|"Run for it?! Running's not a plan! Running's what you do, once a plan fails!"|
|Time: 96 mins.|
I don't know why I enjoy watching this movie so much. It has a horribly lame premise, somewhat bad special effects and a mediocre cast with the exception of Bacon and Ward yet every time it's on television I find myself drawn to watch it. Chock this up as one of my guilty pleasures. TREMORS is definitely a horror movie, but the creatures suffer more than the humans. Bacon and Ward play two of the hicks trapped in a desert community by the underground mutant moles and are wonderful at it. Val and Earl are like an old married couple, they fight all the time, but you know deep down they'd die for each other. This movie stays afloat on their talent alone. Bacon usually plays slick charmers, so this is quite an amusing departure. I had no idea he had such hick in him. He wears the cowboy hat and tight jeans very well. Amidst the screaming, running and bloodshed, there's actually a romantic subplot as well, between him and Finn Carter. It's a little silly to have them find love in the down time between battles for their lives, but believe me, she's not going to do better than him in this film.
Val and Earl are the town handyman looking to get out. Perfection, Nevada is anything but, and with a population close to extinction, they're looking for better and brighter opportunities. When strange things start happening, they are first on the road to get out while the getting's good, but they don't get very far. Something caused a cave-in over the only road out of town and has been destroying things bit by bit. Rhonda (Carter), a seismology student has been roaming the desert trying to figure out the patterns of these "tremors" that have been occurring more and more frequently just outside Perfection. What she soon discovers, much to her horror, is that the tremors are not being caused by tectonic activity, but strange, disgusting, overgrown, underground mole/worm like creatures, who seem intent on devouring what there is of this tiny town...and snacking on its inhabitants like delicious hors d'oeuvres.
Rhonda teams up with Val and Earl to try to come up with a plan to get everyone out of the town before it's too late. They manage to lower the odds with the help of the firepower of local NRA advocates Burt and Heather Gummer (Gross and McEntire) who have enough weaponry to start a small world war. However, these creatures are not going down without a fight and it will take brains as well as guns to enable them to escape. It isn't easy, mainly because the creatures use their sense of hearing to find their prey and burrow through the ground at fantastic speeds. The minute your foot touches solid ground you have second before becoming mince meat. Therefore, much of the film has our heroes stranded on giant boulders and ramshackle rooftops, which though off the ground don't offer as much protection as they hoped. No one really knows how this ugly bastards came to exist or why they're so pissed off, but it makes for an interesting story anyway.
Instead of the same old invinceble villains, lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce, TREMORS causes fear and anxiety by letting you know exactly where the creatures are and what they're capable of doing. This is not a scream fest, but a fight to outsmart a seemingly unstoppable horror, using nothing but wits and stamina. Bacon and Ward make great average action heroes. They are both physically capable and extremely dry witted. TREMORS is more of a dark comedy than a true horror movie, using the situations to create humor. You can't help but laugh at Michael Gross and Reba McEntire unloading their arsenal into the gaping, tooth-filled maw that crashes through the wall of their basement. You certainly care whether they survive, but it's funny to see the contrast of their perceived personalities against the barrage of bullets.
The thing that makes TREMORS more enjoyable than it has a right to be is that the film maker's don't take their story too seriously. This is all in good, sometimes gross, fun. There's just enough of a plot and character development to keep one quite interested and the action is a nail-bitter. The stunt work is great as well, especially the scenes shot in the high desert. The sequence where our heroes are trapped on the boulders and use long poles to vault from rock to rock in order to reach their truck is both exciting and beautiful to watch. More like an old-fashioned horror flick than the current no story/special effects laden garbage, TREMORS is both scary and fun. There's never any doubt who's going to survive, but how they do is immensely interesting and enjoyable. This film proves that a great cast, well-plotted story and decent effects can create a good film from marginal material. If you haven't seen TREMORS and are looking for a little scary fun, check it out. It's better than it has a right to be.