The Fly

The Fly ★★★★★

An absolute classic.  Visionary in its own biology-horror way.  And the beauty of THE FLY lies in Cronenberg’s fusion of his trademark ‘flesh-meets-technology-meets-something shitty’ themes & imagery and a well-acted relationship film.  By this I mean that Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum are phenomenal here—better, probably, than anything else I’ve ever seen them in.

The opening 30 minutes are in essence a romance, and Cronenberg lets it be, leading to what becomes ultimately one of the best character-driven horrors of the era.  Cronenberg also briskly paces the opening act with tightly edited scenes, fun banter between Davis and Goldblum, a great Howard Shore score, and effective teasing of the forthcoming Sci-fly horror stuff with the imposing transportation pods’ constant presence.  It’s a great set-up.

Goldblum is a revelation—somehow he convinces as the alpha male (not his immediate image in my mind) after his transformation while effectively being sort of ‘insecty’ before his transformation (I think it’s his eyes).  And when he goes all ’creature’, his distinct voice is somehow the perfect humanistic vocals to be coming from his gross-o fly outfit.

Cronenberg is back at it with the gross-looking body parts and puppeteering, but nothing in THE FLY is gratuitous or unnecessary.  Everything supports THE FLY’s script. The grossness of the horror here makes you squirm, but the hopelessness of Goldblum’s fate and the terrifyingly trapped predicament of Davis’ character are much more squirm-inducing and on the narrative and thematic levels.  Absolutely touching, frightening, upsetting, original, and exhilarating.

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