The Fly (1986) Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

The Fly is one of those films that starts out reasonably well but once the whole fly aspect enters the film then it starts to stumble quite a bit. The fly angle takes a while to show up but you wish it didn’t and instead just kept going as an interesting sci-fi drama. I suppose you couldn’t call the film “The Fly” at that point though so you’d need a new name.

The movie starts off with Ronnie at a party where she is trying to get a scoop on the latest inventions. Unfortunately there is nothing here that’s very interesting. A mysterious guy named Seth shows up and informs her that he has one of the greatest inventions of all time. She has to come to his place to see it though since he wants to keep this a secret. Ronnie agrees and it turns out that he has created a teleportation device. This is revolutionary but the issue is he can’t teleport people yet, only objects. Ronnie figures this is good enough to report on so she ignores Seth’s wishes and quickly tells her boss Stathis. Stathis doesn’t believe her though. Seth asks her to hold off this time until he perfects it and she agrees, but will this invention actually end up changing the world?

Seth’s certainly a genius to come up with this invention, that’s for sure. He is quite greedy in wanting to wait until it has been perfected though as just teleporting objects would already be huge. Think of how you could move food around, supplies, etc. You would really change the world in no small way. It goes without saying that any kind of teleportation device in the real world would be absolutely massive.

Unfortunately the dark history of this invention quickly starts to become apparent. For one thing, Seth was running experiments on animals which is as unethical as it gets. You should never experiment on animals or any sentient life. Stick to plants and then if you have to go further, voluntary humans who know the risks, but not innocent animals. At that point Seth was already too far gone to be saved.

We then see that he is quite petty and head strong as he goes through the invention just because he was upset at Ronnie potentially being with someone else. I mean, she made it clear that she was ending an old affair so if he just doesn’t believe her then their relationship was never going to work anyway. Seth’s just not a great guy and this ends up being his undoing. Everything that happens to him in the film is a direct result of actions he took.

Naturally that takes us to the Fly aspect of the film. It seems to affect his emotions almost immediately as he won’t listen to reason and starts rambling a lot. It’s unfortunate because this prevents him from actually realizing the issue here and how to correct it. His computer seems exceptionally advanced so I like to think there would have been an easy way to reverse the process otherwise. Just retool the settings to remove the fly dna or something like that. If it can be merged so quickly it could probably be separated as well. One idea I had was to merge with a fly repellant which could do the trick here. A side effect is maybe you could shoot out bursts of raid.

In the end though, I just didn’t like Seth. Whether it was the Fly dna or not, he was just completely unreasonable. Once he became the Fly he becomes your classic horror villain who just wants to cause carnage and destruction. He’s quite selfish in his motivations at the end and his final plan just doesn’t make sense. He was simply too far gone at that point to really go back.

Then you have Ronnie who is an okay heroine but not as good as she could be. For starters it was iffy that she was going to run to the paper and exploit Seth’s research when he asked her not to. Sure she was expecting a story but maybe she could negotiate something instead of just burning that bridge right away. If he did end up changing history so drastically, wouldn’t you want to be on his side for that? It doesn’t seem like a smart move to make him your enemy.

Finally you have Stathis who is an annoying character the whole time. He used to have an affair with Ronnie and never got over her after they broke up. He follows and pesters her the entire movie and even resorts to blackmail. The film tries to show him as more of a hero by the end but it’s just way too late for that. I’m glad he stepped up and tried to help but in no way does that make him a good character.

The film certainly had an issue with the romance throughout though. It just wasn’t very good. It was all rushed and not all that realistic. The whole time you know it’s just moving way too fast and again, Seth was way too quick to get jealous. He just didn’t trust her which is a huge red flag. That’s not really what destroys the movie though. It’s just how gross the film is and it also manages to throw in some animal violence.

We see what goes wrong when an animal is put in the machine and you have to remember that Seth knew exactly what would happen since he had done this before and only did it again to show Ronnie the effects. That means he destroyed another animal for no reason. It’s certainly a rough way to go out too as the whole procedure looks really painful. Then you have his transformation into the Fly and how he has to vomit on everything. It’s a form of acid that also works as an attack but it’s certainly not a fun one to look at. The film really prioritizes being as gross as possible over the actual story.

