THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION
Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
When a rash of homicides against women occur all over the world, two scientists working on an experiment to destroy a pesky insect find themselves involved as are their families. The further the violence spreads, the closer they get to an all male, God worshipping society with the destruction of Eve (or basically, all women).
Is it good movie?
Alfonso Cuarón recently explored the idea of women not able to procreate in the astonishing Children of Men. Well, Joe Dante with his second Masters of Horror outing takes it a step farther. What if men developed a vengeful hatred of the opposite sex every time they become sexual aroused? What happens if there are no women left? The end of the world most likely, and thus, The Screwfly Solution explores this in a unique and somewhat thought provoking way. Sam Hamm wrote the script based on a short story by Raccoona Shelton. This is not the first time Sam and Joe have worked together, their first outing for MOH was the brilliant and controversial Homecoming. Here, they tackle another slightly controversial subject, the battle of the sexes. Except this time, the battle is real as men all over the world find God and realize that the women are all evil and need to be taken down. In a very messed up scene, a lady on board a plane starts freaking out when another is murdered because some dude needed to pee. As she screams, she herself is taken care of, much to another male passengers approval as he tells him “Thank you!” as someone would tell another when they have killed an annoying insect.
Screwfly works on many levels. The lead actors do some nice work, most notably, Kerry Norton whose husband Jason Priestly who is a scientist working on finding a solution seems to be getting too close. Her work here is by far the best performance, even over the great Elliot Gould who is also convincing as Jason’s scientist friend, a gay man who does not suffer the same fate as all the others. The episode works much to her credit. Her relationship with her daughter and her husband make her very real and sympathetic. Some of the bit players do not fair so well, a few suffering from bad accents and other problems, but that is a minor complaint. And the fact that many of the actors seemed a bit weak may have worked in its favor with the almost documentary feel. It is shot on a fairly cheap digital camera which makes the end of the world seem more palpable.
Unlike Homecoming, Screwfly adds a touch of nudity and gore that Joe Dante usually doesn’t throw into the mix. But it works for this idea. The women are all victims due to the hatred spreading disease. But I wouldn’t call this a misogynistic film, not at all. It makes you appreciate the fairer sex and the fact that without them, there is nothing left. All of this works, although not as well as Joe and Sam’s previous MOH collaboration, but there is a sense of despair, especially in the last half hour or so when the atrocities spread all over the world. Yes, it is a fascinating idea, but the final few frames lost me just a bit. The reveal of who is responsible didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the episode, although if you are familiar with the story, it is the same. But for me, it seemed a bit far-fetched which didn’t really work. I liked how all of it had been grounded in a bit of reality up until then. You’ll see what I’m talking about. Yet with this, I still enjoyed it, although Homecoming still worked on a much more emotionally complex level and is by far the better of the two.
Video / Audio
Video: The Masters of Horror collection from Anchor Bay continues to make quality picture and sound with a clear 1.78:1 Widescreen Presentation.
Audio: As I said, this looks and sounds great in Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround 2.0.
As for the extras, is it just me or do these DVD’s seem to be getting less and less special features. Although there are a few here, it seems the first season really put a whole lotta love into this section.
We do however get a interesting Commentary from Sam Hamm and Joe Dante. They keep it interesting while they speak about only being allowed to hire two actors from outside Canada, where this was shot. They also speak about the casting process and how the idea came about. Joe even brings up Children of Men and let’s everyone know that them really should see it… I concur.
We also have two short Featurette’s including The Cinematic Solution: A Look Behind the Scenes of THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION (10:25) which consists of the typical behind the scenes stuff. I do however find Joe Dante to be a very interesting person and enjoyed seeing him work. This is worth a look.
Also worth a look is The Exterminators: The Solution to the Special Effects (4:35). Although I strongly recommend you watch the episode first because this gives away the climax. Not necessarily the ending I really wanted to see, but what can you do?
Finally, we finish up with a few point the remote and click extras including a Joe Dante Biography, a Still Gallery and for those of you with a DVD-ROM, you can read the screenplay. Dig in.
The Trailers include “Masters of Horror Season 1”, “Season 2”, “Behind the Mask” and “Hellboy Animated: Blood and Iron”.
Joe Dante and Sam Hamm make a terrific partnership; although The Screwfly Solution is much less of an experience compared to Homecoming, yet it makes a strong statement on the battle between men and women. The idea was better pursued in Children of Men yet they are completely different ideas. I was much more involved in a realistic and frighteningly familiar look at the future through Alfonso Cuarón’s eyes. Luckily, the lovely and talented Kerry Norton gives us someone to root for as the world collapses around her. Not the best addition to the Masters of Horror series, but still recommended.