Why do people choose to move into idyllic, small towns? Don't they know that eventually a monster/evil presence/unidentified alien is going to come in and ruin everything? At least, that’s what Hollywood has taught us. Then again, the folks over in Perfection seemed to have everything under control in 1990's Tremors.
Yes, Tremors uses every tired cliché this genre is known for, but it feeds off them instead of wearing them out. Whereas other movies would constantly remind you of the problems (cut phone lines, no way out, etc.) the script here sets them up and moves on. Even the scientist character (played by Finn Carter) is fed up with inquiries, a brilliant nod to the constant barrage of questions tossed towards the scientific community in other films.
Normally you could tear an unoriginal movie like this apart, but Tremors is so much fun, so fast paced, and so well-written, it doesn't matter. This movie does right what so many other similar movies do wrong. There's ample screen time for the monsters (which are unique), the body count is satisfactory (and gory), and the mix of both horror and comedy blend flawlessly.
Ron Underwood directs here and shows his love for the sci-fi classics in every aspect. In fact, you could almost say he takes the formula and improves on it, which is not an easy task. A great cast helps him along, including the two lead players, Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward. They’re likeable to the extreme, and from the moment they appear on screen, you know they're close friends. This wouldn’t be the same movie without them.
Michael Gross would go on to star in each of the three sequels, but he never works better than he does here. His character would be played out by the second film, and by the third, he’s a mess of comedic relief and the main character.