Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
We’ve all heard this iconic quote, I assume. I’ve always thought it would suit the 1958 original “The Fly”, rather than this body horror masterpiece, however, because it seems a bit campy, on the face of it. I use the word “masterpiece” sparingly as I am no aficionado of the body horror genre because I’m a puss. Ironically, I am a relative fan of David Cronenberg, known as the King of Venereal Horror, but that’s because there is little else like him in the world of cinema.
Unlike Scanners and Videodrome, two of Cronenberg’s most renowned films and body horror classics in their own right, this one doesn’t really have a message, and it’s little more than just a remake. It’s one of the best remakes I’ve ever seen, however, translating, what could be, a ridiculous B-movie story into a film that has many an “eeeeeeeeeewwww” moment, thanks to that aforementioned unique Cronenberg-stylee.
Jeff Goldblum, also known as the sexiest man in the universe, plays Seth Brundle, a some would say, eccentric scientist who has built himself a teleportation device, how lovely. He meets a Geena Davis-like journalist called Veronica whom he falls in love with, what a charming sequence of events. After testing his machine with his monkey, it works beautifully and Brundle will probably win himself a Nobel Prize, it seems to be all going right for this lucky ol’ son-of-a-gun.
Then it goes tits up.
Veronica’s ex-boyfriend/editor threatens to leak a story about Brundle’s experimental machine, damn it. Veronica goes to talk him out of it, that’s nice of her. Brundle gets drunk, jealous and tries out his experimental machine, that’s a bit stupid. A fly flies in before he gets teleported and they become fused into a giant, disgusting fly/man hybrid, shite.
Jeff Goldblum, Sexy McChesthair, Jiminy Sensual or whatever you wanna call him, gave a perfectly fine performance as Dr. Seth Brundle. He portrayed a certain sense of urgency in every scene he was in and had a certain charm about him that made you like him as a character. However, as Brundlefly, he played a great, if slightly ineffective, villain. By ineffective, I mean that I still relatively liked him. While he started becoming a bit more dickish and a bit mental, I had spent the film, up until that point, rooting for him. However, there was one disgusting scene which immediately turned me against him. I won’t describe it for fear of vomiting on my nice, new mesh vest and spandex trousers I’m currently wearing.
Joining Goldblum is Geena Davis, of Beetlejuice, Thelma & Louise and Cutthroat Muthaf***in’ Island fame, boi. As Veronica, the snarky journalist, she immediately got on my titties and refused to get off, annoying me for the duration of the film’s runtime. There isn’t much else to say about her, really. However, points for bravery and professionalism because she had to touch the messed-up jazzy shizzle that Goldblum was wearing near the end of the film, it looked sticky.
Being a body horror, you’d expect the film’s sickening practical effects to be a high point, which it obviously was. Only The Cronenmeister could make a film in the 80s, use disgusting practical effects and for it to hold up today, which, mostly, it does. I really don’t want to spoil the effects for you because, though repulsive, the effect they have on the viewer is undeniable. I mean, I’ve started going into a Cronenberg film expecting to wince. That being said, one or two were a bit cringy, but I can’t really fault it apart from that. This includes the final form of Brundlefly which, though I’ve seen it plenty of times prior to watching the film, had an unnerving insect aspect to it, surprisingly, which made it uncomfortable to look at, especially as an arachnophobic. This is due, in part, to the way it moves throughout its time in the film, extremely twitchy and rapid. Though horrible to experience, it was also very impressive.
Another notable high for the film was the aforementioned character development of Brundlefly and, in particular, how it was executed. The meticulous use of makeup to make Goldblum look slightly different in every scene is commendable and, as an actor, the way Goldblum adapted his style to suit this, becoming more erratic, was a joy to watch.
Overall, The Fly was an uncomfortable film to watch, some of the scenes of what is sorta self-mutilation really weren’t for me. However, Goldblum, as always, was a high point and the way Cronenberg executed the whole thing was quite impressive.
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations
2 thoughts on “The Fly (1986) – Review”
Maybe my favorite from Cronenberg. Nice review.
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Cheers! I prefer the outright surrealism of Videodrome, personally.