Tremors (1990)

Movie Title: Tremors

Year Released: 1990

Rated: PG-13

Runtime: 1h 36m

Genre: Comedy, Horror

Director: Ron Underwood

Writer: S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock

Starring: Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, Reba McEntire, Bobby Jacoby, Charlotte Stewart, Tony Genaro, Ariana Richards, Richard Marcus, Victor Wong, Sunshine Parker, Michael Dan Wagner, Conrad Bachmann, Bibi Besch,

Review: The small isolated town of Perfection, Nevada, discovers that a squirm of underground man-eating worms, aka Graboids, have put its residents on the menu. Now, these colorful characters must band together, very quietly, to kill these carnivorous creatures before it's too late. When things start shaking head for higher-ground because it might be the terror known as Tremors.

Tremors is one of the most enjoyable movies ever; and it's near perfection! Actually, who am I kidding, it's perfect! It's funny, scary, and entertaining as hell! I love this movie! It's without a doubt one of my favorites.

First off, it's a throwback to those classic monster movies from the 1950s, like Them! (1954), The Deadly Mantis (1957), and Godzilla (Gojira) (1954), just to name a few. So right there, you got me. I love those kind of movies!

Second, you have a small cast of characters trapped in an impossible situation that have to humorously banter and battle their way out to survive. I love those kinds of movie, too! It's funny because all of the characters, from the handy-man duo of Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) to survivalist Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) and Geology Grad Student Rhonda LeBeck (Finn Carter), you get a wide array of people that you learn about, like, and get invested in them as the story progresses. And Victor Wong is wonderful as Walter Chang, "Old Chang, slick as snot, and l ain't lying." Ward and Bacon are so good together that I wish they played these characters again and again. They seem like a couple of guys that you'd have a great time with whether you're drinking a few beers or battling underground worm-monsters. Ward is excellent as the older member of the pair trying desperately to offer some wisdom to Bacon's immature, impetuous Val. And Bacon as Val is so funny to watch as he tries to keep his cool under the most bizarre and terrifying of circumstances. He's got a classic hero swagger that almost gets overtaken by his knocking-knees. And Michael Gross, literally fresh off of Family Ties, as Burt Gummer is such an iconic adversary for these subterranean slime-bags that you instantly understand why he became the star of this franchise, currently with 7 movies in the franchise. He's hilarious in his overzealous, overprepared, paranoid state, and he gives these creatures a run for their money.

Next, you have the perfect script and direction by the trio S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, and Ron Underwood. The movie sets the characters, tone, and plot up flawlessly. We know what kind of movie we're getting right off the bat. Plus, there are a series of perfectly executed "setups and payoffs" throughout the runtime. I will not go into those because I don't to spoil the films genius; just watch it. You won't be disappointed. The story structure is also amazing! The tension builds and builds to a literal point where a death solidifies the threat and elevates the stakes for our reluctant heroes.

And then, there's the antagonists themselves - the Graboids. These are some of the most inventive creature creations in film history. You can really tell by their on-screen appearance just how well though out these monstrous people-munchers were. The tentacles, the nose, the body - all of it feels like a real animal that has never been seen before, but could possibly exist. And the effects team uses every trick in the book to bring these things to life. Full-scale, miniatures, force perspective, puppets - you name it, they did it! The Graboids look real, threatening, and could possibly smell horrendous if you caught a whiff.

Lastly, the score is fun and perfectly suits the unfolding events. I've gotta get that soundtrack! And the cinematography really gives you the feeling of being isolated in the desert and that the creatures are right underneath you ready to strike!

Oh, and how could I have forgotten about one of the greatest, most awesomest scenes in all of motion picture history - the scene where a Graboid breaks through a wall into Heather (Reba McEntire) and Burt Gummer's basement and they blast it to pieces with a wide variety of guns. It is so over-the-top, excellently executed, and fitting to the characters and the plot, that fans of the film can't help but watch it over and over again. It sets a standard for action and comedy that has yet to be matched. I think you'll agree.

Tremors is a great time whether you're in the mood to laugh, scream, or be entertained by one of the best movies ever made! It never gets old, is always funny, and it was one of those movies that my dad and I could watch again and again and talk about for hours. Plus, it's a great movie to help introduce younger movie-goers into the horror genre. It's not toooooooo scary, but just scary enough. Maybe 10-year-olds or older would enjoy it. Watch at your own risk!

As the tagline of the movies says, "They say there's nothing new under the sun. But under the ground..." is one of the greatest movies ever made... and it's called, Tremors.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: S.S. Wilson said that he got the idea for the film while he was working for the U.S. Navy in the California desert. While resting on a rock, he imagined what it might be like if something underground kept him from getting off the rock.


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