Cut Short: Tremors (1990)

Tremors is a good film for one very simple reason; it is the perfect template to base any creature feature on. If you take the structure of Tremors, swap around characters, locations and monsters, you’d have an eerily similar but nonetheless good creature feature.

Perhaps because of this, however, it has dated a tad. A million creature features have used this structre by now, and it’s not even like Tremors was the inventor of it. Though of a different tone, The Thing is an earlier example. But the light hearted charm conveyed through the characters of Tremors holds it miles above any generic monster outing.

Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward and Finn Carter make up the main characters and really hold the movie up high on their own. All are full of wit and charisma that keeps you wondering not just about what the monsters will do of next, but what the characters will too. Even so Michael Gross as Bert and Reba McEntire as his wife were such great side characters that their performances carried this cult classic into sequel after sequel. Pretty much everyone in the small town has a moment to emote or do something too so, although they’re generally one-note archetypes, it truly does feel like a group effort to defeat the monsters and not just Kevin Bacon vs the world.

It’s hard not to enjoy this movie, even recognising the effects might not be as good as I had remembered. It feels real and the tension remains. Tremors is an excuse for audiences to have fun, and doesn’t patronise them the same way modern blockbusters do by overexplaining things or taking itself overly seriously. For that I admire it and would 100% recommend it to pretty much anyone as easy viewing on a saturday night.

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