Chuck Russell, who was riding off the success of A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, decided to remake the 1958 Monster Movie The Blob, Starring a young Steve McQueen, 30 years later. The Result: Fan-fucking-tastic!
But before I get to this review, let me give a quick overview of the original..... it's so boring! It's so boring, you guys. And I'm not saying this because I'm young and therefore not up to par with classic movies, I happen to enjoy classic movies, however the 1958 version I couldn't be invested in. Everything about the movie was bland. The acting, the characters, the writing, and all the way down to the directing and special effects. I think in my case, the movie is only remembered because it was Steve McQueeen's first major role and nothing else. So this definitely needed to be remade and it was only a matter of time during the 80's, which was the golden age of Sci-fi, where this could happen.
The Story: On a typical day in a small idyllic town, strange event occurs. A meteor suddenly falls from the sky. Once the town drunk takes a hold of this, a glob of goo attacks his hand. Meanwhile, likeable jock Paul and innocent cheerleader Meg is on a date when they suddenly encounter the homeless man, desperate for their aid, along with resident rebel Brian who also helps. While in the hospital, Paul checks on the ailing man, only to see the blob devouring his first victim, getting bigger and bigger, eating anyone who comes towards it's path.....
The characters are just awesome in this film. While the original had your stereotypical 1950's teenagers, the 80's version already have the characters fleshed out, we already know them well, and we already CARE about them. just enough time and care put into this movie.
Let's start with Brian Flagg and his luxurious hair played by sexy Kevin Dillion. Brain is your typical rebel without a cause, at first. You would never expect a character like this to be a hero, but the presence of Kevin Dillion, with his charming loveable rouge attitude makes you root for the character. And that's what I like about this movie, it's not just the character development that fleshes the characters out, it's the acting as well.
Speaking of good actors, Shawnee Smith is full of pure awesome along with the character Meg Penny who is incredibly badass. She starts off as your typical happy-go-lucky cheerleader but as the movie progresses, we can see that she is an intelligent, resourceful, strong-willed, and all around kickass girl.
It is SHE who defeats the blob. Yes guys, it's the cheerleader who saves the world and this was way before Buffy came along as a butt-kicking cheerleader. How awesome is that! This was the Post-Ripley era where more female characters in horror/action movies take charge and fight to the finish which was why I was so enthralled by Shawnee Smith's performance. She is definitely an underrated Scream Queen alongside Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis.
And lastly we have nice jock Paul played by the dreamy Donavan Leitch. He's nice, helpful, upstanding, mild-mannered and all around perfect boyfriend. It seem he might be the hero of the movie but I was in for a big shock when he went out in the most gruesome of ways. This is when it shifts to Brain as our main hero, who turns out to be very effective as a strong male lead.
Along with Meg, which they both make a very effective action couple.
So it leads me to this:
Who Would You Rather: Brian or Paul? Well, of course, I would Choose Brain, at least he doesn't get killed in the first 15 minutes and who could resist that gorgeous hair and that bad boy swag.
The one thing that brings much more to the story and how it keep things interesting, is that the blob isn't the only antagonist of the film. There is the leader of this science project group who intently cause the man-eating blob to land on earth just so he can get his greedy hands on his next experiment, quarantining the whole town and putting them in danger. Then there's the town priest who has turned crazy from the experience and has kept a little piece of the blob, still forming in a jar at the end of the movie. As in the 1958 version, the blob came out of nowhere, with no sense of how and why it crashed on earth.
The special effects, which were inspired by The Thing, another 80's remake from 1950's monster movie, are NASTY. There are so many ideas and creative choices done with the blob monster and how it devours it's victims is probably some of the most goriest things I've seen a movie. Where as the deaths were off screen in the original, you get to see the deaths in plain view in the remake. The filmmakers even takes the risk of killing off a child onscreen, which was totally unexpected, giving the 'anybody could die' motif, which always works in horror films in my opinion.
And yes there were moments that were actually suspenseful and where I was truly scared for the characters. As for the original, it lacked any suspense and I just kept waiting, impatiently, for something to happen.
Chuck Russell surprised me again with his strong directing skills, putting in much effort with the special effects and more intense action scenes. To be honest, I think HE would've been the right choice to direct A Nightmare On Elm Street 4, but seeing that he put his passion into all of this, it's worthwhile.
The Verdict? Go for the remake. It's much more fast-paced, the characters are interesting, there is actual action and suspense and plus much better special effects. Enjoy this while you can.
My last word: Go watch the remake. Like right now!