When I first saw 'Tremors' in the theater back in 1990, Kevin Bacon immediately became my favorite actor. He wasn't the smartest of the heroes, nor was he the quickest or the strongest that I'd seen before, but it was his average Joe way of dealing with an unfavorable situation and coming out on top of things that won me over. It reminded me of Bruce Campbell's character 'Ash' from 'The Evil Dead' series. See, what I like most about 'Tremors' isn't the monsters, but the characters. They're all very funny and absolutely crucial to the story, which makes this classic monster film still one of the best out there.
When you have Kevin Bacon heading a film right out of the 80s with Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross (the dad from 'Family Ties'), Reba McEntire, and Victor Wong (Egg Chen from 'Big Trouble in Little China'), you have a well rounded film full of thrills, comedy, action, and fun, which is just as amazing to this day as it was in 1990.
The film centers on a small rural desert town called Perfection, which is near Vegas. Two hillbilly handymen, Valentine McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Basset (Fred Ward) are tying to make a quick buck by doing odd jobs around the area. As they're heading into town to see if any work needs to be done for the day, they stumble upon a graduate student named Rhonda LeBeck (Finn Carter) who is studying seismology and starts to record some very strange readings underground. Well a few people go missing and a few dead bodies are discovered, and then the aliens stick their ugly heads up from the ground and start attacking the townsfolk.
Eventuallu, the townspeople realize these underground giant worm aliens "vision" is based on movement and vibrations from the ground. This sends the townsfolk to the top of their houses to avoid making any noise. With the help and ammunition from Burt and Heather Gummer (Gross and McEntire), the townsfolk seem safe, but when the aliens start destroying the houses, they all decide to make a run for the hills, which ends in one final showdown...
One aspect I loved about this film, is that none of the characters are as stupid and brainless as we're initially led to believe. Instead, once they learn about these ferocious creatures, they start planning and thinking, much like I would have done in the event of this catastrophe. The dialogue is hilarious, and is still quoted today amongst us cult film fans. The acting is fun and at times over-the-top, but oddly, never cheesy. Most of these actors are remembered for their roles in this film and for good reason.
The camera work is pretty spectacular as it mixes in some good horror movie pans and even pays homage to Sam Raimi's 'Evil Dead' now and again. 'Tremors' has everything you would want in a film. It has some genuine thrills and scares, a romance, good special effects, a great cast, fun monsters, and tons of laughs. This is one of those rare films that never gets old.
'Tremors' comes with a below average 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This particular transfer was simply copied over from the HD-DVD version from 2007. Sadly, this transfer is riddled throughout with awful edge enhancement and halos. It's everywhere and in every scene. And it is quite distracting. It doesn't have that filmic look. The detail suffers here, even with the closeups.
That being said, the colors are pretty great, they shine vibrantly throughout, with the blacks running fairly deep. The flesh tones are also natural.
As this film is amongst the favorites for many of you, this release should have been treated better with its 2010 release. This by far better than the DVD version of the film, but in blu-ray standards, it's towards the bottom of the barrel. This deserves a new transfer.
Unlike the video presentation, this lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix sounds very good and is quite impressive. Why couldn't the video be as great as this?
The dialogue is crystal clear and centered on the fronts very nicely. Dialogue is easy to understand. The ambient noises of people screaming, rocks falling, and the aliens attacking are all loud and flow nicely from the surrounds. The cross-overs are very nice as well. The score is also great and never drowns out dialogue or the sound effects. I did not notice any cracks or hissing in this audio mix either. When the aliens pop out of the ground, and gun shots go off, the bass rumbles and the speakers pack a powerful punch.
This is a solid audio presentation.
'Tremors' was one of my favorite films growing up, and it remains one of my favorites today. The characters, the absurdity, and the thrills make this a truly timeless cult classic. Heck it spawned several sequels. Despite the horrible video transfer, if you're a fan, and you can find it for a good price (It's currently $7.99 on Amazon) I definitely recommend picking this up. The audio is top notch and the vintage extras are quite funny and worth the watch.