Tremors II: Aftershocks (1996)

Movie Title: Tremors II: Aftershocks

Year Released: 1996

Rated: PG-13

Runtime: 1h 40m

Genre: Action, Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Western

Director: S.S. Wilson

Writer: Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson

Starring: Fred Ward, Chris Gartin, Helen Shaver, Michael Gross, Marcelo Tubert, Marco Hernandez, José Ramón Rosario, Thomas Rosales Jr.,

Review: When Graboids pop-up around a Mexican oil refinery, Earl Bassett (Fred Ward) is hired to eliminate the threat with his usual charm and reluctance. Knowing that he cannot face the monsters alone, Earl partners-up with an over-enthusiastic fan, Grady Hoover (Christopher Gartin), and gun-totting survivalist Burt Gummer (Michael Gross). However, the trio must change their tactics quickly when the Graboids evolve into creatures that can cause chaos and carnage above the ground. Our surviving heroes from Tremors (1990) find themselves on shaky ground in the very entertaining sequel Tremors II: Aftershocks.

A good sequel is a tough nut to crack. There are few that equal or transcend the original, but Tremors II: Aftershocks comes fairly close to equaling its predecessor, which is quite an accomplishment since Tremors (1990) is a perfect movie!

It has the humor, the quirky characters, the impressive special effects, and builds upon the mythos of the first film without just repeating what came before - plus, it's creative and very clever!

The only two criticisms I have are that you really miss the chemistry between Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) from the first film. Christopher Gartin's Grady Hoover is no Val, but he's not supposed to be. He is Earl's superfan that becomes his Graboid hunting partner, but he's inexperienced, goofy, and a little annoying at times - which really works to distinguish him from Bacon's Val. Earl just kind of puts up with him while attempting to mentor him as they exterminate these monsters. The other thing that is missing is the tension and danger that our protagonist are thrust into when then creatures go looking for lunch. Only minor characters are even gobbled up and you don't really feel much for them like those that found themselves on the menu in the original.

And when it comes to returning characters Earl and Burt, both Fred Ward and Michael Gross came to play. They have their characters down and are equally as battle-scarred and bewildered when they face a new type of terror as the movie goes on. And Helen Shaver is a great edition to the cast as a love interest for Earl and a whip-smart scientist that helps these hapless hunters try to figure out how to survive this hungry horde of heat-seeking hellions. What the H!

What's fun is the fact that Earl, Grady, and Burt, are so efficient at eliminating the Graboids that they almost become bored and unphased by these lethal leviathans. But when things get shaken up by a unforeseen evolution of the creatures our heroes to have to completely rethink everything that they've learned about them. And once again the humans become the prey for these prehistoric predators.

As I re-watched Tremors II: Aftershocks I just kept smiling and laughing at every creative turn the movie takes to keep you engaged and entertained, just like the first one did. Even though this sequel is not as highly regarded as the original I say they make for a terrific double feature. They compliment each other so well that I believe fans of the franchise and even newbies would agree.

So with gruesome creature effects, some laugh-out-loud lines of dialogue, quirky characters, and fun to be had above and below ground, Tremors II: Aftershocks is a rock-solid sequel that will really grab you!

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: The sound of the shriekers was created by mashing together the vocalization of a whale with a crying baby.


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