Monday, August 29, 2011

What's That Buzzing Sound?

At this point, I've seen a decent amount of David Cronenberg's work, so I have a fair grasp of many of his themes and ideas. Despite not having yet dived into his 90s and most of his 2000s movies, I still have viewed a lot of his 70s and 80s films, ones that dealt with body mutilation, mutation, sex, and featured lots of gore and disgusting moments. His remake of the 1958 sci-fi picture "The Fly" is no exception, only there's something more at work here. Aside from a plot that was inspired by Kafka, to a certain degree.

This is why Cronenberg's horror movies are a cut above typical horror movie fare-he operates within a certain perimeter of ideas, never wavering from his vision no matter how disturbing that vision may end up being. Jeff Goldblum's Brudle is a scientist playing God with powers he does not even understand, and in the process this completely backfires on him.

Clearly Cronenberg is covering disease and its nasty effects upon the human body, and one could even make a case that this movie is partly about the AIDS epidemic that by 1986 was ravaging America. Even though by the third act his body is falling apart, his girlfriend Veronica refuses to abandon him, perhaps out of love, but also out of guilt of some kind. In some ways I'm reminded of Scanners, where a man clearly not entirely human still is able to stay with a normal, regular human being.

Several scenes in this movie are key, especially a dream sequence that is beyond terrifying, and a last act that clearly shows the mad scientist being turned into a full blown monster. A man going from creator to creation is something that Cronenberg has done before, primarily in Videodrome, and it works even better here. Although he has made several other movies that are better than this one, his remake brashly takes an older version and gives it a modern update that's nastier, more brutal, and more shocking. I am aware there is a sequel, but I doubt without Cronenberg's daft touch or Goldblum and Davis's honest, raw performances its even half as good.

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