Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Fly (1986) Review

Fig.1 The Fly Poster
The Fly (1986) is directed by David Cronenberg and is a remake of the original from 1958, however takes a completely different direction in terms of the transformation of the human-fly hybrid monster. Not only this, but the remake also features heavily on the relationship between the two lead characters, Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) and Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis). “…the basic storyline of The Fly fits snugly into the horror genre (it is a remake, after all), but its execution is surprisingly full of sadness and tragedy - and intimacy, too. It's remarkable, really, when you look back at the movie and consider how much of it consists of just Goldblum and Davis” (Hassenger, 2005)

Cronenberg does a fantastic job of creating a horror film which is not only scary and gruesome, but also makes you feel some level of sympathy  for the characters involved, almost like that of Frankenstein, a creature with a heart. As Brundle slowly turns into a giant fly and his mental state deteriorates along with his body, Veronica continues to stand by his side even though she is disgusted by his appearance. It is this relationship defines this film; otherwise it may well just be a gore-fest  Firmly rooted in the type of film he does best, Cronenberg unleashes a series of nauseating effects as Goldblum transforms into a fly over a period of weeks. Along with his looks goes his personality and while this provides some tension, it really is the gruesome nature of his downfall that is the main feature of this film.” (The BBC, 2007) The relationship between Brundle and Veronica is slowly torn by Brundle’s eventual mental downfall as he slowly becomes paranoid, confused and hell-bound on becoming human again. This goes to such an extent that he designs a programme of splicing his genes with human specimens to reduce the amount of fly genes in his body. The final result of this is Brundle forcing Veronica into the teleportation device and locking her in to splice their genes together, however at this point it is already too late as his transformation is all but complete. 

 “…their respective attitude to the disease is representative of any modern scourge of the flesh, from cancer to AIDS to plain old age. “The Fly” gives Cronenberg the opportunity to examine the implications of such a process, mediating upon our fear of disease, death and change.” (Levy, 2006) The transformation which Brundle goes through has often been said to represent the fear of AIDS which was still largely present in the 1980’s as like a cancerous disease the fly’s genes course through Brundle’s body infecting him. At one point Veronica’s ex-boyfriend comments on the fact that it could be a disease and could even be contagious, this could be another reference to AIDS, albeit a small one.

In  all Cronenberg’s remake of “The Fly” is one which follows the general conventions of the original and carries the ideologies from one film to the other, whilst offering a much more interesting metamorphosis from human to fly and bringing with it a touching love story in the midst of all the madness.


Levy, E. (2006)  (Accessed on the 22/09/2011)
Hassenger, J (2005) (Accessed on the 22/09/2011)
Name not found, The BBC (2007) (Accessed on the 22/09/2011)

Image list:

Figure 1. Cronenberg, David (1986) The Fly Poster:


  1. Hey Anthony - this is a clear improvement on your debut review, so well done for getting your academic 'housekeeping' in order. Presenting your writing this way will soon become second nature. Another way of enriching your reviews and refining your style is to avoid simply inserting quotes; introduce them and reflect on them too; for example, you might write something like: 'as [John?] Hassenger observes, 'the basic storyline...' Then, following the quote, you might 'unpack' the content of the quote or reflect on the point it makes, i.e. 'The intimacy of the film comes from the performance of...'

    The real use of quotes, is not to satisfy some criteria on a brief, but rather to bolster and scaffold your own discussion. Try and use 'evidence' in a pro-active and creative way.

  2. Hey Anthony

    Third year Leo here – looks like I will be your mentor for your first year! I’ll do my best to keep an eye on here and help out when I can, otherwise just make a @Leo post or leave a comment at my blog if you really need some help/advice -

    Be sure to keep your blog up to date with all your research and ideas (as well as any film reviews and life drawings). This will help us see where you’re going and be able to bounce advice and feedback off your ideas. If you’re struggling for ideas, don’t be afraid to make a post and raise your concerns to quickly get things on track from Phil or myself. Remember, your blog is a marked at the end of your project, and more importantly it represents you to the outside world – so look after it!