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TREMORS, 1990
Movie Review

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Tremors,   MOVIE POSTERTREMORS, 1990
Movie Reviews

Directed by Ron Underwood

Starring Kevin Bacon, Michael Gross, Fred Ward, Reba McEntire
Review by Scott OíGrady


SYNOPSIS:

The Residents of the very secluded Perfection, Nevada are fighting for their lives as unexplained giant underground monsters picked them for their weekend picnic.

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REVIEW:

I think it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that the 1990s were not kind to the horror genre. Considered to be on life support until Wes Craven reinvented the slasher genre in 1996 with his demented horror spoof Scream, I think the late 80s to mid 90s could be considered the dark ages of horror; though dark kind of works in horrorís favor, so how bout the light ages of horror? Thatís not to say that the genre wasnít completely useless. There were a few select times during this period that a few classics peaked their heads through the mess, and for that case I think itís even more important to give these films praise. Such is the case with Tremors, and I dare you to not like this film. This film is the very example of a great horror film.

Plot

When it comes to horror movies a lot of people will say that there really is a plot and I agree that that is true to an extent. Who really cares why Jason is alive for the 13th time? However, when it comes to the first in a series, you better at least have something going on. In the case of many great horror films before it, Tremors keeps it simple. While paying homage to the 1950s movies with unexplained giant creatures terrorizing towns is there, we do have a protagonist. Val (Bacon) and his best friend Earl (Ward) are the townís local handymen that are fed up with Perfection, and the fact that their lives are going nowhere. On there way out they find a dead body on top of a electric tower with a rifle clenched in his dead hands, and with this townís population, losing just one is a pretty sizable percentage.

They bring the body to the doctor, and continue their journey, to find another unexplained death, and then another two, and another two. As Val explains they decided to leave town one day too late. The movie turns into B movie mode as it turns out there are huge underground monsters with snake like tentacles that pull you underground into their mouths. They canít see or smell you. But they can hear your vibrations and any sound waves you make making it easy for them to spot you. Thatís about as much as the plot Iíll go into as the film stays very simple, but relies on the simple characters trying to outsmart the creatures, possibly kill them, and escape to safety before they all become lunch.

Characters

The characters are simple but they are played by a lot of character actors that give the film a lot of charm that makes it very rewatchable. One of the best things about the setting in the film is that every character is important. And there is a reasonable amount of background on everyone. They feel real and there arenít too many actors that overshadow anyone else. Bacon and Ward play great off each other and Gross plays probably plays the role moviegoers will never forget, despite him being the star of a hit show for seven years. The most important thing is that these actors are also good enough that they are not making fun of the genre; they are simply playing real characters, not carbon horror characters. Itís hard to believe characters would react in horror situations like, but considering the science fiction aspect to this and still maintain some believability is quite a feat.

The Monster

What would a horror movie be like without its monster? Well let me tell you, the Graboids, coined by the local market owner in the film, are probably the most original of the decade, and this was made in 1990. I mean, they are ugly and huge, they are smart and fast, and unless you know about them, youíre going to die. And if thatís not enough there are four of them. Just like many other great horror movies, the Graboids are from the same mold, their appearance is unexplained, and you donít see them too often to be sick of it. And the effects used to create the Graboids are very good and still remain today, even in a Tremor film that came out 11 years later. They look real and are unusual enough without going overboard to be taken seriously in the monster world.

The Scare Factor

Youíre reading a horror movie review with no mention of what people reading this want to know most. To be perfectly honest, having seen Tremors 1 and 2 many times before I was 10 years old, they are on the lesser side of scary films. But there are many great horror movies aimed at a younger audience. Thatís not to say that the film does not have a great atmosphere to you. There are certainly some good jumping moments, scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and quite a decent amount of gore to fill horror fans. What this film lacks in the scare department is entertainment. Itís an original concept, with a smart and funny script, memorable characters and a fast runtime that makes this one of the most rewatchable horror films of all time.

Overall- A+

This is rare for a horror film. The fact that the film is horror, and it is not necessarily scary does not ruin the grade. It is, however, why it may be forgotten many times when other reviewers shout out their favorite horror films. It feels more like a great buddy film with horror elements. It is one of the most entertaining films of the 90s, and what I consider a top five-horror film of the decade. If you havenít seen it, give it a shot, and its not even a bad idea for a blind buy as usually you can get all four films in the series for $10.

Little Known Fact

Tremors 2 is almost as good as the original, and Iíll be bold enough to say the best direct to video sequel ever made!

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