David Cronenberg carries on his dubious search to find "straighter," more respectable outlets for his creature-feature schlock tactics: this time, the William S. Burroughs novel of the same name, although the movie is not a direct adaptation of it, but rather a reconstruction of the (highly drugged) state of mind in which it might have been written -- and thereby, too, a validation and endorsement of it. Here as before, the pretensions take away from the schlock, and the schlock takes away from the pretensions. Cronenberg's icky-poo special effects can tend to be silly even when meant to be scary; when meant (as these giant talking insects are meant) to be symbolic and metaphorical, and to be contemplated at leisure, the silly tendency becomes irresistible. Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Roy Scheider, Ian Holm. (1991) — Duncan Shepherd
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