When Seth Brundle makes a huge scientific and technological breakthrough in teleportation, he decides to test it on himself. Unbeknownst to him, a common housefly manages to get inside the device and the two become one.
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A straightforward exposition reveals a surprisingly tender tragedy which doesn't dwell on cod-scientific detail, instead the implications of disease, decay and death. A noticeable emotional refinement of the raw meat body-horror of earlier Cronenberg despite the quantities of gloop. It's not too fanciful to draw lineage with Quasimodo, Elephant Man and Metamorphosis for societal attitudes to perceived deformity.
For decades, "The Fly" has maintained a reputation as the most commercial and accessible of David Cronenberg's 'body horror' canon - which might be true, but it's also ironic that a film this somber, this truly sad could be called commercial. "The Fly" proves an ideal fit for Cronenberg's mad genius - his patented themes of body transmorphism anchored, for a change, to a relationship that registers as warm and human.
Cronenberg's reinvention of the classic horror film was truly astounding on release and still impresses thoroughly now. What makes this examination of the body in revolt so special is the love story at the very root of it. Goldblum was at his very best here well supported by Geena Davis. The Oscar winning makeup is exceptional as is the scripting. "You can't penetrate beyond society's sick, gray, fear of the flesh"
Even if I like Jeff GOLDBLUM and immensely admire Cronenberg, this film was a dissapointment to me.
The original (The Fly, Kurt Neumann, 1958, inspired from a short sory by George Langelaan) remained unbeatable to me.
Every decision in this film is the right one (including pre-production like casting Jeff Goldblum and his girlfriend at the time). It's a near perfect cinematic experience that is infinitely more complex that many lead to believe, a beautifully nuanced romance built upon one our greatest fears: change.
One of the very few horror films in which I've really cared for its characters, and then I realized how striking this was for me as a tragic romance rather than a social commentary on something, which is the opposite of what I've felt in most Cronenberg films so far.
It started off for me like a James Whale movie; a sci-fi horror about the dangers of science with a lot of black humor. But by the end it was like Kafka's metamorphosis; a film visceral and psychological; a nightmare from which there is no awakening. A thoroughly human tragedy, I cared so much about these characters. This is real horror. It hits you where it hurts; our very humanity.
Bought this on blu ray having not seen it for about ten-fifteen years. It really surpised me how well it holds up both in terms of storytelling, pacing and the fact that it is still a topical film regarding technology and humanity. The love story between Davis and Goldblum also works like a charm making this Cronenbergs most romantic and haunting movie to date.