The Fly (1986)
Directed By: David Cronenberg
Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel
Subgenre: Science Fiction-Horror
Synopsis: Seth Brundle is a brilliant scientist who has invented working teleportation. He reaches out to a reporter to show her the device, but something goes ary when a pesky fly sneaks into one of the teleportation pods. Brundle’s DNA becomes entwined with the fly, prompting massive changes in physical appearance and psyche to Brundle.
Thoughts: The Fly is a shining example of how a remake can work. The original Vincent Price vehicle is a decent flick in its own right, but it really doesn’t hold a candle to Cronenberg’s vision. This is a very tragic and moving story, but it is also filled to the brim with horrible visions and stomach churning effects.
Where to begin? First off, the acting is brilliant. Jeff Goldblum is nothing short of brilliant. The fact that he didn’t even receive an Oscar nomination just goes to show you that when it comes to genre films, Oscar has his head up his ass. The emotion that Goldblum was able to convey at the end of the movie, even with all that makeup and latex on, was a site to behold. John Getz was great as well. I am generally not much of a Geena Davis fan, but even her role here was great. There just isn’t a bad performance here.
David Cronenberg has made some truly bizarre movies, and several of his films have earned the badge as “body horror.” After watching shows like The Fly and Videodrome, it is easy to see why. This isn’t to say that Cronenberg doesn’t have a pretty wide range of films under his belt though. His recent films with Viggo Mortensen were brilliant in their own right. Cronenberg is obviously a very talented director, but there are times that his films are hard to access for the average viewer. The Fly is not one of those films, and is a great place for a Cronenberg rookie to start.
So we have great acting and great directions so far. Well the story is great too. There are not a lot of genre entries out there that really invoke any emotion, but The Fly can be a gut wrencher. It is really sad at times, as you see what Brundle is going through and what it does to Geena Davis. I don’t want to give any plot points away, but it is a pretty emotional flick.
Now, this isn’t just some sob story. The effects are insane as well. This is one area where Hollywood got it right and The Fly won a little gold statue for Best Makeup. As the movie progresses, Brundle’s transformation gets more grotesque by the frame. Just when you think it can’t get any more disgusting, the dial is turned up another notch.
I also have to note that I had the pleasure of seeing this on the big screen recently, which really amplifies just about every aspect of the movie. One area that I don’t often pay much attention to is the score, but seeing this in the theatre really showed just how powerful music can be in a movie. It was no surprise to see Howard Shore’s name behind the music. The guy is a legend.
I honestly can’t come up with something negative to say about The Fly. It is a must see flick, and not just for genre fans. Often times, horror fans label a move as must see because it spawned a subgenre or endless sequels, but The Fly stands on its own as a truly great movie.