It was called The Fly.
This is what I thought about it:
If awards were presented for movies you shouldn’t watch while eating clam chowder while watching your neighbor’s squeamish kid, David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake of the classic sci-fi horror film of the same name would surely take home the grand prize. It’s icky stuff.
Jeff Goldblum stars as Jeff Goldblum pretending to be the brilliant and wonderfully-named scientist Seth Brundle. While taking time off from building his collection of exotic apes, Brundle steals H.R. Giger’s designs for some teleportation pods and makes them himself. Gina Davis, Goldblum’s real-life girlfriend of the time, is impressed by them, and they totally fall in love.
But the big oil companies, afraid of what this device could do to their bottom line, sabotage Brundle’s first attempt to teleport himself by hiring a fly to slip into one of the pods just as it warps Brundle to its companion, thus fusing the two of them. What follows is an hour of stomach-churning Kafkaesque grotesqueries that will horrify and delight both fans of practical creature and gore effects and people just dying to use the word “Kafkaesque” in equal measure.
Long considered Cronenberg’s body-horror masterpiece, “The Fly” is genuinely terrific from beginning to end. It’s more than just the effects that make Goldblum’s transformation from man into rubbery vomit-spewing puppet-monster horrific; it’s the growing sense of impending doom, the knowledge that there’s nothing he can do to stop the sickening thing that’s happening to him.
Though he’s the catalyst for his own undoing, it’s easy to sympathize with Brundle. One simple mistake, made in a moment of haste, can be a person’s disgusting downfall. The implications are not only chilling, they ring completely true.
Cronenberg treats every character well in The Fly. Even as Brundle becomes more and more monstrous, both physically and mentally, he never lost my sympathy. Cronenberg wisely uses Davis’ Veronica to keep our compassion with him. If she can continue to love and care about this person, no matter how awful he looks or acts, so too can we. Even the creepster ex-boyfriend is given time to shine. There are no one-note characters here.
Performances are great all around. It’s easy to buy the attraction between Goldblum and Davis. I invested in their relationship quickly and naturally, which made the tragedy unfolding around them all the more gut-wrenching. As if the movie needed help in that department.
Even decades after its release, I find few movies have the power to delight and repulse like “The Fly.” Highly recommended to those who don’t enjoy clam chowder.