Saturday, 5 May 2018

The Fly (1986 Version) (4½ Stars)


I have a love-hate relationship with "The Fly". It depends on my mood at the time I watch it. On a purely intellectual level I know it's a brilliant film, one of the best horror films ever made. The problem is that I'm often, but not always, squeamish. The film has some very ugly scenes that make me want to look away. It's the sort of film that I need a glass of wine in my hand to watch, something to numb my senses. There was no alcohol available today, but I was feeling less sensitive than usual.

A scientist is trying to create a teleporter. His first tests with inanimate objects succeed. Then he teleports a monkey across the room. His final test with a human -- himself! -- fails because a fly is inside the teleporter with him. His body is seemingly perfect when it arrives, but his DNA has been combined with the fly's DNA, causing him to slowly change into a fly over the following weeks.

It's obvious to the viewer that Seth Brundle, played admirably by Jeff Goldblum, isn't a bad guy. He's a scientist who wants to change the world. He wants the science fiction of "Star Trek" to become reality. Even when the accident makes his body slowly break down, he doesn't really want to do anyone harm. The bad guy in the film is Stathis Borans, Veronica's employer and ex-boyfriend. When Seth attacks him we have sympathy with him. At least, I have sympathy with Seth. Any man who tries to impose his will on a woman deserves whatever happens to him.

This is David Cronenberg's best film. I would have given it a full five stars if not for the dream sequence. That's one of my pet hates. It's something that happens too much in horror films. The viewer is terrified by something, and then the director says, "Ha ha, I got you! It never really happened!" Someone should pass a law to prevent this happening.

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