The Fly (1986)

the fly poster 1986 movie remake
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Takes what could have been a B-Movie and makes it good

Hard to watch scenes of gore

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Fly

Studio:  Brooksfilms

Genre(s):  Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  August 15, 1986

MPAA Rating:  R

the fly seth brundle jeff goldblum teleport pods

If he teleported with the baboon he would have an MCU movie series by now

A reporter named Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) is contacted by a scientist called Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) who claims to have an amazing new discovery.  Seth has found a way to teleport, but the process cannot teleport organic objects. When Seth and Veronica come up with a solution, the process seems perfect…but science often has variables.  When Seth rushes into testing his invention, a fly is transported with him.  Now Seth and the fly are becoming one, and Veronica must find a way to save him before it’s too late.

Directed by David Cronenberg, The Fly is science-fiction horror thriller.  The film is a “remake” (or a reimaging) of the 1958 sci-fi classic The Fly. The movie won an Academy Award for Best Makeup.

I can always remember the first time I watched The Fly.  I was spending the night at the house of a friend, and we were watching the movie with his sister…who proceeded to get sick on herself a couple minutes after Goldblum demonstrated how the fly ate through vomiting.  The Fly has always been a great thriller and continues to be a scary, good movie.

the fly seth brndle vomit scene jeff goldblum

Yum, yum

The original movie The Fly was pretty goofy. A similar experiment led the lead scientist to gain the head and arm of a fly. Here, Cronenberg applies his unique ability to scare, freak-out, and gross-out the audience with a new body-horror story that he excels at. As Goldblum transforms, he almost rots. Scenes like the nail removing scene, the “Brundlefly” museum, and the vomiting sequences are just nasty. There is no humor, just out-and-out horror. The movie is definitely too much for some. Many also saw this as a metaphor for the A.I.D.S. virus which was just getting more public attention at the time.

The acting in the movie is quite strong. I’ve never been a Geena Davis fan, but she is good here, and Goldblum is fantastic.  The change in his persona throughout the movie really helps drive the film and his behavior. His natural weirdness as he works to cope with his ailment works well in the role and keeps you watching. The story is written in a way that the character almost goes through the different levels of coping with his fate.  Davis and Goldblum had a relationship at the time and that could help how they appear together on film.

the fly final transformation brundlefly

Wait!!! I never got to introduce you to my parents!!!

The movie looks great.  With pre-CGI everything, the film had to rely on practical effects which always look better to me.  Be it the final human-fly hybrid or the slow transformation, the visual emphasize the horror of the story (and the vomit scene is still terrifying and gross).

This could have easily been a cheap B-Movie but it wasn’t and that is what is great about The Fly. While today, there would be irony and one-liners, this Fly is a beast that is a source of unstoppable horror. You don’t want Brundle to become a monster, but he does become a monster and the ending has a similar feel to another great ’80s horror film in American Werewolf in London. The Fly was followed by a misguided 1989 sequel called The Fly II in and there has been recent talk by Cronenberg about making his own sequel. I would love to see him return him to the type horror that made him famous.

Related Links:

The Fly (1958)

Return of the Fly (1959)

The Curse of the Fly (1965)

The Fly II (1989)


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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