Tremors (1990) Review

Tremors is the type of film that I think people would look at the trailer and go nah, but if you watch the film then it will grow on you fast with its humour, fun and qwerky characters. This is another film that contains a group of people trapped in a place away from society and something is going to get them, you just can’t beat that setting for a monster film. The film is massively into honouring the low budget 1950’s monster films and any film that does this gets me as a fan. The story is smooth and plays out so organically compared to most monster flicks, and the monsters themselves are really unique in the way they look and even the way they kill. You don’t get many unique monsters anymore which I think is really sad, however you do get a few though and I always like to use this film to compare how original they really are. The characters in the film might be my favourite part, after all I am a believer in connecting with the characters you are watching on film, and it’s hard to beat that first scene in which you get to know the two main characters. Val: “You will have… long blonde hair, big green eyes, world class breasts, ass that won’t quit, and legs… that go ALL THE WAY UP!”

Tremors is actually two movies in one. On its own terms, it’s an enjoyable modern sci-fi horror-thriller, with good pacing and a sense of humor; but it’s also a loving tribute to such 1950s low-budget desert-based sci-fi-horror films like Them!, It Came From Outer Space, Tarantula, and The Monolith Monsters. Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward are the stars, a pair of small-town handymen living in a small desert community, who stumble upon several difficult-to-explain phenomena, including a couple of people who’ve died under extremely strange (and, in one instance, very grisly) circumstances. Eventually, they and a handful of their neighbors find the cause: gigantic prehistoric worm-like creatures that streak under the desert the way fish swim through oceans, reaching up and grabbing anything they need for food. Cut off from the outside world, they have to figure out how to get across the desert alive while these creatures — that are smart as well as fast — close in on them, stalking them like monster sharks. The film benefits from the presence of special effects that are good enough to pull this all off, keeping the shock value high, and also from a subtly humorous script and performances to match by the entire cast, and director Ron Underwood’s breezy pacing of the whole picture.

Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended.

Story: 85%       Acting: 85%      Visuals: 90%      Dialogue: 95%

Scares/Thrill/Fun: 100%      Style/Sound: 100%      Characters: 95%

Total: 92%

To start off let’s talk about the acting. I really liked the acting it was surprisingly good and easily one of my favourite Kevin Bacon films (Hollow man, First Class). The entire cast did a great job though in this film with Fred Ward as Earl and Michael Gross as Burt (Guy with the guns) “Broke into the wrong god damn reckroom didn’t ya!” All of the characters built into this film get their own time and you get to know them, you don’t normally get this level of unique characters that are so well rounded in a B movie. My favourite of the cast would have to be Kevin Bacons Valentine character because of the sheer amount of lines that seem to be perfect for every scene, e.g. “We decided to leave town just one damn day too late!” The part that really got me hooked was the first five minutes where you get to know Earl and Val, “Stampede!”

Now onto the story, I liked the basic layout of the story because it’s real simple, Small town in the middle of nowhere people trapped and they can’t even trust the ground they stand on. This basic story sets up isolation from help and requires the town’s people to work together as a community to save the town from the Graboids. If you can’t trust the ground beneath your feet where is safe? Something I didn’t expect from this was a love story that was not only pretty good but also worked with the main story and didn’t get shoved in our face. The music in this film is very good as well as it can go from fun wild west to horror scene, it at times did sound like Jurassic Park this happened normally when setting the tone for example the time they found the dead construction workers and the music was shocking/thrilling.

So let’s talk about something more fun like the visuals. The Visual Effects in this film were really good and because it was a low budget film and there weren’t many CGI soaked smaller films the Graboids had to be made and controlled via puppetry which looked pretty good and was choreographed really well. My favourite scene using these visuals would have to be when the Graboid breaks into Burt’s reckroom and they shoot at it with all the guns on the wall. I love that scene where they find the car buried in the ground and they freak out; it’s the question of what could have buried a whole car in the ground. Not who designed the Graboids but they are a fascinating creation and will be posting a funny video at the end of the review. The camera angles in this film are really good as well, specifically the point of view from the Graboids as they hunt, it doesn’t really make sense because they are subterranean but I still like seeing through the hunters eyes. You know what I found funny watching this film, whenever they said about the Graboids smell I actually imagine what that smell is like even though they never specifically describe it, I only noticed I made up this idea of a smell after a couple of views of the film. I think this proves the impact the film can have when viewing (or I am just weird).

Must Watch Trailer:

The best reviews I have found would be these “I think there should be a lot more movies like Tremors out there, and no I don’t mean more sequels.” Scott Weinberg. I’d love to see more films like this, I saw Grabbers recently and found that to be something similar, but I don’t need to see a fifth tremors film (I would still watch it though). Also “A flawless B-movie about giant, underground worm creatures” Jon Niccum. It’s a hard story to sell but I couldn’t wait to throw my money at them, so well done to them. Lastly “The pinnacle of recent B-monster movies. It’s what Eight Legged Freaks wants to grow up to be.“ Widgett Walls. I did enjoy Eight Legged Freaks but it was a little more on the comedy side than Tremors and suffers a little from the lack of fear. My favourite scene would have to be when they go to remove the hat from the ground because I was so expecting that there would be a head under it that I started to think it was too obvious and that it wouldn’t be there. So when they did have the head there it actually shocked me a bit.

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About Tim The Film Guy

Very opinionated about films!

52 responses to “Tremors (1990) Review”

  1. That Moment In says :

    Epic post. We have the same taste. Thanks for visiting my site!


  2. ruth says :

    I like a lot of 90s sci-fis but for some reason missed this one. Might give it a shot since everyone seems to love it so much! Speaking of 90s, I invite you to cast your vote for one of 90s biggest action heroes 😀


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