Movie Review: The Fly (1986)

We’ve been keeping it fairly modern with the last few Month of Spooks reviews, so how about we jump back a couple years this time? Back… to the futu- 1980s.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “The Fly”.

Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) is an eccentric scientist, quietly working on creating a working teleporter. And one day he decides to pull a risky experiment by placing himself in the teleporter. What he doesn’t notice however is that a small housefly joins him inside of the machine, which will change his life in strange, horrifying ways. “The Fly” is part mad scientist story, part body horror, and part tragic love story, and it somehow balances it all in a really entertaining, eerie, and surprisingly poignant way. The story isn’t necessarily a slow burn, but it still take its time to set up Brundle and his journey from regular scientist to something more, mixing in a whirlwind romance with a journalist (Geena Davis) that I feel works really well not only on its own, but also in really grounding the drama and making any horrific turns have more weight. And while the mad scientist story is pretty fun on its own, what really sells it and makes the narrative as strong as it ends up being is the surprisingly human drama that is in there. It turns what would’ve been an otherwise standard sci-fi story into a beautiful tragedy… while still also giving us some grim, goopy body horror to marvel at.

The characters in this are all colorful, interesting, and go through fairly interesting arcs. First up is Seth Brundle, a pretty odd man of science. He’s a generally good-natured oddball who goes through a fascinating transformation, both physically and mentally, that I found quite intriguing and made for some really compelling drama and horror. And Jeff Goldblum gives a damn good performance. Next is Veronica, a tough yet kind journalist that Brundle enters into a relationship with. She’s a fairly interesting character, and Geena Davis is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like John Getz, Joy Boushel, and more, all delivering pretty solid work.

The score for the movie was composed by Howard Shore and it’s great. It mainly consists of a classical orchestra, with brass, woodwind, strings, and percussion filling that space. But what I really like about the score is the sonic storytelling going on. Early on it’s way more light and playful, capturing the excitement surrounding Brundle’s attempt at nailing teleportation. But a he starts changing and things slowly get more horror-y, the score takes on a more sinister tone, with an underlying sadness lurking beneath. It’s interesting to listen to it and makes for a really compelling score that really helps elevate the drama.

Based on a short story by George Langelaan, “The Fly” was directed and co-written by David Cronenberg, who did a damn good job. Cronenberg is really good at creating this sweeping dread, having this uncomfortable suspense lurk in the background for all scenes, even as nothing particularly bad is meant to be going on. It gives the movie this strange vibe that makes it stick out and keep my interest throughout the entire runtime. Now, let’s talk about the effects here, because those are arguably what the movie’s known for at this point. Yeah, they are absolutely stellar, Chris Walas made sure these effects were as detailed, goopy, gory, and disgusting as they could, which really makes them a horrifying sight that works well for the story. Also, it’s been a while since I’ve seen  movie that’s made me gag. I can handle blood and gore, but there’s some shit in this that actually managed to upset my body… so kudos to the crew for that, you succeeded with what I can only assume was your goal.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 79/100. And on it has a score of 7.6/10.

“The Fly” is a wonderfully crafted horror tragedy that compelled me from start to end. It has a great story, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/effects. Time for my final score. *Buzz*. My final score for “The Fly” is a 9.67/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Fly” is now completed.

Ian Malcolm would have a field day with Seth Brundle. And I would happily watch Goldblum ripping into Goldblum.


2 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Fly (1986)

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