Thursday, January 27, 2011

#174. Tremors (1990)

DVD Synopsis: Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward star as two country handymen who lead a cast of zany characters to safety in this exciting sci-fi creature comedy.  Just as Val McKee (Bacon) and Earl Basset (Ward) decide to leave Perfection, Nevada, strange rumblings prevent their departure. With the help of a shapely seismology student (Finn Carter), they discover their desolate town is infested with gigantic man-eating creatures that live below the ground.  The race is on to overcome these slimy subterraneans and find a way to higher ground, in this enjoyable thriller co-starring Michael Gross and Reba McEntire.

Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) work as handymen for the residents of the small Nevada desert town of Perfection. Tired of picking up trash and cleaning out septic tanks, the two quit their jobs and set out for the big city, to seek their fame and fortune. 

But as Val himself will observe at one point, their decision to leave Perfection came one day too late: giant carnivorous worms, which live and move underground, have cut off all the exits, and are preparing to devour everyone in town. 

The population of Perfection, Nevada, is a mere 14 people; a small but diverse group of society rejects with absolutely nothing in common, yet who, together, somehow form the perfect monster-fighting team. 

Val and Earl maintain a great, often humorous rapport throughout the film, trying in vain to harness their limited brain power to concoct the perfect plan of action. They are assisted - from time to time - by Rhonda (Finn Carter), a geology intern who is clearly the smartest of the bunch (probably because she’s from out of town). Throw in an Asian shopkeeper named Walter (Victor Wong) and a teenage slacker (Bobby Jacoby), and you have a bevy of colorful characters. 

Yet none are quite as colorful as Burt and Heather, the survivalists whose drop from society landed them in the middle of a catastrophe. 

Played superbly by Michael Gross and Reba McIntire, this particular husband-and-wife team is armed to the teeth, and ready for whatever may come their way (in the film's best scene, Burt and Heather battle it out with a monstrous worm that has broken through the wall in their basement). More often than not, survivalist characters are used as comedy fodder; intense individuals who talk of the end of the world, yet are just as ill-prepared as everyone else when an actual threat arises. Not Burt and Heather. For them, the arrival of these underground creatures means war, and they have spent years training for just such an emergency. Sure, they’re a bit too gung-ho at times, but Val, Earl and the others are damn happy to have them on their side. 

As for the creatures...well, what can I say? They defy logic, and applying rational thought to their existence will bring the film’s credibility to its knees. Like the monster movies it pays homage to, Tremors demands that we suspend disbelief, and refrain from asking questions like "Where did these giant, burrowing, meat-eating worms come from?" "Are they the result of nuclear fallout?" " Did they fly in from Outer Space?" "Maybe they're prehistoric?" 

Val, Earl, and Rhonda try to figure it out at one point, only to agree that none of their theories makes a lick of sense. 

But then it really doesn’t matter, does it? 

The creatures - illogical though they may be - are there...and the residents of Perfection - unprepared though they may be - have no choice but to deal with them. 

So, when you sit down to watch Tremors, do yourself a favor and check reason at the door. If you can do that, you'll have yourself one hell of a good time!


Klaus said...

This is such a fun movie! I even like the sequels in the so-called "Attack Pack". While not cinema at its finest, some great B-movie action.

DVD Infatuation said...

@Klaus: Yes, 'fun' is the perfect word to describe TREMORS. Cinematically, it may leave a lot to be desired, but as escapist entertainment it's right up there!

And I haven't yet seen any of the sequels. I know Fred Ward and Michael Gross return for at least one of them, so I'll have to give them a chance somewhere down the line.

Klaus said...

I wouldn't make it a priority, but if your a fan of the original, they at least worth a look - and it helps to have lower expectations going in :)

DVD Infatuation said...

@Klaus: Yeah, that's kinda what I was thinking! :)

Unknown said...

One of my all-time guilty pleasures! I love it!