David Cronenberg’s most recent forays into mainstream cinema have produced tremendous results. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who can argue thatEastern Promises and A History of Violence are bad films. It’s when you go back to the nineties and eighties, Cronenberg’s stuff becomes a little more inaccessible, but it’s still just as brilliant.
The Fly follows Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), an intensely brilliant scientist that lacks a little in the social skills department. He’s working on ‘something that will change the world as we know it.’ He’s discovered how to teleport objects fifteen feet across the room from one cocoon like pod to another. Successful reporter Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) catches on to the story, and agrees to document the journey from being able to teleport inanimate objects, to being able to transport flesh. Once this is done successfully, Brundle, in a drunken state, decides to test it on himself. A fly enters the pod at the same time Brundle does, and the teleporter doesn’t know what to do, so upon reassembling him, it mixes Brundle’s DNA, with that of a fly. At first Brundle enjoys heightened senses, amazing strength, and intense agression and libido. But he slowly starts mutating into something scary.
The first sign of Cronenberg’s genius in this film, is that despite being released in 1986, the terror was still very real, and disturbing. When the film began, I thought that Goldblum’s amazing, permed mullet would never let me suspend my disbelief. And due to a lack of preparation before the film, I didn’t know Davis played in a main role, which also affects my ability to enjoy a film. But The Fly was tremendous. Terrifying. Really, it’s only about a fly on the surface, but the issues the film addresses are much more intense. It’s almost a cautionary tale of sleeping with strange men, and the horrifying consequences of what might be growing inside you because of it. There’s no lack of gore. This will definitely gross you out, but in the fun, weird, Cronenberg way.