The Fly

The Fly

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly… Perhaps she’ll die.

Man, David Cronenberg is one weird dude. He’s got three films on the list, and all of them are just so… odd. You can’t even describe them as odd, because that would be doing the films a disservice by undervaluing them. What’s most apparent, however, is that while Cronenberg’s films are very strange, he is a good filmmaker; solid in his storytelling and construction of the end product, and nowhere is this more apparent than in 1986’s The Fly, starring Jeff Goldblum in probably his best performance.

Seth Brundle comes on to a journalist and claims to be working on a project that will “change the world as we know it”: teleportation. After struggling with getting it to work on living beings, he decides to do one final test and teleport himself; little does he know a common housefly is in the teleporter pod with him, and the two become fused together, which quickly causes both positive and negative changes to Brundle himself. That’s really all there is to the film, though it has a surprisingly effective romance story (albeit a tragic one). The main draw is of course the signature Cronenberg special visual effects, and no I don’t mean CGI; everything here is practical makeup and design, and it is as disgusting as it is impressive; I felt myself cringing at various points in the last half hour or so.

I was taken back somewhat by the transformation of the Stathis character from the film’s initial antagonist into a much more sympathetic character, and the complementary shift of “Brundlefly”, and ultimately I found it a good thing. It was a surprise move, and for me it worked, as did the rest of the film, especially the effects. If you don’t mind the Cronenberg weirdness (though it is much more mainstream and toned down than, say, Naked Lunch), this is definitely one to check out; it’s a mere 95 minutes as well, so it’s wrapped up in a nice, hideously neat package. Dunno if the Cronenberg weirdness is worth three slots on the list, but I wasn’t displeased that I watched this, so I’ll call that a win.

Arbitrary Rating: 8/10

2 thoughts on “The Fly

  1. I saw this way back when it first came to video. It was probably the first movie with really gross effects in it that I had seen (I’m not into horror.) The scene with the ankle is the one that made me cringe the most.

    • Yeah, the effects were very well done, even if it’s quite simple to decipher how they did it thanks to the practicality of them (or maybe that’s just my film-school-grad self talking). I went into this expecting just another weird-fest like Naked Lunch; thanks to the film for reminding me that Cronenberg’s got some real chops as a storyteller as well.

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