Tremors is the greatest monster movie of the 1990’s as it works on so many levels. Firstly, the monsters are ugly, viscous and straight out of the 1950’s sci-fi’s. Secondly, the leads, Valentine (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) are likeable and funny as the small town handymen. Thirdly, the supporting cast, especially Sarah Palin-esque couple, Burt and Heather Gummer (Michael Gross – of Family Ties fame and Reba McIntyre – Country and Western Singer) are eclectic and strong. And fourthly the pace and script are tight and sharp.
The story revolves around the residents of a small Nevada town fighting off and attempting to escape from an outbreak of huge, hungry subterranean creatures that hunt their prey by sound. Some might argue that this is a spin on Jaws with the threat of water being replaced by sand. Anyone standing on sand is going to be dinner. Yet Tremors is fun and always good spirited even after watching someone’s mum or daddy getting munched.
With the first half of the story going for setup and scares, the second half reveals the monsters in their full latex glory and the pace never lets up. There are an assortment of great set-pieces, including Burt and Heather setting upon an unfortunate ‘Grabber’ in their gun basement (‘YOU JUST BROKE INTO THE WRONG WRECK-ROOM, YOU BA*ST*RD!!!!’), a pole vault escape and a final confrontation between man and monster.
Tremors is a huge crowd pleaser and always has a trick up it’s sleeve to keep things interesting. The sequels work on the same fun principle but are not just a successful due to budget constraints. Part 5 is released in 2011 and rumour has it that it will welcome back Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward. I’m looking forward to it already.