I had such a splendorific time re-watching DAVID CRONENBERG’s THE FLY that I thought it appropriate that I should give its 1989 sequel THE FLY 2 a spin. I remember seeing it when it initially came out and although I wasn’t a giant fan at the time, I recalled that the special effects were pretty darn cool. Since super crappy THE EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC was able to somehow win my heart when I gave it a second look-see, who was to say the same would not occur again? Well, THE FLY 2 was to say that it would not occur again because, to me, it really does kinda stink some.
The tag line reads “Like Father, Like Son” but that’s just all so much wishful thinking on the part of THE FLY 2. Unlike THE EXORCIST II which at least lubricates its lameness with intoxicating looneyness, this sequel is mostly pure drudgery through and through. It’s actually just depressing and not the good kind of depressing either. I mean there is the romantic, honey-flavored, sigh on your bed and listen to THE CURE type of depressing and then there is the mildew smelling stare at a blank wall and have your soul raped by THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT type found here. From its opening shot, which resembles bad television more than a feature film, to its mucky torturous porridge slurping final shot, this film just won’t let up with its blotchy blandness. Sadly the special effects that I remembered fondly didn’t even have the decency to hold up (some are still pretty cool though, see above).
The movie begins with a dark haired lady that is supposed to be GEENA DAVIS’s character Veronica giving birth and promptly dropping dead. This is all taken in by lone returner JOHN GETZ, the bad guy boss from the first movie, who, for his sake, I hope was wearing a fake beard. It turns out the Brundle baby Seth is not a giant maggot (which I think Veronica would have been pretty happy about if she wasn’t pushing up daisies with Newt from ALIEN 3 and Alice from FRIDAY THE 13THE PART II), but he does have some accelerated age thing going on, and is kinda turning into a giant fly regardless of not being born a maggot and, worse of all, has to live his short bleak life uncannily resembling Rocky Dennis.
Sadly all the action takes place in these colorless fake looking science labs where you don’t ever get a glimpse of the sun, but you do have to bump into DAPHNE ZUNIGA from time to time. There are plenty of mean scientists and security guards all over the place that act in such a way as to secure their own doom when Seth gets his insect on near the end of the picture and seeks revenge for his under a microscope upbringing and being secretly videotaped bumping uglies with ZUNIGA. There is nothing resembling a pace or even a pulse here, and you just sort of wait and wait for special effects artist turned director CHRIS WALAS to get to the underwhelming finale.
I can’t really blame the producers for trying to snare a younger audience back in 1989 as Freddy Krueger was currently raking in major coinage, but the degree of dumbing down that takes place in THE FLY 2 is kinda infuriating. Some effort was made to do something a bit different than you might expect, but it’s certainly not enough to make up for all the clunky foot dragging and the morose tone. I realize that the first FLY was not exactly the feel good movie of the century, but at least you were left with the feeling of joy that accompanies witnessing a job well done. I know that it would be madness to expect this sequel in particular to be on par with the original but, even giving it the most leeway I know how, it still leaves me with some sort of grubby feeling I can’t explain…
…or maybe I can. Look, I know this is a horror film and in horror films bad, bad stuff is bound to occur but what befalls little Seth’s only pal, a cute golden retriever, who ends up looking like one of my cat’s fur balls spliced with a Vienna sausage, as they say, shouldn’t happen to a dog. As much as I hate to admit it, I have to give the Devil his due here and admit that the whole howling mutant dog routine is pretty effective and certainly the stuff of Kindertraumas. To be honest, it may be the reason I find this movie so laborious to endure. Couldn’t they have used ZUNIGA as a test subject instead?