Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ten Statements About....TREMORS (1989)

"I smell BACON!"
1) This film knows one of the great secrets of making an effective creature feature--Keep It Simple.  The script sets up the situation, doesn’t dwell on such unnecessary things as back stories and rationales for its creature and just goes.   And knowing the momentum and tension has to keep ratcheting up makes it easier for us to get caught up.

2) There’s a great chemistry between Kevin Bacon’s Val and Fred Ward’s Earl, and that helps to give the film a gravitas and forward movement it might not otherwise have.  Nowhere does these two give us much in the way of their history, but we still know what we need to know about these two from their banter and rapport that we can identify with.

3) I find it highly amusing that this film uses bad reception as a rationale for not getting help long before such an explanation was needed due to cell phones.

Just another NRA Saturday Night....
4) Another benefit from the film’s plot being so simple is that it allows us time for character moments with everyone in the cast so that no one, not even Michael Gross’ and Reba McIntire’s survivalist couple comes off as a cardboard cliche.

5) It’s a breath of fresh air that Finn Carter’s resident scientist doesn’t have knowledge of all sciences.  She does give us insight into the creatures’ nature, but only the insight specific to her specialized knowledge.  And speaking of that scientist....

6) I thoroughly don’t buy the romance between Carter and Bacon.  The script gives us absolutely no hint of an attraction at any time, and just drops the coming together as a coda of the story.  It also doesn’t help that Bacon has more chemistry with Ward than he does with Carter....

7) I will always applaud a film that has faith in practical effects.  In this case, said practical effects gives the monsters a weight and sense of life that I can’t see them having with CGI.

8) I’m pleased that the final resolution of the monster problem is one that the residents of Perfection could come up with by themselves.  There’s no macguffin, no scientific hocus pocus, just a bunch of
people with a knowledge of their land and a couple of homemade explosives.

9) Being just a shade over ninety minutes helps this film immeasurably.  It’s just long enough for the script to give us some dimension to its characters and give us a couple of creepy portents before the monsters come and it becomes a bit of a thrill ride.  Once we get the creepy crawlies (literally!), it’s hyperfocused on the plot at hand.
"I've heard of blockages before, but..."

10) I don’t know if the film’s country western soundtrack works.  Sure, the dissonance between old timey cowboy songs with being swallowed by a monster works in one scene, but the other songs seem obtrusive, especially the closing credit ditty, which seems there solely to let Reba sing something.

Overall...an effective, entertaining creature feature that does what it says on the tin, buoyed further by some good chemistry by its leads and an excellent, well-designed and grimy monster.

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