Today’s film for horror-thon was David Cronenberg’s The Fly.
I can certainly appreciate what makes this film a classic – after all, its considered one of the greatest remakes of all time. There’s several brilliant elements, primarily the incredible special effects and of course Jeff Goldblum’s performance.
However I’m going to be completely honest here – I struggled with this film. I didn’t like any of the characters really and so I struggled to care. Maybe its because my body horror brain was worn out from yesterday with The Void. But let’s take a proper look at this sci-fi phenomenon and look at the different elements.
The story is infamous by now: eclectic scientist Seth Brundle has worked tirelessly to try and perfect teleportation. After romancing a reporter, he seems to have finally got it together. But after an experiment goes wrong, he begins a long and damaging physical process that slowly brings him closer and closer to a monstrosity.
Brundle is kind of endearing, he’s asocial, awkward but charming in his enthusiasm for his work. But, I don’t know. I just didn’t like him. I didn’t sympathise for him because his downfall comes in his pride and possessive nature. Geena Davies plays his love interest Veronica (“Ronnie”) and whilst her performance feels genuine, her actual romantic interest in Seth feels too sudden and almost comes off as if she’s using him throughout.
The one other character worth mentioning is Ronnie’s boss (and former lover) Stathis Borans, played by John Getz. He’s a creep and he’s a mysogenist, his character arch confused me and I just didn’t like him. At all. I know for a good chunk I’m not supposed to, but when he’s supposed to be redeemed I honestly didn’t care.
Yet another film that went through hell to get made, it went through numerous drafts, changed directors and eventually fell into the lap of David Cronenberg. With his unique vision everything came together to form one of the most beloved cult classics ever made. Admittedly going into this I was aware of Cronenberg’s penchant for body horror but had never actually seen any of his other films. So this was an education.
The special effects in this are fantastic – from our first gory shot of an early experiment through to Brundle’s slow transformation into Brundlefly. The transformation is wonderfully done, slow and painful to watch. Each different phase is recognisable from the last, giving us a step by step playbook degeneration. The effects are all practical and are really the backbone of the entire film. If they weren’t as convincing, I feel like it would all fall apart.
I know my opinion on this won’t be particularly popular, but I felt the story was lacking. It was really thin. Scientist meets girl. Scientist starts turning into fly. That’s literally it.
I’m sure people will yell at me that it’s a lot more in depth than that and I’m sure it is. I’m sure there’s so many layers to it that I’ve missed and I honestly hope that’s the case. The transformation itself could be seen as an interesting allegory the horrors of cancer and other diseases (considering the time it could also be seen as a substitute for AIDs) giving it a tragic feel, especially at the end. But beyond this it all fell a bit flat for me. Everything about The Fly is fine. The script is fine. The editing is fine. The score is fine. It’s all just…a bit eh, for me.
I’m sorry for how short this one is, but I literally have run out of things to say. I struggled to actually get to this point. I even had to turn to Chaz and say ‘what do YOU think of it?’ He said he liked the effects and Geena and Jeff. When pressed he struggled to tell me anything else. Maybe nostalgia plays a strong part here for some. I don’t have that luxury and seeing The Fly for the first time nowadays maybe just doesn’t carry the weight as I’ve seen so many other things like it.
If anyone has ever read further into The Fly and would like to enlighten me on what makes it incredible to them, I would absolutely love to hear their views. I honestly want to like this film, maybe I just need someone to give me that spark on it. I had a real hard time deciding a rating on this but Chaz gives it a seven and I’m ok with that.
Thank you for reading everyone! Tomorrow there will be a short hiatus again (wrestling night!) so there will be a double bill once again on Friday of Don’t Breathe and The Girl With All The Gifts. Have a good night!