The premise for Tremors is a simple one, yet it is no less effective in delivering some quality, edge-of-your-seat thrills. Giant underground creatures terrorize a small, isolated town. Residents attempt to defend themselves as they are killed one by one by the terrifying predator. It is an amazing movie that balances tension with scenes of gore and violence. The characters all react to the threat in various ways, but each feels real and sincere, making the tension palpable across the screen.
Yes Folks, That’s Kevin Bacon
As for characters, well, we have the benefit of seeing young Kevin Bacon as Val McKee, the partner of handy man Earl Bassett (Fred Ward). The two have led a pretty safe, boring life in the town of Perfection, Nevada. Just when they make up their minds to leave, they get news of a mysterious killing spree and meet Rhonda LeBeck (Finn Carter), a seismologist concerned about unnatural readings which seem to be related to the deaths. With the assistance of Burt and Heather Gummer (Michael Gross, Reba McEntire), the team prepares to fight against the man-eating monsters to survive.
The Best Friend of Horror: Isolation
Being in the middle of nowhere has its downfalls. As the group is cut off from civilization, they are hard-pressed to figure out just how to cross the desert without getting killed by the worm-like predators. Unfortunately for them, the creatures are not only fast, but smart as well. Needless to say, they get chased around a bit and fans are treated to some classic, intentionally comic, special effects.
Not Your Typical B-Movie
The acting is superb. As excellent as can be expected when faced with out-of-this-world circumstances. The hungry, prehistoric menaces lean more towards silly, perhaps purposely so. As sci-fi villains, they are convincing at recreating those fun B-movie creatures. If you're scared of insects that are big enough to swallow cars, even houses, then you will be genuinely terrified by the ones found in Tremors. However, if you're looking for something realistic or acceptable in a modern-day sense, then the animatronics are unlikely to make the cut. Think Universal Studios-quality props. They're cool but not enough to keep you immersed in the experience.
While the creatures are not as camera-shy as, say, Jaws, you don't always need to see them up close to feel the tension. As their name suggests, they manifest in tell tale vibrations. Once the characters react, you just know that the voracious beasts are closing in at top speed and something, or someone, is going to end up as lunch. Why would they do it, you ask? Well, that same question was asked in the film and was never answered. The film is deliberately trying to be funny and it does get old somewhere along the way. It doesn't spoil the whole experience but we were left wishing that they could have lightened up on the cheap laughs and added some more surprising twists to the script.
Don't worry, it's not quite in B-movie territory. The film does capitalize on its humor but still manages to showcase some good ol' directing tricks. The latter makes for classy special effects that were impressive for the film's time of release. In terms of being a film in the genre, well, we can assure you that the shock value is kept consistently high throughout its 96-minute runtime. The pacing is smooth, letting Ron Underwood's skill shine brightly through.
One of the Best Old School Monster Movies
If you're a fan of the genre, are into classic movies or are simply after something enjoyable to relax to, there's no reason to pass up on this classic gem. You might be thinking why we would say that Tremors is a film to relax to, but while it doesn't lack in terms of edge-of-your-seat moments, its humor is sure to please. The pacing is relaxed and the acting is masterful. On the other hand, the puppetry is grossly, yet understandably, outdated. Those who are looking for a serious take on monster movies of old may be in for a disappointment as humor, intended or otherwise, is peppered throughout the whole movie.
All things considered, Tremors is more of a hit than a miss. It is undoubtedly an affectionate tribute to giant monster flicks of the past and it has and will stand the test of time for genre fans old and new.