Film Pop: The Fly

Year: 1986
Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
IMDb

Another of those films languishing (no more) under the rather large blanket of “cult classics I still haven’t seen”, The Fly is the tale of a brilliant scientist (Goldblum) who, after an experiment gone horribly wrong, spends the most of the movie *SPOILER ALERT* turning into a fly. Opposite him stars Davis as Veronica Quaife, a journalist inexplicably working under her wonderful boss-cum-ex-boyfriend Stathis Borans (Getz), who ingratiates himself to the audience with such kind-heartedness as to let himself into her apartment and take a shower, and of course sexually harass her at every moment. She soon falls in love with Seth Brundle, the aforementioned scientist, after he promises her exclusivity on the biggest scientific breakthrough since 1985’s Weird Science. This is of course his teleportation chamber, which at first turns a monkey inside out (methinks it wasn’t the first to suffer the fate), but after a confusing encounter with a steak is soon remedied to, say, splice a man’s genes with a stowaway fly. Following an encounter of this nature, Brundle becomes briefly superhuman (and a sex machine) before slowly making the transition into what he terms “Brundlefly”, growing odd hairs, becoming increasingly ugly and eventually walking over walls and ceilings. Veronica watches on horrified, before abandoning him and subsequently finding herself pregnant with who knows what. She demands a termination but is snatched away by Brundlefly (now in full-on hideous fly mode), who has learned of the pregnancy and decides that what he wants to do is use his invention to merge himself, his (now ex-)girlfriend and his unborn child into one wonderful being. The day is saved by Borans, who proves himself to have some sort of moral character after all. And a shotgun.

The film was, for the most part, enjoyable. Of course that comes with the requirement that you ignore some of the ludicrous ‘80s movie futuristic science (a semi-sentient, voice activated teleportation device? Why not?). I spent a lot of the film wondering where the 18 Certificate was coming from before some pretty gruesome scenes towards the end involving a man’s hand and the way flies digest their food (look it up). Nevertheless, it’s an interesting premise and an enjoyable watch, with no really remarkable performances but commendable makeup and effects for the time. Unfortunately, for me, the ending ruins the movie. A large part of me wanted to see the result of Brundle’s crazy plan – that could have been an exciting and horrific end to a shameless gore-fest. A small part of me would have liked to see Brundle cured and reunited with his love and child. None of me wanted to see the man I spent the film being told to hate becoming the hero with one hand, one foot and one shotgun cartridge, leaving our troubled protagonist to be inexplicably merged with the machine (or at least that’s what I think happened) before being put out of his misery by Veronica with a final shotgun to the face. That, frankly, was crap.

My Rating: 6/10

Dan

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