Broke into the wrong goddamn rec room, didn’t ya you bastard!– Burt Gummer
Tremors (1990) is one of those films that’s so incredibly close to perfect that it’s hard to talk about. So that’s why I figured I’d give it a shot for Day 19 of the Fright Festival. Directed by Ron Underwood, and starring Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, Reba McEntire and Victor goddamn Wong, it’s been one of my favourite films for nearly a decade.
This is a monster movie, plain and simple. It’s not supposed to be scary (suspenseful, sure) or thought-provoking. It’s a throwback to the old atomic anxiety B-movies of yesteryear, with a giant critter of unknown origin chowing down on the residents of an isolated community. And as in those films, the only way our plucky band of oddballs will survive is if they work together to see off the creature threatening their lives, and way of life.
What I like most about this film is its utter lack of pretension. There’s no deep meaning here – it’s about some scrappy desert yokels mixing it up with overgrown earthworms, and it makes no apologies. But neither does it plant tongue in cheek or wink knowingly at the audience. There’s humour, sure, but it comes from the characters interacting, or reacting to the situation they’ve found themselves in. A film that takes itself seriously, without taking itself seriously – if you get me – is a rare treat these days.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you give it a try. And while the sequels are of varying quality, they are almost as enjoyable, if a trifle predictable. Give the whole saga a shot. At the very least, you’ll be entertained.