David Cronenberg (Videodrome, The Dead Zone, Dead Ringers, eXistenZ) directs this loosely based remake of writer George Langelaan’s 1957 short story and director Kurt Neumann’s 1958 film about a scientist whose invention leads to a horrible accident. In Cronenberg’s version, brilliant scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) meets science journalist Veronica “Ronnie” Quaife (Geena Davis), who takes an interest in his groundbreaking work in teleportation.
Things go awry after a drunk Brundle teleports himself, unaware that a housefly has joined him in his device. After he emerges, he realizes he has increased strength and stamina, not to mention sugar cravings and sexual potency. Soon, other side effects emerge, and thanks to makeup effects artists Chris Walas and Stephen Dupuis, who shared an Academy Award for Best Makeup for their collaboration, they’re super gross!
At its center, it’s a love story between Seth and Ronnie, but it’s also about a man losing human reason and compassion as he slowly becomes a monster. Things get batshit crazy when Ronnie discovers she’s pregnant. Mix in Cronenberg’s talent for gore and his ability to construct fully realized characters, and you end up with a fascinating, horrifying human tragedy. The film’s tagline is classic: “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” (96 min.)