The Fly (1986)

The Fly – classic horror film review

Something went wrong Seth. When you went through, something went wrong.”

The Fly is a 1986 sci-fi / horror starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. It was directed by David Cronenberg (doesn’t that man just have great hair) and to this day remains one of his most popular movies.

The Fly is of course a remake of the 1958 Vincent Price film. But this seems to be one of those remakes we’re actually allowed to enjoy, without ostentatious comments about how the original is so much better and you just don’t understand you philistine. You remake watching bastard. I hate your guts. HOW DARE YOU.

The story centres around Seth Brundle (Goldblum) who is a tall, handsome and eccentric scientist – pretty much my ideal man. To be fair I still fancy 2015 Jeff Goldblum so 1986 Jeff Goldblum is just a dream. Though I do have a real soft spot for 1996 Jeff Goldblum…..and this is supposethefly4d to be a film review, I apologise. Anyway, just as he meets journalist Veronica (Davis) who is writing a piece about his work and a promising romance starts to blossom – one drunken night in his teleportation pod unfortunately changes everything.

I’m sure most of us are familiar with the story but for those of you who are not – sadly for Seth, he manages to fuse his DNA with that of a housefly – during his ‘I’m drunk and messing around with science’ episode. So the poor guy basically begins turning into a gross hybrid of man….and fly. 

The Fly is easily in my top 10 films but why do I love it so much? Well firstly, it’s a great horror film. I find it truly horrific and scary. Seth’s transformation from man into Brundlefly is gross and unnerving. It’s interesting – I think – becauthefly2se there’s no Bad Guy.

Inevitably Seth grows more and more dangerous to be around but he’s not evil or twisted, something screwed up  and unfair just happened to him. Some people say the film is a metaphor for having AIDS but Cronenberg has said he didn’t have that intention exactly. The Fly undoubtedly does make you think of illness – Seth’s teeth falling out, the disintegrating skin and hair….it’s very uncomfortable and undignified.

It’s kind of a mix between most repulsive film ever and a horror with a heart. The love story between Seth and Veronica is another reason I love the film. It’s so brilliant and genuine and despite knowing it all ends rather horribly I can’t help but wish things would work out for them every single time I watch it. Not only is this a horror film, but it’s an extremely tragic love story too. As soon as Seth and Veronica meet each other the attraction is banging, they’re both extremely likable and I can only imagine the ending had this been a Richard Curtis film instead.

The effects are fantastic. Now, I don’t mind CGI when it’s essential and done well – like the machine gun leg in Planet Terror – that is awesome CGI that I can only be grateful for. But generally I pthefly6refer ‘real life’ effects. My technical talk is shit at best, so apologies if I can’t explain this well. But I like effects ON camera, which is what The Fly is all about.

Kudos to Goldblum and the make-up team – who must have spent fucking hours creating each terrifying stage of ‘being a fly’. But it worked beautifully – I have never watched The Fly and not felt scared. He is scary. The more the Brundlefly comes out, the more we lose Seth. Though the physical changes are hideous, disgusting and visually scary, his personality changes are more unsettling. It’s only really Veronica who knows what has happened and a lot of the film is set inside Seth’s place, with an isolated feel. And the more Seth changes, the more you start to fear for Veronica’s safety.

“I’ll hurt you if you stay”

Apart from the terror, there are some sickening scenes, a few that are pretty famous – the arm wrestle scene where Seth’s super strength breaks a guy’s wrist bone clean out of his arm. The baboon scene  – not very pleasant. And of course the gag-reflex-inducing maggot baby. Always worse for us girls eh?

Generally I can’t speak more highly of this film, which I think is a marvellous and perfect mix of true romance, gross-out visuals and horror in a tragic, gruesome story that repulses and saddens til the end. Brilliantly acted, expertly directed and better than the original (sorry Vince). Plus – it was made in the 80s which mean we have AWESOME 80s effects not the sort of shit I saw in I Am Legend recently. And I can’t write a review on The Fly without mentioning the soundtrack, which I adore. It’s a scored soundtrack with all music written by the wonderful Howard Shore. Very dramatic, it’s just the kind of soundtrack I love. My favourite track is Plasma Pool but it’s one of those that has one main score and variations of it throughout, depending on the scene and atmosphere. 



About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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133 Responses to The Fly (1986)

  1. romeorites says:

    Ahh, the Fly. Cronenberg being his usual creepy self. Great film.

  2. Totally Cillian! Yeah. Shows where our minds are at huh 🙂 Take your time with the emails ‘k? And little Lacey says “Hi Auntie Emma” 🙂

  3. I nominate Hugh Jackman then as another thinking woman’s crumpet 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • emmakwall says:

      Excellent!!!! I concur! 🙂 🙂

      Cillian Murphy?

