoric chicken-monster who speaks in sighs and a kind of clickety cooing language, so she becomes their proxy child. Dren has a crazy tail she can use to kill stuff, so she's pretty great. She's also growing at an incredibly fast rate--as well as becoming aggressive--and won't be the science couple's private secret experiment for long.
What's The Deal: You can feel the anti-science wave all around you, pulsing through the general population of dummies, in news reports about stem cell research and cloning and people battling over the teaching of evolution in schools. So I'm fully on board for any freaky movie that goes out of its way to comment on it all by showing you the off-the-rails preposterous end result of those equally preposterous fears. That it's also a demented family drama about kids not growing up right and being a total disappointment to Mom and Dad, playing them against each other like the hideous monsters they are, is just another awesome card up its sleeve. It's the very special genetic engineering episode of Parenthood that was too hot for TV.
The Trailer Is Lying To You: This just isn't a horror film. First clue is that Oscar-winner Adrien Brody and acclaimed actor/director Sarah Polley are the stars instead of two disposable no-names whose fate at the hands of a mutant bird-girl wouldn't really tilt you one way or the other. Second clue is that nothing scary happens. It's gross and it's freaky and it's thrilling but it's never concerned with making you jump out of your seat. So recalibrate your expectations. There's plenty else going on to love here. And by love I mean squirm through and laugh at.
Who It's Ripping Off: Besides Frankenstein and Eraserhead, David Cronenberg deserves a cookie bouquet from the filmmakers. It's a goo factory, obsessed with body fluids, monster fluids, pustules, bodies splitting open to reveal new body parts, gender mutations, sexual deviance, family angst and bird-tails that are also death-spears that are also penises. You're simply not going to get any of this kind of entertainment from that new Katherine Heigl movie.
Most Exhilarating Moment: I would like to strongly advise you to remain seated until after the big genetics conference scene where lumpy love-worms Fred and Ginger are presented to the scientific community for the first time. There is no bathroom emergency or Junior Mints need of greater importance than watching this astoundingly cool sequence. It produced involuntary feelings of immense joy in me that most real life events just can't.