Yes, puny humans, the blob has returned and is more... I don't know, gelatinous than ever... or something. Yeah, it was hard enough to make a blob monster sound scary back in 1958, and I doubt it got that much easier in '88, but hey, this is a blob, so, what, were they gonna title this "The Bomb", or was that being saved until after the box office results came in? One might suggest that in order to make a more serious monster flick they may as well have scrapped the idea of remaking "The Blob" and just not done a film with some kind of a jell-o monster, but I don't know, this blob is pretty hardcore, because the filmmakers tried to make up for the silliness of this film's name with some seriously messed-up gore. Yeah, this is more like John Carpenter's "The Blob", but that still didn't get butts in seats, and it's not like they were going to sell this film with the name of Frank Darabont, years before "The Shawshank Redemption" (He's a co-writer at any rate, so who would have ever cared?), or, Lord forbid, the name of [u]Kevin[/u] Dillon. Matt, alone, was all but forgotten by the time the 21st century rolled in, and if you think that it was a while after this film before "Shawshank" came around, we were a long, long way off from "Entourage" in 1988, so, I'm sorry, Kevin, but you weren't going to "rescue" this film from box office tragedy. ...Okay, well, at least this film did better than "The Rescue"... by, like, less than $2.5 million, which should tell you just how much the box office numbers of this thing were. Oh well, at least it wasn't a critical disaster, which is almost shocking, because, yeah, this film is almost as messy as the titular blob, or at least the blob's victims, though that isn't to say that there aren't some commendable beats.
Outside of the effects, of course, there's not a whole lot to this film's technical value, though there some impressive bits to, say, Mark Irwin's cinematography, whose stylish camera plays often do a decent job of drawing you into the environment, though not with as much effectiveness as Michael Hoenig's score, which is watered down and formulaic in a lot of areas, but generally with a fairly effective atmosphere the helps in selling some of the tension of this film. There is some commendable style here, but again, it's the effects that most stand out in this film, perhaps as the final product's all around best aspect, being adequately convincing and creative, especially when it comes to the gore effects, for although much of the extreme and disturbing violence portrayed in this film is often too hollow to not feel unnervingly gratuitous, on the whole, the unapologetic and morbidly nifty attention to harsh, effects-enhanced imagery reinforces a sense of consequence, established by undeniable highlights in storytelling. Chuck Russell's direction is sloppy, or at least too under-inspired to obscure the many, many, many missteps in writing, but when the atmosphere is neither limp or cloying, it's kind of effective, as Russell plays up anything from the aforementioned disturbing imagery to a chilling atmosphere, until he ultimately crafts some tension. I hate to call this film more effective than its original, even though I'm not particularly animalistic about the original, but this film is more active in its attempts to get under your skin, and when its bite hits its mark, it sinks deep, so yeah, this film really is scarier than its source material, and heights in such tension give you a particularly clear glimpse into potential. By no means is this film as unique as the original 1958 fluff piece, but its pretty loose interpretation of that film's subject matter is, on its own level, refreshing, and even more consequential, with more emphasis on conflict and momentum, and therefore more potential... to squander. I suppose you could say that this film's particular story concept is stronger than the original's, and I hate saying that, because the execution of this story concept is just so mishandled, and its not like this subject matter was ever to be all that juicy, but I have to give credit where credit is due, and if this film was more frequent with its effectiveness, then it would have perhaps been secured as genuinely decent. Alas, the film collapses, and quite decidedly, having plenty of worthy attributes, but not enough for the flaws to weaken much of the integrity of the final product, which can't even keep its pacing under control.
I suppose pacing is generally brisk, maybe even kind of entertaining, if you want to call this misfire entertaining to some extent, but all too often, this film is surprisingly kind of dull, with a limp, under-inspired atmosphere and draggy material that, after a while, begin to wear the film down as bland and distancing, and let me tell you, characterization doesn't exactly make things that much more engaging. I suppose there a few reasonably memorable supporting players in this game, but on the whole, characterization is kind of weak, - with most supporting characters being barely likable, while most primary roles prove to be barely interesting - and the performances don't really make anything better, because even though the acting isn't really that bad here, much of it is kind of under-inspired, doing nothing to flesh out limited acting material behind improvably drawn roles. Even on a character level, the film falls flat, and seeing as how this film's story is uninteresting enough without it being entirely about watching some blobby force of evil crawl around and make weird noises, much of the narrative is driven by its bland characters, who would perhaps be more compelling if they weren't so reflective of this film's genericism. As if it's not enough that this film drags you along with only so much to attach to, it doesn't even give the courtesy of unpredictability, because even though I'm not asking that this film be all that unique, the characters and story are too familiar, and as surely as these familiar characters reflect conventionalism within this story concept, the conventionalism within this story concept reflects some serious laziness to other elements in storytelling. Throughout this article, I've been tossing about the somewhat uncreative term "under-inspired", but it's about as good a way to describe this film as any, as director Chuck Russell establishes only so much style, yet still plays up style over substance a touch too much, to where much of the gore gets to be more disconcertingly gratuitous than consequential and, in a seriously morbid way, cool, and may very well be, well, kind of dumb. Really, what blands the film up about as much anything is its being kind of lame-brain, with cheesy dialogue and questionable plotting that leave the film to somehow come off as both lazy and overblown, as though it wants to be more than what it is, and ends up trying too hard for you to ignore the attributes that are anything but worthy of a promising story concept. Of course, that's not to say that all that it takes much to draw your attention in on the many, many problems with this trite, lazy and all around thoroughly uncompelling "thriller", because as promising and effective as this film is in a lot of ways, more often than not, it falls almost spectacularly flat under the weight of flaws which range from subtle to extreme, yet either way stand as consistent, challenging your investment until it just cannot be supported, resulting in the final product's downfall into mediocrity.
In conclusion, there are some nifty moments to style, and plenty of nifty moments to the effects, particularly when they're really played up with morbidly impressive gore effects that join highlights in atmospheric storytelling in establishing effective moments that reflect potential for a decent film that would have been achieved if it wasn't for the blandly uneven pacing, fall-flat characterization, underwhelming acting, overwhelming genericism and lazy, if not dumb storytelling that make Chuck Russell's "The Blob" a misguided misfire that squanders potential under the pressure of mediocrity.
2.25/5 - Mediocre