Overall, The Fly is a film that you should definitely skip. It can’t quite match up to the original version which is what you should watch instead. This one just goes too far with all of the imagery and throwing in the animal was completely unnecessary. The concept is interesting and you can make a good film out of that but you would definitely need a full redesign of the Fly itself which would be a good starting point.

Overall 2/10

Return of the Fly Review


It’s time for the sequel to the original Fly movie. For the most part it’s not bad as the film goes on. The pacing is decent and the plot is fairly good, but the film ends up falling into a massive pot hole with an animal violence scene. Beyond that, it can also be annoying to see the heroes lose so badly to one opponent the whole time. It’s certainly a rather unique film and while you feel bad for the main character, you also can’t help but wish Francois could have said “I told you so” at one point.

Phillipe is in shambles over what happened to his father. After all, how can anyone take the fact that their father turned into an insect and died? Francois warns him not to go down the same path, but Phillipe laughs him off and decides to rebuild the experiments room and do the exact same things his father did. He wants to prove that the concept is sound and his father grew careless. He hires Alan as an assistant and they decide to live in the house of his child hood friend’s house and they’ll work in her basement. She doesn’t seem to mind and even though a romance may be lightly hinted, the film never takes that anywhere. I was pretty impressed although, that’s probably because the main heroine and her mother barely appear at all. They’re in the film, but their role is quite small. You wouldn’t be wrong to say that they were filler characters.

So, lets get the elephant out of the room first since it is of massive importance. What destroys the film is a scene with the rat as he grows human hands and feet. Alan ends up crushing him in a very long, drawn out death scene that is shown to be exceptionally painful to the rat. Animal violence is one thing and animal death is another, but a scene this intense and long is something else altogether. The film was in the grave from this point on in the film and it’s not as if anything could possibly save it. Even if the film was decent otherwise, it was doomed at this point.

Still, lets look at the rest of the film. The Alan subplot felt wildly out of place to be honest. He’s actually an international fugitive who earns money by ripping off inventions and giving them to local crooks. The cops have been after him for years, but the guy is too slippery. Fortunately he got a steady job over here just in time to rip Phillipe off. One of the cops did a good job of finding him, but ended up choking his accomplishment away by getting shot so easily. That was definitely not a great moment for him. It’s too bad since the cops never seem to win in these things. Ah well, at least he tried. Things don’t end well for Alan in this film but he still looked a little too good during the middle. He took down the cop, Francois, and Phillipe back to back to back. It was a little too much hype for one guy, but I can see why he evaded capture for so long.

Phillipe isn’t a very likable main character since he intentionally decides to bring the experiments back. He knows that they were the end of his father so why go through it again? It seems to be more about pride than anything else so it’s hard to say that his soul was really in it from the start. As such, it’s a little hard to sympathize with him at times. I suppose he gets his revenge and a pretty happy ending though so he probably won’t regret it much. On that note, the ending was surprisingly happy. I certainly wasn’t expecting that, but it’s a good thing I’d say.

The film didn’t really have a role for the two heroines or Francois. Francois offered words of advice, but Phillipe ignored them all and then Francois spent the rest of the film getting wrecked and blackmailed. It wasn’t a very flattering appearance for him. The design for the fly monster and the mini fly wasn’t bad. It’s certainly interesting even if it doesn’t make for a downright epic design. I suppose we’ll take it since it’s fairly unique although almost the same as the first film.

Return of the Fly’s main issue aside from the animal violence is pretty much that nothing happens for large chunks of the film. It’s very dialogue based which isn’t a bad thing, but it comes across as more uneventful than deep. We didn’t need more action, but more likable characters. All of the dialogue just doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere and since none of the characters are developed, we don’t need to hear about their childhoods. I also don’t get why Phillipe is so scared of flies when he didn’t actually live through the events of the first film. It would have made more sense if Francois was the one who was scared of them.

