Parents' Guide to

The Fly

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Classic '80s horror has some violence, gory moments.

Movie R 1986 95 minutes
The Fly Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 16+

Brilliantly Gruesome!

Naked Lunch was the only Cronenberg I've watched before seeing this, and although I can't say that I liked it even a tiny bit; I admired the flashes of creativity I've seen throughout its 115-min run-time of an achingly phlegmatic pacing and self-indulgence. Therefore, I was optimistic that this renowned indie director's bizarre style could work for me someday. This day may has come, or maybe it's just this movie. Either way, all I can say is that I was definitely right! First off, Chris Walas's standout, Oscar-winning makeup effects are just superbly sick! The last transformation is case in point, and I really haven't seen anything more impressive than those effects, aside from the equally brilliant practical effects that were used in Carpenter's The Thing. What's even more awe-inspiring is how well-developed every single character in this movie is. They are constantly developing throughout the film's three acts. And each act adds more layers into them in a most graceful and reasonable way. I want to confess that I have never considered Jeff Goldblum as an excellent actor. I always see him as one of the most charismatic actors, who play the same character in every film he's in, and I'm totally fine with that. That's because his quirky distinctive style of acting almost always pays off terrifically, so much so that his character steals the show every time. That said, the different phases his character go through in this movie prove that Goldblum's appeal isn't the only thing he has. For my surprise, Jeff Goldblum turned out to be a really talented actor who can flesh-out his character, figuratively and literally, masterfully. Geena Davis is quite good as Veronica Quaife, whose character arc and the development of her romantic affair with the protagonist near the end reminded me of Belle in Beauty and the Beast a little bit. I think Stathis Borans is an insufferably cartoonish character during the first act. John Getz is not blame at all, as I think he really did a good job. Fortunately, Stathis is also a pretty strongly-developed character that changed a great deal at the third act, and hence became more credible. I was overwhelmed by different feelings of pity, fear, disgust, and so many others, in the course of the movie's 96-min run-time. However, I think the denouement lacks intensity, since I found the ending predictable, and I saw it coming a bit early. Other than the issues I've mentioned above, this movie really impressed me with all its creativity and originality. Cronenberg is truly a visionary filmmaker, and I hope I enjoy the rest of his filmography. (8.5/10)

This title has:

Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
1 person found this helpful.
age 10+

Cronenbergs best

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (12):

While the fashions, computer technology, mullet hair, and big perms haven't aged well, the rest of this film has stood the test of time. Jeff Goldblum's trademark mannerisms and speech cadences give his mad-scientist character an understated yet plain awkwardness that offsets how menacing he slowly becomes, first in his behavior and then in his physical appearance. This tale of human-to-insect metamorphosis was the perfect vehicle for director David Cronenberg, known for the nightmare-inducing imagery in such movies as Scanners, Videodrome, and Naked Lunch.

Like all good stories, The Fly takes full advantage of the possibilities in the premise. It's subtle at first -- Brundle dropping sugar cube after endless sugar cube into a cappuccino during the earliest stages of turning into a fly, for instance -- with each step slowly becoming more menacing. It's the kind of slow burn that Hitchcock turned into an art form. The scares and gore proceed organically from the story and avoid the gratuitous excesses of so many other horror movies. It's fun, frightening, creepy, gross, and engrossing -- a horror classic.

Movie Details

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