Friday, 28 April 2017

Review: The Blob (1988)

Stars: Kevin Dillon, Shawnee Smith

Budget: $19 Million

Directed By: Chuck Russell

Aaah remakes sometimes they get it right (rarely) other times it's a total miss (most times) this at least to me is a very near case of right!

This remake takes everything of the original film and increases it ten fold. well maybe not everything some acting here is very two dimensional but aside from that its a ramp up in nearly every area. No surprise this was an early writing effort of Frank Darabont too.

The horror/gore are the most increased facets of this remake and in making those more graphic the effects have been upgraded exponentially too.
This may well of been one of the films downfalls ultimately as for it's budget it was quite high for a film of it's time.
Not a guaranteed box office smash took a massive gamble with the money pumped into this remake. Unfortunately it did not make it back and only found fame on VHS.
Only making $8.2 million back certified this film as a flop in a cinematic sense however.

There are minor changes to the story line to bring it up to date and be more relevant to the time it was released. Distrust of governments and echoes of war and weapons of mass destruction scaring people.

Starting off almost exactly the same as the 1958 version of the film a seeming meteorite crashes into the woods of California. A homeless man discovers the crashed sphere and pokes it with a stick, the giant amoeba like creature inside leaps up the stick and starts devouring the old mans hand.
Brian (played by Dillon), Meg (Shawnee) and Paul find the unfortunate man and take him to the hospital. This is where the aforementioned horror, effects and gore really ramp up, Brian leaves Meg and Paul at the hospital where Paul finds the blob has dissolved half of the old man.
Creeping along the ceiling the blob then drops on an unsuspecting Paul. The creature quickly starts to dissolve the poor boy right in front of Meg, squealing for her help Meg grabs his arm and pulls, pulls it right off! Meg collapses unconscious after bumping her head.

The police don't take to kindly to Brian aparantly but him and Meg team up, they both make it to a diner where Meg explains to Brian about the blob. Skeptical Brian doesn't believe her until George the diners handyman in pulled face first into the sinks drain. It then comes for them and in a scene hearkening to the original they make it to the diners walk in freezer.
Which again echoing the 1958 version seemingly causes the blob intense pain, it retreats only to Kill the diners owner Fran while inside a telephone box (we also see the sheriff has been devoured too here) Meg and Brian escape the freezer and leave.

The crazy old reverend witnesses some of this scene and goes to the diner, there he finds some crystallized pieces of the blob and puts them in a small kilner jar. After visiting the police station they are told Deputy Briggs is up where the meteor originally crashed.
Reaching there they discover a full on military outfit excavating the meteor led by head scientist Dr Meddow's. When the town is quarantined Brian manages to escape a truck he's trapped in and retrieve his motorbike

Meg on the other hand has been taken into town where she discovers her kid brother and his friend have vanished. They have however sneaked into the towns cinema where the blob is attacking and devouring people, Meg makes it back to see her brother fleeing from said cinema. She escapes with them both.

Brian manages to eavesdrop on Meddow's and, here's the cold war etc references in that the blob was a man made weapon deemed to powerful to use and was sent into outer space. He is discovered but manages to evade capture by head into the sewers on his bike.
Also in the sewers are Meg, her brother and his friend Eddie who is also devoured by the blob quite horrifically (yes kid death in this movie too). Her brother escapes through some grating and Meg is found by some soldiers who try to protect her. When they die Brian shows up and drives through the sewers on his bike with the blob in hot pursuit.
Brian and Meg make it out and blame it all on Meddow's, who in turn tries to blame it on Brian saying he's gone mad with infection from the blob. When people don't believe him he goes to shoot Brian only to be dragged to his death into the sewers by a blob tendril. When the army tries to shoot and blow up the blob in an attempt to kill it the blob gets really angry and starts attacking anyone who gets in it's way.

The reverend comes out preaching the end of the world just as the army tries to use flamethrowers against the blob and he gets caught in the crossfire. Meg manages to save him and in a process that echoes the original again she twigs that the cold hurts the blob when it recoils from an extinguisher.

The towns survivors barricade themselves inside town hall and use extinguishers to stop the blob attacking. Despite this the blob still kills the deputy and starts to engulf the building.
Brian escapes and manages to get to a snow making machine, he makes it back just in time to rescue Meg and a few others shooting cold snow over the creature. Angered it knocks the truck over and goes to kill Brian. Now i wouldn't as usually spoil a films ending as you know but just as in the original as here in the remake I will make an exception.
Meg manages to get the blobs attention and lead it back to the truck where she has placed a stolen bomb pack onto the nitrogen canisters. Sure as anything it explodes and manages to flash freeze the blob into thousands of tiny crystalline rocks. They then store this in the towns ice house, unlike the original where the blob was dropped off in the arctic.

The however doesn't end there, no we are treated to an extra scene where the reverend is scarred and preaching the end of the world. Low and behold it is revealed that the small pieces of the blob in the jar are now one small organism alive and well inside!

Now to me this version improves and expands upon the ideas of the original film in many ways and decently too. This doesn't warrant however the mass gore it also calls upon, this was again one of those films i watched as a youngster 8 or so and found unable to finish and came back to later on in life 12 or 13 to re-watch. Now some of the acting is a bit iffy but all the cold war and paranoia at your government lines are very relevant to it's time. this version however loses some of the tension of the original in using big effects shocks to scare you rather than clever little effects.
So with those downsides and plus sides i give blob the 1988 remake an equal score but for very different reasons to it's predecessor a 3 out of 5 with a recommendation to watch.

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