No introduction is needed for another of Cronenberg’s powerhouse films. Despite its reputation some how I had avoided seeing it until recently (hell, even my mum had seen it!).
The synopsis is nothing more than the tagline states. A brilliant scientist, perfecting his technique of teleportation gets pissed one evening and decides to give his invention a go himself. Unknown to him a house fly also gets into the ‘telepod’ with him and when he rematerialises he realises that the computer has fused his DNA with that of the Fly. Over time he begins to change.
Despite how dodgy the plot sounds, the story actually moves along with quite a serious tone, and it doesn’t really take a genius to seen the metaphors hidden within certain events which effectively mirror our own gradual growth and decline until death. Instead of taking the easy way out and having half man/half fly going on a mad one for 90 minutes we see the good doctor (PhD) gradually taking the traits of a fly into his own (extra strength, greater athleticism) before the final stomach churning alteration. Along with the Dr’s change, his former girlfriend tries to reason with him but as his human body rots his mind and reason also begin to deteriorate.
This film is a remake from a 1950s original, and although I’ve not seen the original I am pretty certain it would not top this. The special effects for one thing would definitely be an improvement. Thank god some imagination was used and what we see is a gradual change with small deformities occurring throughout the film, and it is only right at the end that we see the hideous hybrid of man and fly. As a result we don’t have to worry about any dodgy man/fly suit, and are treated to some pretty cool and convincing make up effects.
Along with the Doctor’s transformation we do get treated to some pretty gory goodness. Sick gore too, even turned my stomach! As his body decays we get to see parts of it just drop off, and in the case of his jaw, ripped off. These all look really cool. There are plenty of other scenes which I won’t mention but my favourite bit above all others is where he sicks up his digestive enzymes all over a guys hand and leg and essentially lets those little biological catalysts eat his skin! - That bit is well gross!
Overall really it is quite a simple film in premise but when you combine some decent acting from Jeff Goldblum, some pretty awesome gore/creature effects and Cronenberg’s usual high standard directing the film appears to have so much more depth. What got me about it is how sad the film made me feel for the characters, as the Doctor looses grip on his humanity and the girlfriend sees the gradual deterioration of her boyfriend the acting is so good that you really get sucked in. Despite how implausible the plot is the film seems so easy to relate too, and oh yeah, it’s really really gory too! Go see it if you haven’t already.