Tremors (1990)


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. It was distributed by Universal Studios. The film was received well by critics and holds an 88% favorable rating at the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. The film emerged as a cult classic and was followed by two direct-to-video sequels Tremors 2: Aftershocks (1996), Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001), one prequel Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (2004) and the television show Tremors: The Series (2003).


Valentine 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 survivalist couple Burt (Michael Gross) and Heather (Reba McEntire) Gummer, and Walter Chang (Victor Wong), owner of the general store. 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. Jim Wallace, the town doctor, announces that he died of dehydration. As they are leaving again, the duo discover shepherd Old Fred and his flock horribly butchered. Val and Earl return to Perfection, thinking that a murderer is on the loose. They warn two road-construction workers they encounter, but after Val and Earl leave something pulls one of the workers underground, while a rock slide kills the other and blocks the only road out of town. Val and Earl discover the town's phones dead and head for the police in Bixby, 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 snakelike creature. The townsfolk hunker down for the night; the "snakes" attack the doctor and his wife, killing them both and pulling their car underground. The next morning, Val and Earl leave to get help, this time on horseback. They discover the doctor's buried car. Suddenly one of the attackers erupts out of the ground. Each "snake" is one of three "tongues" employed by an enormous burrowing worm-creature that Walter later names "Graboids". Thrown from their horses, the two men run for their lives. When they jump a concrete aqueduct their pursuer rams into its wall, killing itself. Rhonda determines from her readings that there are three more creatures in the area. They realize the creatures have extremely acute hearing, and find them due to their vibrations, but cannot tunnel through rock. One of the creatures traps the trio overnight at a cluster of boulders. Rhonda has the idea of pole vaulting from boulder to boulder. They reach her truck and return to town. They are met with disbelief until a Graboid appears, disabling Val and Earl's truck. Everyone retreats into their homes or the store, but a Graboid bursts through the store's floor, killing Walter. The Gummers return to their home after unsuccessfully hunting the "snake-things" and contact the others via CB radio, but the noise of the couple's tumbler leads a Graboid to smash into their basement. The Gummers kill it with firearms, but another of the monsters disables their vehicle. In town, the Graboids attack the foundations of the buildings, knocking over Nestor's trailer and dragging him down underground. Realizing the town is being dug out from under them, Val and Earl plan to escape on a flatbed trailer pulled by a bulldozer, which is too heavy for the Graboids to move. Val reaches the vehicle while the others distract the Graboids. Everyone is collected, including the Gummers, and they set out for the safety of a nearby mountain range. The Graboids dig a pit-trap in the bulldozer's path, wrecking it. The townsfolk use Burt's home-made explosives to drive the creatures away long enough to reach the safety of a boulder, where Earl has another idea: tricking the Graboids into swallowing Burt's bombs. This works once, but on the second try the last Graboid spits the explosive onto Burt's pile of bombs, sending everyone scattering. Val, Earl and Rhonda are stranded yards from the boulder, with the Graboid blocking their path to safety. Val has one more bomb and one last idea: he lets the Graboid chase him to the edge of a cliff and "stampedes" it with the bomb, then jumps out of its way, sending it through the cliff-face to its death. The group returns to town, and Earl pushes Val into approaching the clearly interested Rhonda romantically.