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3.4 out of 5 stars
Masters of Horror: The Screwfly Solution
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Joe Dante's "Homecoming" for Showtime's "Masters of Horror" anthology series was easily the controversial high point of Season One. Alternately described as "brilliant" and "complete trash," there were very few who straddled the middle on this political zombie satire. Needless to say, this intrigued me to contemplate how Dante would follow up this divisive little tale. Well, for Season Two, Dante clocks in with "The Screwfly Solution." It certainly has a provocative topic, and is the ultimate battle of the sexes--but I suspect that it is a lot less likely to engender the passionate debate of "Homecoming." That is not a criticism, however, as I think this episode stands as one of the more sophisticated entries we've seen so far!

Contemplating the end of the world, "Screwfly" offers a new take on the apocalypse genre. A virus affecting men is discovered where if the man is to become sexually aroused--his feelings end up turning to a murderous rage. Needless to say, this doesn't bode well for the women of the world--as this rage is directed at them! While this may, on the surface, seem to be a bit (or a lot) misogynistic--the disease is handled well and its repercussions are real, unpleasant and not taken lightly. The principles include Jason Priestly and Elliott Gould as researchers trying to combat the virus, but this just may take the ultimate toll on their families.

"Screwfly" may not be scary in the traditional sense if you're looking for quick thrills, but the premise is chilling and disturbing and it leads to appropriate gruesomeness. The tale is well acted and sometimes harrowing, with an emotional context I haven't found often in the "Masters of Horror" series. In fact, through most of the film, I thought I might be scoring this episode at 5 stars--that's how pleasantly surprised I was by this tale. The end scenes, however, may be a bit prolonged for some viewers. That didn't bother me as it brought the real domestic dilemma of this story to the forefront. But, at the last minute, the film provides us with an unnecessary explanation for the whole catastrophe which was both unnecessary and not worthy of what has preceded it. This terrific tale went wrong in the end, but that doesn't keep it from being one of the best this show had to offer! KGHarris, 04/07.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2007
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I expected this to be good because I know that Joe Dante is an excellent director, but when I saw that it was based on a story by James Tiptree Jr., I sat up, because I knew this was going to be something REALLY extraordianary.

James Tiptree Jr. is one of the greatest science fiction writers of the latter part of the 20th Century. James Tiptree Jr. was also the nom de plume of Dr. Alice Sheldon (look for Tiptree's books on Amazon). Her writing was always psychologically complex and surprising. And this installment of MASTERS OF HORROR captured that, thanks to Dante's brilliance and Sam Hamm's great script.

It's made clear from the beginning that there is a parallel between our decimation of the screwfly/pest insect populations by disruption of their sexual cycles, and what is occuring to the human population in this story (at least it's clear to us, the audience). So this naturally begs the question: If we did that to the insects, who or what could be doing this to us?

The conclusion of this story is set up right from the beginning, is deepend, enhanced, and made more apparent throughout the telling of it. There is no cheap ending here. It is logical, inevitable, and horrible. Horrible for humans, anyway.

The dogs seem to like it.

It's important to keep in mind that this isn't a chainsaw hack-'em-up-er, or blood drinking beast fest, or a vengeful ghost mind twister. This is a story about the most terrifying monsters in the world: ordinary people who give in to the worst within themselves, thinking they're right, and good, and normal. Men who don't see other people (women) as human. And you have to pay attention.

Personally, this is my favorite episode so far in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
As some might say, "Where would men be without women?"....this movies reply is "Still in the garden of Eden"

Spoilers
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The movie is premised that an attack is perpetrated against the world, an attack that is so heinous that it will eventually destroy the human race. Men have contracted some type of disease whereby they are compelled to slaughter every women that they see, because men see themselves as the superior, and doing gods will, taking the world back to the days when it was only man and the creator, with no women. (Thus extinction of the human species because then there can be no procreation)...which is exactly it seems what the aliens that are taking over the planet want.

Further into the movie it can be construed that all the women are now dead, and the men have now turned to killing male children, and many will not like the ending of the movie due to the viewer just being left hanging in the end. Others might flog the movie for not being a true HORROR movie...as this film is from the masters of horror series, it is more like a sci-fi thriller.

