Friday, 14 October 2016

The Fly 2 (1989)

I excluded Tremors as one of my horror reviews for October on the basis that I never felt it was really trying to be scary or distrubing.  The Fly 2 on the other hand, clearly wants to be both these things.  It just fails utterly in that ambition.  Fortunately for its makers, or possibly me, this doesn't disqualify them from counting toward my 'thirteen tales of terror' for the month.

This film tells us that Veronia Quaife was not only pregnant with Seth Brundle's child after The Fly, but that she was somehow persuaded or coerced into carrying the child to term.  She dies in the delivery room, but the child survives.  He is bestowed with the name Martin by his new guardians at Bartok Industries, and placed in a laboratory for study.

Two things rapidly become clear.  First that Martin has inherited at least some of his father's genetic abnormality, as he matures at roughly four times the normal rate.  And second that - while some of them are better at hiding it than others - the people at Bartok are not interested in Martin as a person, but purely as a scientific resource.

Things are inevitably going to become very messy then, when two things happen in quick succession: the now adult Martin both falls in love, and begins to exhibit the first signs of the hideous transformation that befell his father.  Naturally he wants nothing more than to find a cure and save his lover and himself, but the people at Bartok Industries have no intention of letting go of their investment, and will stop at nothing to control him.

Now "sinister organisation turn someone into a weapon and then find themselves as the target" is a perfectly valid story idea.  It's basis for numerous Jason Bourne films after all.  But it's not really a horror narrative.  You can throw all the gore and goop at the screen you want, but if we're cheering on the "monster" that's causing it then none of it is actually scary.  And it's not like the film makes any bones about the fact that Martin is the hero.  I mean heck, it even has him take time out of his face-melting fly monster rampage to pet a dog.

If you feel like seeing what a Bourne film would be like if you replaced Matt Damon with an eight foot humanoid fly, you should check out The Fly 2, because you'll probably have as much fun with it as I did.  Otherwise, tell it to buzz off.  (Yes, I went there.  This film deserves it.)

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