Attack of the Giant Killer Worms
For years I have seen "Tremors" cropping up on late night TV and on the odd occasion I caught a bit of it I thought what nonsense. I was wrong because having finally sat down and watched the whole of "Tremors" it is one of the most enjoyable comedy horrors you will ever watch. With it's almost pastiche on 50's monster movies it is full of laughs be it from the sparky banter between Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward or from the dodgy looking giant killer worms which lurk beneath the ground. But it's not by accident that these monsters look dodgy, it's intentional so is anything which feels cheesy because this is old fashioned b-movie horror, just one which happened to come at the start of the 90s.
Having grown tired of all the crappy jobs they do as handymen Earl (Fred Ward - Road Trip) and Val (Kevin Bacon - Footloose) plan to leave the small town of Perfection but as they head out they discover something very strange when they find old Edgar dead having climbed a pylon. That's not the only strange thing they experience and before long Earl and Val as well as the rest of the town along with Rhonda (Finn Carter) a visiting seismologist find themselves stuck as the town comes under attack from strange creatures which live below ground. Trapped and forced to take to the roof tops the town must try and find some way to escape before these monsters get them as well.
Because "Tremors" pretty much sets out to recreate that b-movie horror feeling it would be cruel to say that the storyline is unoriginal. It intentionally comes up with a story which inevitably sees a small group of survivors desperately trying to battle and escape from this strange monster which targets them. And as for plot holes and explanations we don't need to worry about them because in all honesty we don't care how these giant killer worms came to be, although suggestion that they are radioactive mutants or part of a government secret weapon provides much amusement. To put it simply the storyline doesn't matter because it is all about recreating that classic b-movie storyline which it does.
And because it is about that 50s feel "Tremors" is very much a movie of small moments of action, from best buds Earl and Val trying to escape the giant killer worm running through the desert through to the survivors in the town of Perfection forced on to the roofs to avoid them. What is surprising is that for a movie which in many ways is making fun of 50s horror movies these moments of action are surprisingly effective. Well effective in the fact that they are entertaining, watching Earl, Val and Rhonda pole vault from one rock to another certainly grabs your attention. And whilst not the most terrifying of movies the sense of comical horror is surprisingly thrilling especially having witnessed these giant killer worms take down a few people and a station wagon.
And that is what makes "Tremors" work, the sense of comedy, be it the dodginess of these giant killer worms or through to the humour of seeing a pneumatic drill dragged upright through a road after a worm attacks some workmen. In fact there is almost a sense of "Jaws" to some of this horror and in being so it makes it surprisingly funny. But it is the actual characters which really make it really funny be it the less than bright Earl and Val or the gun ready Burt and Heather who pack so much artillery that they could supply a small army. All the characters are quirky in some way or another and every single one makes you smile in one way or another.
As such all the performances from Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward as Val and Earl through to Victor Wong as store owner Walter Chang deliver perfect performances. It maybe a case that Bacon and Ward are the movies stars but it is because every single actor delivers that perfect mix of comedy and horror that there is never a dull moment.
What this all boils down to is that "Tremors" is one seriously enjoyable horror movie and does a grand job of not only recreating the style of a 50s horror movie but also having fun with it without it becoming a spoof. Its success comes from the fact that between the intentionally dodgy effects and the various characters there is barely a scene which doesn't make you smile yet there is also a sense of excitement about it as we watch these survivors not only try and escape the clutches of these giant killer worms but also kill them.