Saturday, October 29, 2016

Movie Review: "Tremors" (1990)

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Director: Ron Underwood
Year: 1990
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes

The small town of Perfection, Nevada is attacked by a group of carnivorous subterranean giant worm-like creatures.

"Tremors" is the feature film directorial debut of Ron Underwood, who would go on to direct hit films like "City Slickers" and celluloid dumpster fires like "The Adventures of Pluto Nash." This horror action comedy stars Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward as Valentine and Earl, a pair of handymen working in the small town of Perfection, Nevada. They are growing a little tired of doing odd jobs for chump change in their small community and are getting ready to leave town to head to Bixby, where they can start a legitimate business with greater opportunity. Meanwhile, a graduate student named Rhonda, played by Finn Carter, notices some odd earthquake activity picking up random, frequent tremors on her seismograph. While Val and Earl drive to Bixby, they start running into obstacles that seem to stop them until they learn first hand what exactly is causing these obstacles and the unexplained tremors. It turns out, giant worm like creatures, eventually dubbed 'graboids,' are burrowing through the earth, bursting up from under the ground to catch their prey. The film never really explains where these hellish ground-beasts come from because as the movie states "It doesn't matter where they come from!"

The first thing we noticed about "Tremors" is the well made, cool looking monsters, of course. The design of the graboids is simply awesome. They are practically built creatures that use special effects to make them come alive, and boy do they come alive. They have wide three-piece jaws that open large enough to swallow a whole person, and a trio of tongues that are like eels slithering out of their mouths. These things are both grotesque and imposing. It would appear that the tongue movement is achieved through puppetry and maybe even with some stop-motion animation, and we really appreciate the time and effort it clearly took to make these beasts come to life. Director Ron Underwood is able to create palpable and exciting tension as these creatures sense vibrations in the ground, forcing the characters to stand still and be quiet because even the slightest noise or movement will give away their location. The geography of their isolated town also adds to the peril since everyone is trapped in the middle of the desert surrounded by mountains with no contact to outside civilization.

"Tremors" is a whole lot of fun. It has its fair share of splatter-fest gore and a lot of laughs to go along with it. Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward make up a really dynamic team and have excellent, quippy banter. It might be cheesy at points, but who cares? At least the special effects are awesome!

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were being scared by: "Tourist Trap"

Two years ago, we were being scared by: "Hatchet for the Honeymoon"

Three years ago, we were being scared by: "Martin"

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