Residents of an isolated Nevada town defend themselves against
strange underground creatures that are killing them one by one.
Directed by Ron Underwood
Written by S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock
Starring Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Michael Gross,
Finn Carter, Reba McEntire, Victor Wong
Tremors is a great deal of fun. It's a creature feature that doesn't take itself too seriously, and you can tell the cast is having a great time making it. It's the closest thing to a land version of Jaws that we'll ever get, and with a lot more comedy to make things even more enjoyable. Somehow, this box office bomb turned cult favorite spawned a franchise that is seven films and two failed TV shows strong, and likely still going. By the third film, Michael Gross's doomsday prepper turned Graboid slayer Burt Gummer had become the franchise's face, but in the beginning it was the unlikely dynamic duo of Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward.
In the town of Perfection, Nevada (a town that seems to be home to about twelve people), local handyman Val (Bacon) and Earl (Ward) decide they've had enough of shit detail. On the day they decide to bounce, the only road out is blocked by a rockslide that they later learn was caused by a quartet of giant man-eating worm creatures they dub Graboids. Together, the town of Perfection must figure out a way to kill these monsters and escape to the mountains before the Graboids get them first. The film straddles the line between horror and comedy very well, Burt (Gross) and his wife Heather (McEntire) stealing the show as the town's overly paranoid doomsday preppers who end up being incredibly prepared to take on a gang of worm monsters.
My only gripe with Tremors is that I wish it had been rated R. It was clearly made with an R-rating in mind, but got stripped down in the editing room to appeal to a wider audience. Why else would you have a word like "motherhumper" in your movie? Regardless, the film somehow works and still holds up as a fun horror comedy/adventure flick.
Here we are with a film which really defines my childhood. See, this is a special film for me. One which I had just happened to catch on TV one day as a kid in the late 90s. Specifically, found it on the SyFy Channel (known then as the Sci-Fi Channel). As I witnessed the plight of a small town in Nevada and its inhabitants deal with a creature which hunts for sound underground, I was enthralled. I fell in love with the characters, the monsters, the horror, and the comedy. Since then, I have seen every single one of the sequels which have come out since and even the short-lived TV series spin-off. This is a film which truly defines what I love about the horror genre and is just an all-around fun time.
To this day, Tremors has some of the most truly fun characters to watch on screen. Off the bat, you got the great chemistry in our leads, Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward. Both are great to watch on their own, but they really light up when they’re playing off each other. Michael Gross also shines as survival expert and conspiracy theorist, Burt Gummer. A role which he would reprise for all the subsequent sequels and show. The rest of the cast is just as fun to watch, but these are the three biggest highlights. On the monster front, the Graboids are some of horror’s most underappreciated creations. They look terrifying thanks to the practical effects and prove to be a pretty formidable foe due to their intelligence. With them also comes the gore. This may be a PG-13 affair, but what we do get is pretty awesomely gruesome. Finally, this is just a fun film. It does an amazing job of mixing its humor and horror into something which anyone can enjoy.
I love this movie. The cast is great, especially the chemistry between our two leads. The monsters are awesome and lend to many of the scarier scenes. And, above all, they just nail the mixture of horror and comedy. This is a film which holds a very special place in my heart, and I never get tired of watching it. So, if you are looking for one of those gateway horror films the whole family can enjoy, you can’t go wrong with a visit in Perfection, Nevada.
The first time I saw this was on my weekly ritual trips to the video store with my Mom. Friday nights meant a trip to rent two or three flicks for the weekend. I always made a beeline to the horror section and grazed over the covers to find my latest selection. Anyone old enough to remember this experience knows how agonizing the choice could be. It was always a crapshoot and that's how I ended up convincing my Mom to rent this for me.
Val and Earl (Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward respectively) are the local handymen for the denizens of Perfection, Nevada who decided to leave for a better life a day too late. This is has become a classic for me in the pantheon of monster movies and spawned more sequels than it should have. There is a cast of surprisingly popular actors like Michael Gross and country singer Reba McEntire as gun-loving couple Burt and Heather Gummer. Gross in fact is the only actor to have featured in all six films in the franchise. I remembered him as the dad in Family Ties because I'm old and saw him there first.
This is a great gateway horror flick as it's not overly gory, more gross, and the most graphic violence happens to the monsters instead of the people. That's not to say they are spared but more of the grizzly stuff happens offscreen. I watched a lot of horror movies with my Mom and I treasure moments like this because I get to do the same with my kids. All six movies are currently on Netflix so why not get comfy with your couch for the weekend and hang with some graboids.