This update of a beloved sci-fi favorite does a solid job of reworking its source material for a modern audience. The smart script, co-penned by director Chuck Russell with Frank Darabont, packs in plenty of popcorn movie thrills, but also makes room for an empowered heroine who is just as tough as its hero and works in a modern sense of paranoia with a clever government-oriented subplot. The Blob also keeps viewers on their toes by unpredictably killing off some of its most audience-friendly characters to ratchet up the suspense. Russell's direction delivers the thrills in a mean, lean style and his work is further aided by a likable cast: Kevin Dillon does the teen-rebel schtick to precision, Shawnee Smith's subtle transition from cheerleader to Blob fighter is believable, and reliable character thesps like Candy Clark and Jeffrey DeMunn deliver nuanced performances that flesh out the film's small-town setting nicely. Most importantly for a monster movie, The Blob's appeal is cemented by imaginative special effects: Lyle Conway's inventive creature effects give the title attraction a new, threatening sense of mobility unimaginable in the original version, and Tony Gardner's unsettling makeup effects add just the right modern touch to the mix. All in all, The Blob's well-judged blend of modern smarts and old-fashioned monster movie thrills makes it a worthwhile pick for genre fans.