      (I swear we always turn these comments sections into a conversation about our crushes! ha ha)

      Not that that’s a bad thing 🙂

      I know I have emails from you!!! I will reply soon I promise!!

      Hello Lacey 🙂 (Mrs Doubtfire today)

  4. The Fly is so gross! and Good! A rare remake that’s fresh on the original and well done.

    • emmakwall says:

      Exactly why remakes aren’t a bad thing! Look at The Thing as well 🙂

      It is seriously gross isn’t it, I love it!!!

      • Yes and yes and yes! I’m not anti-remake in general, I don’t believe because a movie was “first” it’s better necessarily…there’s are some junkers but lots of good ones too. I love to watch a movie that’s remade, find it’s solid and realize that the filmmaker had to have been a big fan of the original rather than hired to direct without other personal interest in it, if that makes sense!

  5. Great pick Emma! I actually got a little crush on Jeff until it turned all cringy!

  6. theipc says:

    Very nice! It’s been SO long since I’ve seen this. Probably before you were even born LOL….


  7. newguy87 says:

    Classic, i was going to watch the second one tomorrow (haven’t seen it yet)

    • emmakwall says:

      Eek! Were you? That’s great 🙂

      You know it’s not the worst sequel, I think it’s well worth a watch or two even. It’s not a classic like The Fly but it’s fine. It’s a little sad in places though! Well see what you think anyway.

      Have you reviewed The Fly on your site yet?

  8. alfredsalmanac says:

    Great movie. The arm wrestling scene still sends shivers down the spine 💪

    • emmakwall says:

      Yeesh that is horrible, I know exactly what you mean! It still makes me look away slightly and pull that stupid face where you know something ‘ouch!’ is about to happen (or is that just me?)

      It’s a great movie isn’t it! Thanks for commenting 🙂

      • alfredsalmanac says:

        It’s not just you. Nice post. Now I’m off to watch it 😃

        • emmakwall says:

          Ha! Good 🙂

          Thank you and enjoy Brundlefly, that’s fantastic news you’ll be watching it. I’m tempted myself now. I’m actually watching another ‘fave film Friday’ movies, Sunshine 🙂

          • alfredsalmanac says:

            Is that the one with Cillian Murphy saving the world?

            • emmakwall says:

              Yes…. but it’s not a save the world type movie, I mean it is, but it’s not. If you know what I mean 🙂

              It goes from flat out science fiction (BBC Physicist Brian Cox helped develop the script to keep it as ‘real’ as possible) to almost Event Horizon territory!!

              So are you at the DVD menu yet? 🙂

            • alfredsalmanac says:

              I didn’t know Brian Cox was involved. I love that film and I know what you mean. Yes, I’m at the tv now. However, and I’m not ashamed to admit this, my attention has been diverted by ‘ The Blsckist’. I love it and the cheesyness of the whole thing. James Spaders character makes it totally believable. The Fly tomorrow ✅

            • emmakwall says:

              I watched the commentary one time and it was him and Danny Boyle, he helped developed the ‘science bits’ (said in a Manchester accent).

              Never be ashamed to admit anything! Entertainment is entertainment and I’ve heard Blacklist is pretty good. I watch SO much telly myself and am excited to see The Apprentice is back on next week….so… you know! 🙂

            • alfredsalmanac says:

              Ha ha The Apprentice. I love it. The contestants always “do exactly what it says on the tin” 😩 great TV. Yes the blacklist is good, but only because of JB’s character. Enjoy Sunshine. I must watch it again. I fear I may have misunderstood it.

            • alfredsalmanac says:

              I meant James Spaders character. Jeez, I’m so pedantic 😁

            • emmakwall says:

              You know I would never even have noticed 🙂

              But YOU would. And that’s the point ha ha 🙂

              Yay glad to meet another Apprentice fan!! Every year I say ‘oh this is shit now, I won’t bother next year’ and then next year comes and I see the advert and start shouting and singing the theme song and doing Alan Sugar impressions….the usual 🙂

              It IS fun though 🙂 like you said, does what it says on the tin. It’s a bit of weekly entertainment and fairly amusing!

              P.S I didn’t like Sunshine the first time I saw it, not wildly anyway. I loved the music though, still do, it made me watch it again and I saw it another light (no pun intended).

            • alfredsalmanac says:

              LOL 😂 enjoy. I expect an Apprentice review next week😉 cheers

            • emmakwall says:

              Haha thanks 🙂 you too.

              Great idea, I shall definitely do that!

            • alfredsalmanac says:


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