- Gareth Crook
The Fly (1986) - 8/10
I watched this as a kid. It terrified me. I’ve avoided rewatching it for years, but the time has come to try watching it with a critical eye… if I can bear to watch. I’m a Cronenberg fan, but this I think has to be his most slimy film. That I can think of at least. It’s an oddly simple sci-fi monster movie. The wonderful Jeff Goldblum is Seth Brundle. A mad scientist experimenting with teleportation. Well he’s actually done with the experimentation. His telepods are operational. As he proves to reporter, Veronica (Geena Davies) by teleporting her nylon stockings. It’s Seth’s first mistake, but also the catalyst for him to push further. He wants to perfect teleporting people. Goldblum is that rare thing, an actor finding a part he’s truly born to play. Despite the fantasy, he’s utterly convincing. This is a good thing, I need his brilliance to distract me from the gore. This is a visual assault from the get go, even before we get into the meat of it. There’s not much fluff here either. Reimagined today this would run over two hours and be a bloated mess, but Cronenberg keeps it lean. Seth may be a little reckless, but his world is as much art as its science. He’s more poetic and romantic than nerdy, a nice guy. He doesn’t really deserve what’s to come, but this is what happens when you drink bubbly with a baboon. What’s to come of course is some self experimentation gone wrong. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to divulge that Seth wasn’t alone in the telepod on his first test trip. He had the company of a little house fly, that the new Seth is fused with. What follows is what makes The Fly both iconic and disgustingly terrifying. As we descend into the depths of body horror that still looks shocking nearly 40 years on. Seth at first thinks he’s superhuman… but he’s about to proven horribly wrong. Trapped in his industrial warehouse apartment. Growing hairs, losing fingernails. Seth comes to realise his mistake, but after the initial shock and despite his grotesque new look, his human character prevails. Enough so that he knows his destiny, dark as it may be. It’s still terrifying, but I think even on that first watch I understood that this was much more than just the horror. Still I might need to watch some nice cat videos before going to bed.