Thursday, June 25, 2015

Film Review: The Fly (1958)

The Fly (Review)
United States/1958
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...a very effective and even disturbing science-fiction horror film."

Upon learning of his brother's death at the hands of his sister-in-law, Francois Delambre (Vincent Price) delves into the events leading to the murder...

The Fly begins with Helene Delambre (Patricia Owens) murdering Andre Delambre (Al Hedison) with a hydraulic press, which she used to crush Andre's head and arm — twice. Initially thought to be insane, Francois believes something is amiss. When he learns of Helene's search for a fly with a white head prior to Andre's death, Francois convinces Helene to tell the truth. The truth being: Andre was working on a teleportation device. Unfortunately, while testing the device, a fly got caught in the experiment, leading to a horrible mutation. The film leads to an unforgettable ending. However, there are several moments where I felt the film could've ended with perfection; instead, the potential strength of the ending dwindles as it continues with needless explanations and such.

The Fly is a great film. It's a science-fiction film at its core, but it also blends elements of mystery and horror. I think it works very well with said elements. The science-fiction is filled with awe and discovery. The mystery is very interesting during the first act, and it unravels perfectly in the end. The horror comes more from the idea than anything else — this isn't a jump-scare horror movie. The idea of mutating, the idea of going too far... It's excellent. I think the special effects are cool, but they're outdated. Most kids raised with hyper-realistic computer effects will probably scoff at it. The film isn't perfect, though. There are a few dull moments here and there, usually due to some unnecessary scenes. There is a lot of blatant exposition. As I previously explained, the ending loses some of its impact, as well. Mostly minor flaws, nothing significant.

The acting is a bit dated. You'll find many of the 50s/60s melodramatics. Vincent Price is great, as usual. Al Hedison is charming and charismatic. Patricia Owens is a little overdone, but she's otherwise more than serviceable. The film is shot well, nothing out of the ordinary. The music sounds like its from the 50s — again, nothing out of the ordinary. I'm a big fan of practical effects, so you can probably imagine my big fat grin while watching this human with a fly head and limb — awesome. Some of the other special effects are clearly dated, but I liked them. Director Kurt Neumann crafts an engaging and chilling science-fiction horror film. There are a few dull and unnecessary moments, but it's otherwise a very effective and efficient film.

Overall, The Fly is a great film. It's a very effective and even disturbing science-fiction horror film. It asks all the right questions to keep you thinking, too. (How far is too far?) There are few minor issues with the narrative and some dated effects, but it's otherwise an enjoyable film from the good ol' 50s. I strongly recommend it. (As a side note, I still love the 80s remake a bit more.)

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and gore.

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