Newest Reviews
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Art of Self-Defense, The
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Newest Articles
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
  Fly, The Perhaps He'll DieBuy this film here.
Year: 1986
Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel, Leslie Carlson, George Chuvalo, Michael Copeman, David Cronenberg, Carole Lazare, Shawn Hewitt
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction, Romance
Rating:  8 (from 3 votes)
Review: Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) is a journalist at a science convention for new ideas, but is currently finding little to occupy her mind. Even the man who is talking to her, one Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), appears to be only interested in getting her back to his apartment, and while that's true, it's for a good reason other than sex: he wants to show off his new invention. He says it will revolutionise technology and bring humanity into a new phase of scientific evolution, but Veronica will believe it when she sees it. When she does, and it turns out to be a teleportation device, she doesn't grasp the implications...

But knowing the title of the film, we certainly do. David Cronenberg was an inspired choice to bring a remake of the fifties science fiction horror favourite to the big screen, and the man who hired him was Mel Brooks, who had made a similarly excellent decision to get David Lynch to direct The Elephant Man at the start of the decade. Like Lynch, Cronenberg was a highly individual filmmaker with a particular vision ushering in the so-called "body horror" trend of the eighties with his previous films, but here finding hitherto reservoirs of emotion in the genre.

The result was one of his finest works, taking the original George Langelaan short story, paring everything away except the brilliant premise, and adapting it to a new tale of romance gone tragically wrong. Once Seth has piqued Veronica's interest, she becomes very intrigued in not only the maverick boffin's ideas, but his personality as well, and soon they are in love. In fact, for almost the entire movie there are only three actors with speaking roles, and it's over halfway over before a supporting performer gets a chance to say something.

This illustrates the great simplicity of the narrative, leaving anything extraneous out but discovering depths in keeping that purity. The other character in this love triangle is Veronica's editor Stathis (John Getz), something of a sleaze who still carries a torch for her but does little to endear himself when he refuses to give up the key he has for her apartment (he lets himself in to use her shower at one point!). It is his presence which depicts the real fear in The Fly: it's not that teleporting yourself with an unwelcome insect in the pod will turn you into a monster, it's the dread that modern relationships can go horribly wrong all too easily, and more easily than they can go right.

Cronenberg described his take on this as what happens when a loving couple's lives are torn apart by cancer, with Seth the one who succumbs to the disease, but this is a horror movie after all and expert special makeup effects man Chris Walas does not skimp on the scenes of utter disgust: Brundle vomiting on his food to digest it, having parts of his body such as fingernails and ears fall off, that sort of thing. But there has been a definite effort to make Seth and Veronica seen as a couple who would have been just right for one another if fate had not intervened, so in amongst the repulsive imagery and the sick humour there is a true sense of loss as Brundle disintegrates. Rarely in eighties horror was there a film that was so weirdly moving, but thanks to superb performances by Goldblum (was there ever an actor so perfect to play scientists?) and the luminously engaging Davis The Fly was the decade's most revolting yet effective tearjerker. Music by Howard Shore.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2564 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


David Cronenberg  (1943 - )

Highly regarded Canadian writer/director who frequently combines intellectual concerns with genre subjects. Began directing in the late-70s with a series of gruesome but socially aware horror thrillers, such as Shivers, Rabid and The Brood. 1981's Scanners was Cronenberg's commercial breakthrough, and if the hallucinatory Videodrome was box office flop, it remains one of the finest films of his career. The sombre Stephen King adaptation The Dead Zone and the hugely successful remake of The Fly followed.

The disturbing Dead Ringers (1988) was a watershed film, based for the first time entirely in reality and featuring a career-best performance from Jeremy Irons. The 1990s saw Cronenberg in uncompromising form, adapting a pair of "unfilmable" modern classics - Burrough's Naked Lunch and Ballard's Crash - in typically idiosyncratic style. M. Butterfly was something of a misfire, but eXistenZ surprised many by being fast-moving and funny, while 2002's powerful Spider saw Cronenberg at his most art-house.

His later films were the acclaimed, bloody comic book adaptation A History of Violence, London-set thriller Eastern Promises, an examination of the sources of psychotherapy in A Dangerous Method, drama in a day Cosmopolis and Tinseltown takedown Maps to the Stars. Never one to bow to critical or popular demands, Cronenberg remains one of modern cinema's finest filmmakers.

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M


Last Updated: