Tremors (1990)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 10/10/21
Cast: Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, Reba McEntire, Victor Wong

"This valley is just one long smorgasbord."

A college student named Rhonda (Finn Carter) is studying strange seismic activity near a small town in Nevada, which turns out to be giant carnivorous creatures that live underground. Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) are a couple of handymen who find themselves trapped by the creatures and take charge of trying to rescue the rapidly shrinking number of people in town. Paranoid survivalists Burt (Michael Gross) and Heather (Reba McEntire) own enough firepower to start (or end) a small war, but will it be enough to stop a voracious enemy that they can't see?

It's a fun and unassuming monster movie with quirky characters and strong 1980's sensibilities. The film was shot almost entirely outdoors and on location, which gives it a gritty and realistic look. Apart from a couple of bad composite shots, the special effects are quite good and the creatures look fantastic. The music score is upbeat and campy, which perfectly matches the characters and action. The eclectic and eccentric characters help keep the story fresh and interesting, and the dialog is clever and well-written. However, the constant dimwit banter between Val and Earl becomes tiresome rather quickly, which is unfortunate since the majority of the film is carried by them. The performances have an appropriate B-movie feel, and Reba McEntire is a hoot in her film debut. The movie was a commercial flop when it came out, but found a second life in the home video market as a cult classic and spawned at least three sequels.