Director – David Cronenberg
Cast – Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Release Year – 1986
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Boy does this film bring back great memories. As a child I remember seeing this and being awestricken by it’s special effects and subject matter. Fast forward 15 years later and I still am left in amazement over this film. Horror maestro David Cronenberg, fresh off the success of his previous horror films The Dead Zone, Videodrome, and Scanners, once again struck gold with this film and proved that he cannot just make a horror film, but can make a true masterpiece.
The Fly stars Jeff Goldblum as Seth Brundle, a brilliant scientist “working on something that will change the world, and human life as we know it”. Mr. Brundle has successfully created a teleportation pod, and has caught the attention of a young journalist named Veronica(Geena Davis), who has been sent on assignment to find the next big scientific breakthrough. During a night of drunkenness, Mr. Brundle decides to transport the ultimate specimen, himself. Unfortunately for him, during his bout of inebriation he failed to notice a fly that entered the teleportation pod with him, and upon the successful teleportation, his genes were spliced with that of the fly. This leads him and Veronica down a dangerous path as he slowly begins to transform into an unsightly creature with macabre instincts.
Being a man of science myself, this film deeply interests me. You can say that many horrific events have taken place thanks to science. For instance, the creation of the atomic bomb, which led to the eradication of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Science is a wonder to most of us, and the fact that any true scientist knows that in science nothing is ever 100 percent goes to show that we can never be too sure on this subject, and that is downright scary. One of the better scares in this film has to do with Mr. Brundle’s unsuccessful teleportation of a baboon, which yielded some very unsightly results. I believe this film shows more of Cronenberg’s writing genius than any of his other horror films, simply because of the type of horror he employs. The horror in this film is not simply that of a man slowly turning into a hideous creature, but the horror that comes as a result of science and sex. If you know David Cronenberg, you would know that he is often referred to as “The King of Venereal Horror”, and rightfully so. Seth Brundle is a naïve scientist who doesn’t get out much, and sex ultimately leads to his destruction. It was a lovemaking session with Veronica that lead him to realize what he had been doing wrong with his teleportations, and as his condition got worse and worse, he craved sex more and more. This in no way negates the horror simply associated with turning into a hideous creature, because Cronenberg gets that right as well, and in gory fashion.
One of the most notable aspects of this film is David Cronenberg’s direction, which is top notch. The film paces amazingly, always keeping your interest and giving you something to marvel at. I personally loved the camera work involved in the later scenes with Mr. Brundle walking on the walls. I still have theories as to how that was accomplished, and thankfully my DVD set came with a ton of special features, so hopefully I’ll get some insight into that. Nonetheless it’s one of the most amazing uses of camera trickery I have ever seen. As you should have garnered from some of my earlier statements, this film does not skimp out on the gore. The effects used to show Mr. Brundle’s slow descent into the insect kingdom are great, and Cronenberg throws in some pretty grossed out deterioration scenes(always a plus in my book). I would have to say though that my favorite scenes of gore would involve the vomiting scenes. If you know anything about how flies intake their food, this should be self explanatory. Heh.
I really have no major complaints for this film. The acting performances are great, Jeff Goldblum is his usual self and Geena Davis is hot as ever. My one and only minor flaw with this film would be that it does take a while before any of the action hits the screen. Like I mentioned earlier, this film does pace very well but that is thanks to great writing and interesting scenes, not action. Had this film hit us with the goods a bit earlier(or more often) then this film would have come away with a perfect 10 rating. This is by no means a real complaint though, this film is remarkable, and should be viewed as such.
Overall, this is a true horror classic that I recommend to all horror fans. The direction is great, the writing and subject matter are interesting and top-notch, and the gore scenes will leave you remembering this film for the rest of your life.