Tremors, a horror sci-fi comedy amalgam directed by Scott Underwood, stars Kevin Bacon (They/Them, You Should Have Left) and Fred Ward (Escape from Alcatraz) as two down-on-their-luck odd jobbers in the tiny dull town of Perfection, Nevada. As the two plan to finally skip town and shake up their lives, they are absorbed into a monstrous escapade, facing off against massive underground creatures causing seismic chaos around them and their fellow Perfectionists.
Tremors, at its surface, doesn’t really stand out much from any other goofy tongue-in-cheek comedy monster romp, nor did it really reinvent the wheel. The magic that led Tremors to become a cult classic as the years went by is threefold.
Tremors keeps it simple and drives it home
The acting chemistry and performances from an insanely talented cast anchored by Fred Ward and Kevin Bacon are magnetizing. Ward and Bacon evoke the perfect feeling of lifelong friends and their relationship even easily overshadows the romantic interest weaved through the film.
The script by S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock is succinct and to the point with nary an ounce of filler included. Packed full of equal parts tense and laugh-out-loud moments, Tremors keeps its audience intently engaged throughout. It isn’t complex or a reinvention of anything, buts its simple beats and lovable characters make for an effortless ride.
Lastly, the creature design is top-notch. Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis, who previously worked on films such as The Terminator and Alien, mix every trick in the book from CGI to prosthetics to animatronics to create the horrifying ‘graboids‘ we see in the film. Director Scott Underwood helps them out by using forced perspective and first-person tunneling shots to insinuate the presence of the creatures without overexposing them to the audience, an understated trick of the creature feature genre.
Tremors is the perfect buffer movie to break up the dramatic and horrifying undertones of your Halloween season. It’s relatable, goofy, hilarious, and holds up over 30 years later as a gold standard in its own genre. It shows that breaking the mold isn’t always necessary, sometimes you can just create an engaging and entertaining property that tips the cap to its predecessors while still tunneling out its own path.
You can currently stream Tremors on Peacock for your Halloween season.
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