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The Fly (1986)

An Effecting Grotesque Remake from Horror Master David Cronenberg

Score 9/10 - Highly Recommended

Posted by Anthony DeRouen | March 10th, 2022

Synopsis - A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

I couldn’t stomach The Fly for many years, it was just too much to watch. Jeff Goldblum’s transformation was too real. The ending was tragic. And in the end I wasn’t ready to experience true body horror. Thankfully that all changed, and I have come to appreciate David Cronenberg’s masterful reimagining of George Langelaan short story of the same name. The Fly is a romance movie, steeped in fascinating 1980’s era science fiction lore that goes horribly wrong. In much the same way Michael Critchon warned us of tinkering with Mother Nature in Jurassic Park - we should approach scientific discoveries with the same cautionary mindsets, or suffer the consequences.

"The Fly" deals with Seth Brundle (played by Jeff Goldblum), an eccentric inventor who meets reporter Veronica Quaife (played by Geena Davis) at a science convention and (somewhat unwillingly) spills the beans about his latest creation, one that will "change the world as we know it". The contraption in question is a teleportation system for inanimate objects, and if that was allowed to stay we wouldn’t have seen the horrific end results of Seth’s “fleshy” attempts. Flesh plays a prominent role in The Fly. The telepods cannot accurately transport flesh, so it creates an alternate version with disastrous results. Seth is able to fix this, but his first human trial is not without an unwelcome visitor. A house fly.

As Seth and Veronica’s feelings grow for one another we are drawn into their relationship and the exciting prospect of what Seth’s invention may cure. Traffic worldwide. No more sitting behind cars on a miles-long stretch of road day in and day out. You will be able to traverse the globe instantly. A tantalizing idea Veronica’s boss at the publishing house cannot wait to spring on. However, as amazing and awe-inspiring Seth’s teleportation device is, we are once again reminded why science can backfire if not respected.

Seth is not accustomed to people and to that degree relationships. When he discovers Veronica’s ex boyfriend works at the publishing company and still has close contact he loses his nerve. Seth recklessly accelerates his research to utter and complete disaster. What follows is a master class of practical and special effects done by Chris Walas and company. We are treated to a macabre, meticulous presentation of the various stages of human and fly DNA-fused transformation, where the insect slowly becomes the dominant species. Jeff Goldblum nails the quirks and motions of a fly perfectly. Combined with the articulate full body suits we firmly believe Seth’s life is over, and the fly is taking shape.

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