Tremors is a 1990 American science fiction horror comedy film directed by Ron Underwood, based on a screenplay by Brent Maddock and S. S. Wilson, and starring Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross and Reba McEntire.
Although it did not make millions at the box office it developed a home video following, and has spawned sequels and prequel: Tremors 4: The Legend Begins. Thirteen episodes of Tremors: The Series, a TV series, also aired March through July 2003.
Valentine “Val” McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Basset (Fred Ward) work as handymen in Perfection, Nevada, an isolated ex-mining settlement that contains only fourteen residents, among them general store owner Walter Chang (Victor Wong) and survivalist couple Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) and Heather Gummer (Reba McEntire). A new arrival is Rhonda LeBeck (Finn Carter), a graduate student conducting seismology tests.
Val and Earl tire of their hand-to-mouth existence and leave for Bixby, the nearest town. They discover a man dead at the top of an electrical tower, though still holding on to the beams. Jim Wallace, the town doctor, announces that he died of dehydration. Somewhere else, shepherd Old Fred and his flock get attacked by an unseen force. Val and Earl arrive, only to find the sheep cut to pieces and Fred’s severed head lying in the sand. Val and Earl return to Perfection, thinking that a murderer is on the loose. They warn two road-construction workers that they encounter, but to no avail. After Val and Earl leave, one of the construction worker’s drills stabs something under the ground and it spews blood. With a hose around his ankle, it pulls that worker away, while the other rushes to help, only to be crushed by a rock slide.
Val and Earl discover the town’s phones dead and head for the police, but are thwarted by the rock slide. They return to Walter’s store, where they find something wrapped around their truck’s back axle: the severed body of a large snake-like creature. As the townsfolk hunker down for the night, the “snakes” attack the doctor and his wife, killing them both and pulling their car underground.
“It may be the same old Jaws formula, but it’s been flipped on its head, not just in setting, but in its very villains and protagonists. There are opportunities missed – the isolation of Perfection seems tailor-made for some sociological breakdown that never comes – and the third act tends to drag as it runs out of ways to keep the characters stranded, but Tremors hits its marks while retaining a unique aesthetic all its own, and never quite crosses the line into ridiculous. It may not be a great film, but as far as Jaws knock-offs go (giant snakes, giant crocodiles, giant spiders, et. al.), it comes closest to recreating the magic.” Den of Geek!
“Tremors takes all the best aspects of the best of the fifties films – likeable cast, superb monsters, lots of ammunition – and transposes them to a more modern setting, but one which crucially still echoes the period. While the fear of nuclear war between the USA and the Soviet Union fuelled the nightmares of directors from that epoch, in Tremors the Soviet Union still exists but the only person who fears it is a mad hillbilly weapons expert who is mocked for his over-preparedness. Obviously, when the monsters come, he is the one who they all run to for help.” Fohnhouse
“Underwood ‘s goal was to create something far different from your standard fright flick, a perfect combination of humour and horror. In addition to Wilson and Maddock’s choice dialogue and plotting, plenty of action and well-developed characters, the story was primarily set in broad daylight – not an easy atmosphere in which to create suspense. Cinematographer Alexander Gruszynski’s innovative camerawork really stands out, highlighting the barren desert surroundings as well as providing thrilling underground POV of the graboids chasing their prey.” Rob Dennehy, Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks