Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) has just had a breakthrough in his transportation pods where he can move matter from one to the other. At a promotional event held by his benefactors, he meets a journalist for Particle magazine - Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) - and takes her back to the warehouse to show her his machine.
Seth and Veronica begin a relationship, but when Seth gets jealous over her editor and former lover Stathis Borans (John Getz) he decides to put himself through his machine - with dire consequences.
Of course, even when the realisation sinks in and the film takes a certain foul turn it is still captivating. I'm not sure whether it was during the moment his face changed, when we see random body parts stored in his bathroom cabinet or during the final, disturbing scene when I felt truly repulsed.
Really, despite Goldblum's impressive insectoid human (or should that be humanoid insect?) acting, the plaudits should go to David Cronenberg who manages to drag a 90 minute film from something that has been parodied in five second sketches. It is never voyeuristic or pleasurable, but there seems to be a secret ingredient that forces the audience to keep watching the perverse human degradation - the corny romantic relationship.
We are fully aware from the beginning scenes that Veronica has only known Seth for a few weeks before his experiment but she expressly experiences the stand-by-your-man bug (pun intended) during exposure to Seth's exponential expansion. I feel I may be getting lost amongst trying to alliterate the previous sentence but you should already know by now if you want to watch such a grotesque film.
I wouldn't have picked it without the five-star list, but it was enticing - and brilliant.