Tremors is a movie that will steal your heart. This is an authentic and vibrant horror-comedy doubling as a creature feature. It’s also one of the first movies featuring rednecks getting themselves in all kinds of weird situations. And for once they’re the good guys you cheer on as they’re trying to survive Graboid attacks. Yes, the creature in this movie is called Graboid and the name perfectly suits it. We will be following two lovable losers Val and Earl along with a couple of other inhabitants of the small town of Bixby.
So, you’ve got weird underground creatures, small-town vibes, and well-written characters all creating this lively and exciting atmosphere. I was blown away by just how smart Tremors is! It sets up scenes so cleverly and methodically, waiting for the payoff almost thirty minutes later that it’s no wonder it became a cult classic. It feels like a funnier version of The Thing set in the desert. They didn’t take themselves too seriously, making Tremors a lot of fun. Now, the effects are good old practical ones without any of that CGI crap. And most of the story will take place during the day, unlike so many other monster movies.
One of the main reasons why Tremors is so much fun is its cast. Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward had great chemistry showing us what true friendship feels like. Too bad they didn’t reunite them in the sequels. So, I guess now’s as good of a time as any to talk about the sequels. Believe it or not but this movie spawned no less than six fucking sequels! And I had to come back and update this review because they’ve just released Tremors: Shrieker Island. They’re not as bad as you think so if you’re hankering more Graboid action do check them out. At least all of them feature Michael Gross as Burt Gummer.
Now, you could say that the Graboids are just an Americanized version of Sandworms from Dune. However, you should also know that S.S. Wilson got the idea while he was working for the U.S. Navy in the California desert. He was resting on a rock and started to think what it would be like if something lurking underground prevented him from leaving the safety on that rock. And I’m sure you all remember that game of “floor is lava” from your childhood. So, I think that the concept is too universal to be simply stolen.
Furthermore, you could go even deeper with this one. Just as was the case with Jaws where you had this unseen and ominous threat. Philosopher Slavoj Zizek claims that the shark in Jaws represented the fear of nuclear war. Here, things are a bit different. The inhabitants of this small town want to work but there’s no workaround. They want to do something to keep up, to not be left behind by the ever-evolving society. They want to “go to the next town” well aware that their life is getting worse and that they’re already alone. However, they believe in themselves and are willing to fight. Just show us what.
Director: Ron Underwood
Writers: S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Ron Underwood
Cast: Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, Reba McEntire, Robert Jayne
Fun Stuff: Kevin Bacon thought that Tremors is going to be his career-killer. He didn’t like the movie but eventually he did come around by saying that this was “the single most fun time I’ve ever had making a movie in my entire career”. He lists it as his favorite movie now.