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TREMORS

       

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Most of the old reviews I post here are of movies that are being newly reissued on Blu-ray or DVD but my review of the original ‘Tremors’ is in this space because a new sequel is being released — ‘Tremors: Shrieker Island,’ No. 7 in the franchise — and it features as a goofy sidekick to Michael Gross, Utah native Jon Heder (yes, Mr. ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ himself). I haven’t watched it yet (from the trailer, it appears to have borrowed liberally from ‘Jurassic Park’ and is played with camp humor) but it’s available on Blu-ray and DVD, and the usual streaming sites. My ‘Tremors’ review was published in the Deseret News on Jan. 23, 1990.

 

"Tremors" is a throwback to the old ’50s creature features — you know, "The Blob," "Them!" "Tarantula."

 

But "Tremors" recognizes that its premise — in this case giant sandworms that look like they were lifted from "Dune" — is ridiculous, so it makes the clever choice of presenting itself as both monster movie and comedy.

 

Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward ("The Right Stuff," "Remo Williams") are a pair of modern-day cowboys working as "handymen" in the Nevada desert near a small town called Perfection when they stumble upon the worms.

 

       

 

Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Reba McEntire, 'Tremors' (1990)

 

They join the town's few residents in trying to destroy the creatures, and when that fails they attempt to get into the rocky hills where the worms are unable to tunnel.

 

Among the townfolk are a pair of overzealous survivalists, well-played by Michael Gross (the father on TV's "Family Ties") and country singing star Reba McEntire, who have an arsenal in their bomb shelter.

 

There's definitely a campy tone to most of the laughs but Bacon and Ward are deadpan as they make wisecracks, resulting in a satisfying combination of humor and horror.

 

       

 

Like many of those monster movies of old, "Tremors" never tries to explain exactly what these creatures are: Oversized worms? Humongous snakes? Overactive shoelaces?

 

But it's funny enough and scary enough to while away 90 minutes, and, as you might expect, the special effects are first-rate as the monsters tunnel at high speeds, tracking their human prey.

 

"Tremors" is rated PG-13 but there is an abundance of profanity and enough violence, with accompanying glop-and-goo special effects, that you might want to steer young ones elsewhere.