Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tremors (1990)

Tremors (1990)

Aah, Tremors... it's a classic, and let no one tell you any different! It's a lean, mean, creature horror comedy with zero pretensions about its subject matter. It has all the trappings of the genre - a small bunch of isolated, disparate, and distinctive caricatures fighting off an assault from mysterious giant deadly worms (that have a lot in common with the worms from Dune) in the middle of a small desert town. There's the two wisecracking physically fit manual labourer buddies (who hilariously enough pick this fateful day to try and leave town, only to be thwarted when the shit hits the fan!), the cute scientist / potential love interest, the annoying kid, the gun nut couple, the two ethnic minority guys, and a few other scared 'background noise' people. Kevin Bacon is the only real big name in this surprisingly effective cast; they're all consistent with the horror comedy tone and they all really connect as a group, while each is also memorable in his or her own right. Basically, the winning combination that only the most memorable films of this nature possess.

The story in these sorts of films is hardly ever worth talking about - monsters show up, humans try to survive - but the locale and the situations in 'Tremors' feel quite unique and it is refreshing (an 18 year old film, refreshing!) to not have lame pseudo science thrown in to explain what's going on. In fact, the way the townsfolk rationalize what's going on (and the way the scientist always seems bemused when they look to her for an explanation for the creatures despite her field being seismology) is actually more believable than in most 'serious' horror films! The townsfolk figure out how the creatures behave and try to use their surroundings and the resources at hand to survive and take some of the creatures out in the process. There are some very memorable signature moments in this film, from the car being sucked into the ground to the lads being chased and forced to dive over a culvert, to everyone in town being stuck on their roofs, right through to the little buggy being sent through the middle of the town as a diversion. And then of course there's the hilarious denouement with the tractor and the home made explosives that is just hilarious.

The effects are quite cheap and cheasy and in all honesty there are no genuine scares, but the adventure is engaging and entertaining throughout. The action scenes are well constructed and despite the prevalence of humour still manage to be quite thrilling. And at 96 minutes this thing just flies by with nary a wasted moment. If you're fan of the genre... well, you've probably already seen it. If not, you owe it to yourself to do so. If you're not a fan, I can still heartily recommend this, because I think a lot of people will be pleasantly surprised by how much fun it is!

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