As I make my way to my 2022 goal in horror, I decided to watch David Cronenberg’s The Fly from 1986. While this is a remake, it is easily one of the best remakes to date, right up there with John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Growing up on a movie like the Fly in all of its body horror goodness, I wanted to get my kids in to a movie like this and explain the FX as best as I could to keep them from being terribly frightened. My daughter who at the time of writing is 8 years old and loves horror movies, her favorites include Phantasm and Pet Sematary. But the Fly is a different animal, so I was a little worried it would be too much for her…I was wrong.
She had already known who Jeff Goldblum the actor was after seeing films like Thor Ragnorak and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. She loves him. So that was enough of a selling point for her and she watched and loved the film feeling great sympathy for Seth Brundle, especially towards the end of the film with he began to change. She really love the FX and said her favorite scene was watching Brundlefly eat. Gross. As we do, her and I discussed the film and she sat quietly and looking to me, she asked, “What about the baby?”
I pulled out my Scream Factory copy of 1989’s The Fly II and told her we can find out right here. She was excited and we began watching the movie. I warned her, the sequel isn’t even close to as good as the original film. It isn’t, but it is pretty damn good. Better than I remember. It is 100% underrated and likely under viewed.
Anton Bartok (Lee Richardson), the CEO of a research laboratory, acts as the self-appointed guardian of orphan Martin Brundle, whose father had been a researcher at the lab. Though Martin is scarcely five, he has the appearance of a 20-year-old (Eric Stoltz) because of mutant insectoid genes in his system. Martin grows up confined to the laboratory, unaware of his true nature, with only pretty scientist Beth Logan (Daphne Zuniga) to call a friend. Soon, the fly within begins to emerge.
So, what happened to the baby?
Well, he was put in a lab and analyzed by doctors 24 hours a day. He ages rapidly which makes sense having the DNA of a fly and a human. But the company that is raising the Brundle baby is also trying to work on the telepods invented by Seth Brundle in the first movie.
I think this was a brilliant way to go with the sequel. The son of the Brundlefly. There are glimpses of Seth Brundle and he is a pure genius. Eventually when the Fly begins to take hold, he becomes and old man and eventually ends up in a cocoon, which is one of the creepier moments in the film.
When he emerges from the cocoon, he is in full human-fly mode. The practical effects are on full display at this point. They’re not as good as the 1986 film and the Martin Fly is more Monster movie Fly, but still looks great and nearly impossible to stop.
The one thing, this movie has a “happy ending” of sorts. I think it wraps up the series really well and doesn’t leave us with any questions and stomps out any idea of a third film. Which to me is good.
Frank Darabont and Mick Garris both had a hand in the screenplay. Geena Davis refused to return due to her character’s early death. Keanu Reeves and Josh Brolin both auditioned, Reeves turned down the role and they passed on Brolin as it went to Eric Stoltz, which worked.
The Fly II isn’t great by any stretch. But it is fun and a good sequel to the original movie that doesn’t really hurt the legacy of Cronenberg’s film. I really enjoyed it, it’s been a few years and it really didn’t offer any cringe worthy scenes or anything to really bitch about.
Give it another go, you may enjoy The Fly II. It is streaming on HBO Max currently and you can get a Blu Ray edition with the other four Fly movies, which I have and is worth every penny.