Film Reviews

Tremors (1990) – Blu-ray Review

Tremors. It’s really fucking good. You all know it’s good. 5 stars. End of review.

You want more? Oh fine. Originally released in 1990, Tremors is part buddy comedy, part monster movie, telling the story of downtrodden handymen Valentine “Val” McKee (Kevin Bacon – do I really need to list the things this guy has been in? Oh fine. Footloose, Mystic River, Hollow Man) and Earl Bass (Fred Ward – 2 Guns, Dice) who find that their plan to leave the podunk town of Perfection is proving a mite more complicated than they expected due to a sudden infestation of worm-like monsters that burrow underground, hunting their hapless prey by following the vibrations of their movement. Labelled “Graboids” by the local store owner, the small band of townsfolk must find a way to escape to the relative safety offered by the solid rock of the mountains where the Graboids will be unable to follow them.

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What can we say about Tremors? It’s a great film. It’s a comedy about two friends, occasionally interspersed with sudden moments of horror and violence as the Graboids work their way through the local population of telephone repair engineers, doctors and sheep herders. The film still looks every bit as good now as it did on release thirty years ago thanks to the judicious use of practical effects.

The cast are roundly brilliant. The show is almost entirely stolen by both Bacon and Ward and their easy, almost familial friendship, but they have to share the spotlight with the character that’s gone on to be the series stalwart: gun nut and disaster prepper Burt Gummer, the one person who seems to rather enjoy the life and death struggle against this underground enemy. Burt has been in every Tremors movie with the exception of the fourth (Michael Goss is still in it, though, playing Hiram Gummer, Burt’s predecessor), and even appeared in the short-lived Tremors TV series. Why did he end up being the central character? Because he’s a delight to watch.

So talking about how good the creature effects look, how does this new transfer from the lovely folks over at Arrow Video look? If you’re expecting something crisp and clean… you will be sorely disappointed. The film grain is STRONG with this one. It’s still a massive improvement from the original, every little stain on Val’s hat easily seen, every detail of the Graboids there to be enjoyed. It does show up the film’s age from time to time, specifically in Bert’s rec room scene, and there is one other moment where you can clearly see the wires attached to the multiple tongues but other than that it’s a lovely restoration.

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Arrow being Arrow, there are more special features than you ever wanted. There are two new audio commentaries with the director, writers and the author of the unofficial Tremors guide. There are new interviews, new on-set stories, new featurettes, deleted scenes, trailers, image galleries and that’s just on the first disc! The second disc has more interviews, outtakes and even three short films from the makers of the movie. If you’re quick and grab the limited edition version then there’s even posters and postcards included as well.

All in all Arrow Video have, once again, given us a great new release of a proper nineties classic. If you don’t have this in your collection then, frankly, you need to do something about that.

Tremors is out now on Blu-ray from Arrow Video.

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