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Friday, August 19, 2011

DVD Challenge #20: TREMORS

Run-time: 1 hour, 36 minutes

Directed by: Ron Underwood
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, Reba McEntire

I remember seeing bits and pieces of this film back in my younger years, but I don't think I actually saw Tremors in its entirety until a few years ago. When I finally had the chance to give it a full viewing, however, I was amazed by what I saw. Tremors is one of those films that, on the surface, seems like it's going to be a trashy send-up of 1950s B-movie horror flicks, and in some ways, that's exactly what it strives to be. When you have a film that centers around a small town being terrorized by gigantic, worm-like monsters, there's only so much you can really expect. However, like those 1950s B-movies, Tremors delivers a fun-filled, albeit ridiculous, ninety minutes of entertainment.

One of my earliest memories of this film is actually of the creature itself. Once you see this worm (affectionately referred to once as a "graboid," the name that it would carry in the sequels), there's really no way that you're going to forget it. What's truly fascinating about the creature is that it's unlike anything that's ever graced the silver screen prior to or since this film's release in 1990. It's originality is undeniable, and it makes for an interesting storyline. The filmmakers were essentially given the opportunity to create a brand new monster, and they made it so convincingly real that it's not much of a stretch to think that animals like this could actually exist somewhere in the world. I loved this creature so much that it made my list of favorite animals and creatures from film. It's a dazzling spectacle to behold, even when it's looking horrendous and trashy.

To add to the seeming brilliance of this film is the stellar cast that plays their roles to a tee. Kevin Bacon is his usual fantastic self, taking his character above and beyond anything that a sane individual would do. He and Fred Ward have such a fantastic on-screen chemistry that it's difficult not to fall in love with their characters and their relationship. They bring the majority of the comedy in the film, and they play off each other - and the other members of the cast - incredibly well without ever breaking out of their individual character. Kudos, my good sirs. We also get some very good performances from the likes of Finn Carter as our main female lead, and let's not forget about Michael Gross, who's character was successful and entertaining enough to make it to the subsequent Tremors sequels. No, the acting isn't anything utterly brilliant, but in the constructs of a ridiculous movie such as this, the performances just might be flawless.

While the film doesn't necessarily offer a ton of scares, it definitely follows horror conventions very well, creating a good layer of suspense in some scenes. We're also given some schlocky, comedic gore, mostly at the expense of the graboids, to add to the hilarity. Tremors offers a great blend of action, comedy and horror, mixing the three genres very, very well. At the end of the day, it's a completely entertaining flick that doesn't require you to think at all. It's pure entertainment, which is exactly what we're usually looking for in a film. So if you haven't given this one a go, I strongly suggest you do so. I can't personally speak for any of the film's sequels (I haven't seen any of them), but definitely take in this first installment as soon as you can.

Previous DVD Challenge: MEMENTO (2000)

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