Review The Fly (1986)

Doctor Omega


The Fly is a 1986 American science fiction horror film directed and co-written by David Cronenberg. Produced by Brooksfilms and distributed by 20th Century Fox, the film stars Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz. Loosely based on George Langelaan's 1957 short story of the same name.

The score was composed by Howard Shore and the make-up effects were created by Chris Walas, along with makeup artist Stephan Dupuis.

The film was released on August 15, 1986 to massive acclaim by critics and audiences, with praise mainly regarding the special effects and Goldblum's performance. It grossed $60.6 million at the box office against its nine-million-dollar budget, becoming the largest commercial success of Cronenberg's career. Walas and Dupuis' work on the film resulted in their winning an Academy Award for Best Makeup, the only film directed by Cronenberg to win an Oscar.

A sequel, directed by Walas himself, was released in 1989.



Member: Rank 3
To be honest, I generally hate the films of David Cronenberg. I go to a science fiction marathon every year and have been forced to sit through the following films of his and hated them all:
That said however, The Fly (1986) is by far the best Cronenberg film I've seen. I also thought Scanners (1981) was pretty decent.

I own the original 1953 "The Fly" on DVD, and I have to admit that the 1986 remake is excellent.
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Doctor Omega

Other projects

Renny Harlin's alternate sequel

In the 1990s, Geena Davis was reportedly involved with an alternate sequel to The Fly, to be directed by her then-husband, Renny Harlin, titled Flies. The script by Richard Jefferieswas said to feature a story where Veronica gives birth to twin boys, and herself survives the ordeal.

Todd Lincoln's second remake

In 2003, it was announced that a second remake of The Fly was being developed, to be directed by Todd Lincoln, produced by Fox Searchlight Pictures, and released in 2006, but this did not happen.

David Cronenberg's sequel

In 2009, it was rumored that David Cronenberg himself was preparing to direct a second remake of The Fly,[30] but it was not until 2011 that the director addressed the rumors. Cronenberg stated that he had written not a remake, but rather a "sort of" sequel script to his 1986 version, and would film it if 20th Century Fox gave the project the go-ahead:

I have written a script that is more of a strange lateral, let's say oblique sequel than it is a true sequel, and it's certainly not a remake of the original. It's financed by Fox, and whether it will get made or not, I cannot say at the moment because there are a lot of up-in-the-air factors that deal with internal studio politics and a bunch of other things that I'm not in control of. But I would make it if they greenlight it, let's put it that way.

Cronenberg elaborated further when interviewed by Empire in 2012:

Well, I did talk to Fox, because my agent found out that they were approaching people to do a remake of my film. He sort of said, "Well, you know, what about David?" And they said, "Well, we never thought of that!" I think they'd been to Guillermo del Toro and Michael Bay. I said, "Long ago I proposed a sequel to Mel Brooks when he said he wanted to make a sequel." He didn't like what I proposed because he said it wasn't the same as the original movie. "A sequel," he said, "should be more of the same." And I said, "Well, Mel, then I'm not interested." And he went off and did his sequels [sic] and they had nothing to do with me and they weren't very successful. But I still had this idea in mind—which no, I won't tell you—and I said to Fox, "I'll write that idea up because, as I think of it, it could be interesting." And they were excited about it enough to pay me to write a script. And then for various reasons it kind of got bogged down. I don't know exactly why. It seems now that it's not going to happen. But it's a script that I like and would do. It's not exactly a sequel, and it's certainly not a remake. More a meditation [...] it involves teleportation.[31]

In a late 2012 interview, Cronenberg provided additional details on why the project had stalled, citing

Budget constraints and other things. I think maybe the script that I wrote was a little too radical for Fox, and they felt it really needed to be a very low-budget film at that point. However, what was in it that attracted them could not be done low-budget. So I think that was the problem.[32]

He also described the project as "more of a sequel or a sidebar. It was a meditation on fly-ness. None of the same characters or anything and, of course, with an understanding of modern technology."

Despite Cronenberg's prior assertions that he does not make sequels to his films, he returned to The Fly for the opera The Fly in 2008, and his proposed sequel film project would mark a second return to the material, as well as his first sequel to one of his previous movies.However, the film is not moving forward

Simian Jack

Member: Rank 1
To be honest, I generally hate the films of David Cronenberg. (...)
That said however, The Fly (1986) is by far the best Cronenberg film I've seen. I also thought Scanners (1981) was pretty decent.
Understandable. There's a lot that could put anyone off his work. His stuff is depressing, his aesthetic can be grungy or icky, his psychological landscapes are uncomfortable to say the least and his approach is sometimes no warmer than observational. He's one of my favorite directors but I can't take much of him at any one go. It's a serious downer.

The Fly might be his most fun in that it'a his closest to the gloppy 80's aesthetic for horror movies. The audience I saw it with ate it up, laughing one moment and screaming in shock or revulsion the next. It's also got some of his most sympathetic characters and a touching love story.