I didn't think much of this Masters of Horror after I saw it the first time... or the second time. However, a few nights ago I rewatched it and I felt like I understood it a tiny bit better. Then a funny thing happened. I had a nightmare that night about it. And it wasn't until I had the dream that it really resonated with me.
That night that I rewatched it there was one scene in particular that stirred in me. There's a scene that perfectly embodies nightmare scenarios and it comes like twenty or so minutes into it. The middle-aged female investigator goes right into the heart of a male-centric army station to hear about the female-murdering disease that's sweeping the male gender. She hears from a young man who killed several strippers and then later on, she shows the main guy who's there a series of similar reports from all across the country. She says "Something is happening," and he says "Something glorious has happened." All of the sudden it appears that she has actually driven herself into the heart of darkness and has given herself right to the beast. He kills and rapes her and everyone there is now feeling the same thing he feels. It's that sense of the world gone mad and you can't trust anyone that comes off as truly scary. And she is the lead character in this part too, so it makes you feel like you are the woman.
Basically the film is a commentary on how we fuck with nature and get really bad results and how the world seems to be becoming more misogynistic and just all around more heartless. The Screwfly Solution does what I love about horror, it addresses the fear inside of us and presents it in a fierce way. It's cathartic to address these things so that we don't keep them bottled up and so we can keep them open for discussion. Censorship stems from fear and that's what those who censor horror don't understand about the genre. It's important. I don't wanna be bottled up in my little cocoon watching Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood or National Treasure. The MPAA scares me because of how they try to keep our thoughts suppressed.
Of course, the common misogyny of the crappier horror movies is another probable influence here.
All of this is why it sucks that the film ends up being a cop-out in the end. It was aliens who did this to us! That's an easy ending! Let's just do that! Joe Dante and writer Sam Hamm know this too, which they reveal on the commentary. But they defend it in the end. I guess that's because the original story that the film is based on had that ending. They could have changed it, but I guess they also need to justify the crappy ending to their film, which was rushed.
So the film is not all it could have been, but the first 98% of the film stands out and is extremely important. Damn you Joe Dante! Oh well. Rating: 4 out of 5.
This oddly was not my reaction to the film's scares but rather to it's ending.