Overall, Return of the Fly suffered from one major scene. It’s a bit of a shame for it since it probably could have scored a 5 or a 6 otherwise. It can be a little dull, but the writing was still fine and it didn’t make a bunch of mistakes. It could just be a little annoying to watch Alan trick everyone, but seeing Phillipe connect the dots was fun. That would certainly have helped to an extent. Still, the rat scene was in very bad taste and one of the worst animal death moments I’ve seen in a very long time. That sunk the film all the way to the bottom. One scene can absolutely change a film and this one is living proof of it. I highly advise staying away from this film and never looking back!

Overall 1/10

The Fly Review

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Time to take a look at a really old horror film. This came out during the good ole 1950’s, which was a fun decade for the world. Especially for movies as the Godzilla franchise started out around this time. The Fly is a fairly nice concept and it actually doesn’t go for the “Everyone gets knocked off one by one” action aspect that you would expect and plays out more like a mystery thriller. It’s not exactly the next Sonic The Hedgehog film, but the effects hold up quite well.

A lady is accused of murdering her husband and the cops get involved. Francois, her step brother, wants to believe that she didn’t really do it, but she confirms the story and the crime scene is quite telling. The detectives wonder how this could have happened and Andre decides to tell them when one character mentions that he caught a fly. She explains the story of how her husband had been working on some next gen technology, but how it all went terribly wrong and he ended up turning himself into a Human/Fly hybrid instead.

Now, there were two things wrong with this for me. Not logic holes by any means though. First, Everyone is watching The Fly because we already know about the hybrid. This shouldn’t be a twist right? Yet, once the guy turns into a fly, the film is just about over. He quickly takes himself down and then the flashback ends and everyone walks away. I’m not really sure where the film was going with this and it may have worked better if it was called “The Mystery” or something like that.

The second part is that I actually preferred the mystery angle in the present anyway. The inspector clearly knew what he was doing and I dare say that he had the edge in his conversation with Andre. He was piecing things together, but he never could have suspected something so fantastic! I was rather enjoying the plot and then the long flashback began, which took up most of the film. That wasn’t quite as interesting to be honest and we all knew what was going to happen to the main character anyway.

The Fly was actually a little more violent than I could have suspected. When the main character was destroyed under the giant press, it was surprisingly graphic and this was back in the 1950’s! Also, the ending was a little sad for one character as he couldn’t move and could only watch as he was getting bitten until he was quickly put out of his misery by the others. It was definitely a dicey scene for the guy although I applaud the effects here as it looked fairly realistic considering how long ago this came out. The effects in general were actually quite good.

As you would expect from a 1950’s film, the writing is nice and solid. The characters are all fairly interesting and engaging in the present. You’ll feel bad for the guy watching over the equipment in the first scene since he gets quite the spook when the murder happens. Again, if the whole film had just been the mystery, then I could see this easily getting an extra 2-3 stars. As it is the flashbacks hurt the film as they slowed down the pacing and weren’t quite as interesting as the main plot.

The same thing happened to Captain America, The First Avenger a while back. I loved the present plot with Captain America overpowering SHIELD and seeing New York City, but I wasn’t crazy about the flashbacks. The main reason why flashbacks have never had a lot of potential for me is that you already know the ending. Seeing how the characters get there is all well and good, but only if you have a lot of epic action scenes to go with it. For a film like The Fly where you’re just watching someone’s day to day events until the end of the flashback…it takes away any form of intrigue or suspense that the film could have had. Watching The Fly return in the present and decide to rule the world, now that’s a twist that I could have gotten behind!

The Fly could have made for a decent villain, but we never got to see his final form. As a scientist, he was a decent character. A little generic perhaps, but a fun guy all the same. It’s just too bad that he didn’t have any more will power at his disposal or he could have really made a difference in the world! I also didn’t like the fact that he tested his invention out on the cat. That’s a really bad move if you ask me and it made me lose all of my respect for the guy. No matter how chipper he can be, we now know that he is willing to do anything for his experiments.

Overall, The Fly was a decent horror at times, but it just didn’t do anything for me. The final scene was pretty tragic and bordered on animal violence, but the effects were definitely really good and one of the highlights of the film. As this is an old film, the writing is pretty solid and I think that the show has potential. If you are looking for a classic horror movie, then this may be up your ally. If you are scared of giant flies or mysterious looking creatures, then you may want to back up now!

Overall 4/10