In any case I definitely like this movie, it thinks outside the box, and is a refreshing story prompting me to look further and potentially buying the book that movie is based off of. I recommend this movie
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
This hour long episode had some blood, but wasn't a slasher film. A little sex and nudity, but wasn't a softcore production. It had some mystery and suspense, but not enough to make watching it a chore. It has humor, but wasn't a comedy. The acting was good with another fine performance from Gould. Nothing like a liberal family faced with the final solution and being forced to survive like red necks. Try not to get too attached to any of the main characters as most don't make it through the movie. The line I liked most was when the the teen girl says, "We should just nuke those f***ing ragheads." To wit the feminists reply, "Don't say ragheads." That one line is what separates real liberals from the rest of the world.
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Format: DVD
Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Howling) helmed one of the best episodes during the first season of Masters of Horror with Homecoming, and does so once again with this second season episode, The Screwfly Solution. Based on the James Tiptree Jr. short story, The Screwfly Solution stars Jason Priestley and Elliott Gould as scientists Alan and Barney respectively; both of whom are caught in the middle of a virus epidemic that is causing men to viciously murder women in the name of God. Alan's wife (Kerry Norton) and teen daughter (Brenna O'Brien) soon find themselves in danger and treking across the country as the virus continues to spread, leading them all to wonder just what, or who, is responsible. Unlike Homecoming, which was thought provoking while still a bit comical, The Screwfly Solution is profoundly disturbing and features some truly horrifying moments. That being said, The Screwfly Solution is easily one of the best offerings in the otherwise sub-par second season of Masters of Horror, and is more than worth the trip.
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VINE VOICEon October 8, 2007
Format: DVD
The Masters of Horror series brings us sixty-minute episodes that cover a wide range of topics in the genre. In this installment, the story revolves around an attempt by an unknown entity to eliminate the human race. The story is fine, but there are a couple of problems with this episode. First, I think that this barely makes it into the horror genre; it seems more of a psychological thriller. The second problem is that the ending left me unsatisfied, since I felt it was a poor explanation to the reasons behind the events.

On the plus side, the acting was pretty good, especially for a horror production. In particular, I liked the performance of Elliott Gould, as Barney, a scientist trying to stop the debacle. Overall, episode is OK, but I would not recommend it to those that are new to the series. I think that going for The Black Cat is a better option.
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VINE VOICEon September 18, 2007
Format: DVD
The Screwfly Solution is an interesting take on the zombie genre. Jason Priestly and Eliot Gould star as scientists who have studied the effects of genetic engineering on screwflies. They are called in to assist when suddenly men start attacking and murdering women.

While the premise has only the slightest amount of believability, suspension of disbelief can be achieved. However, the idea that this is being done by some higher beings for some ulterior motives stretches beyond that point.

I like my horror grounded in reality or Earth-bound alternatives. I find that suddenly introducing a "sci fi" solution to an otherwise non-sci fi story to be a cheat; a cop out, if you will. But that's just me.

This isn't the worst of this series, but its also not the best: Coscarelli still holds that mantle: ....Mountin Road.
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on February 2, 2010
Format: DVD
It's worth watching, especially if you never read the story it's based on. I'd recommend then going on to read the story, which is one of very, very few that have stuck in my head for years. (You can find it in James Tiptree, Jr.'s Her Smoke Rose Up Forever.) Of course, this might be due to a transference of my general terror of parasites (and hence, screwflies) to the story itself.

As other reviewers have pointed out, it's not as much a "horror" movie as others in the series, but I think how much it gives you the chills is likely based on your own life experiences. Anyone who's had a serious run-in with a physically abusive man will likely have nightmares after watching it....
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on July 2, 2011
Format: DVD
The acting is overdone. To a laughable point. Each actor reads his or her line like they are standing up in the middle of a high-school class and reading their essay for the teacher. The concept of the movie ought to have been brought down to a realistic level. Really? All men turning into lewd sexual and aggressive creatures? The film is funny, but not intended to be so. I don't even think a Valerie Solonas would enjoy this film. I'm giving it two stars because everyone involved actually made this film and put it out on Netflix. They got somewhere, at least.
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on September 29, 2007
Format: DVD
I enjoyed this MOH installment being that it was so different. You really have to think outside the box to enjoy this one. The acting was very good and the premise was very original. It wasn't scary but it did provide a creepy undertone. I would recommend this one if you are looking for a change of pace.
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