Viewed – 29 August 2017 Blu-ray
It’s hard to believe this movie came out in 1986. It’s look and atmosphere still feel contemporary and semi-futuristic bar some 80s fashions and hair styles. This retelling / remake of the 1950’s b-movie has Jeff Goldblum on star-making form as eccentric scientist Seth Brundel, who after inviting a plucky reporter (Gina Davis) to his lab, reveals he has invented a teleportation device. However after the initial reveal, Brundel decides to teleport himself but makes the mistake of allowing a common house fly inside the pod, therefore setting into motion a grotesque and alarming physical transformation.
This is perfect material for director David Cronenberg (Scanners, Videodrome) who has always had an interest in body-horror and transformation in his movies. However beyond the gory effects (that still impress and revolt) this is a tragic love story. Helped immeasurably by convincing chemistry from the leads (who were a real life couple at the time) and a strikingly complex turn from Goldblum … watching events play out is both emotionally draining and exciting. It’s a very unique kind of horror experience, with no actual evil enemy but more a horrible set of circumstances. In that respect it’s not unlike The Elephant Man. It may be at it’s core fairly simple and only really has three characters … but what Cronenberg achieves with such simple tools is a revelation and made this an instant classic.
The Blu-ray has a decent if slightly soft image but colours are strong and close-up detail is good. The soundtrack in 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio is also effective with atmospherics and Howard Shore’s obvious b-movie throwback score both doing their job. The only slight let down is somewhat mono sounding dialogue that whilst still clear could have done with sprucing up. Extras are plentiful though with an essential commentary from Cronenberg as well as some worthwhile deleted scenes, press kits, behind the scenes stuff and photo galleries. Overall a decent job for a genuine horror gem.
(the movie) 5 /5
(the Blu-ray) 4 /5