"Tremors" is the perfect film to watch on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. It's clever, witty and sometimes scary. The monster is unique and the film rarely runs out of steam.
Tremors (1990, HD-DVD)
Directors: Ron Underwood
Producers: Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson
Writers: Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson
Features: * Documentary * Featurette * Outtakes * Trailer * MyScenes Bookmarking * 5.1 Dolby TrueHD * Dolby Digital 5.1 Plus
Kevin Bacon ... Valentine McKee
Fred Ward ... Earl Bassett
Finn Carter ... Rhonda LeBeck
Michael Gross ... Burt Gummer
Reba McEntire ... Heather Gummer
Robert Jayne ... Melvin Plug (as Bobby Jacoby)
Charlotte Stewart ... Nancy Sterngood
Tony Genaro ... Miguel
Ariana Richards ... Mindy Sterngood
"Tremors" was a shock of a film. It didn't do all that well when it hit theaters back in 1990. But then it hit video and became an instant cult classic, and for very good reason. "Tremors" is easily one of the best schlocky B-movie monster-fests in years, which was only recently dethroned by the Vin Diesel monster movie, "Pitch Black."
"Tremors" follows a group of small town farmers who are attacked by a ground dwelling monster that hunts uses vibrations instead of sight and sound. One by one, the town is killed off by the viscous monster until the remaining group must make a desperate attempt to reach solid ground--where the monster can't get them. Now I know that the plot sounds like it's a serious all the way, but the film is handled with finely tuned ham handedness that makes even the most tired of cliches, refreshing.
The film stars Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Michael Gross and Reba McEntire and each play up their most outlandish traits. For Bacon, he's most more over-the-top than ever. For Ward, he's more of a rugged country man. For Gross and McEntire, well, they both play gun fanatics who happen to be rabid survivalists and the end result is stunningly amusing, particularly for McEntire who's out of her element and loving every moment of it.
"Tremors" is the perfect film to watch on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. It's clever, witty and sometimes scary. The monster is unique and the film rarely runs out of steam. Also be sure to keep an eye out for the film's straight-to-video sequels which were, up until recently, some of the best straight-to-video sequels ever made. They're not great, but they manage to capture the spirit of what made the first film so entertaining, and that's rare.
Film Report Card:
As entertainment: A-
As a film: B
This is a review of the HD-DVD version of "Tremors."
Universal presents "Tremors" on HD-DVD in 2.35:1 widescreen, encoded in 1080p/VC-1 video on a HD-30 dual-layer disc. The original DVD of "Tremors" didn't sport the best transfer of the film. That DVD was plagued with edge enhancement and digital grain. Thankfully, most of those issues are gone from this release. The film isn't as sharp as some of Universal's newer titles and it still has some edge enhancement issues, but overall, this is a clear, pristine presentation of a fairly low budget film that's on-par with Universal's other catalog releases--good, but not great.
Universal gives fans two tracks to choose from--a Dolby TrueHD track and a Dolby Digital Plus track. Both tracks are quite dynamic with a rather lively ambient atmosphere. Surround effects are incredibility fine tuned with very robust effects that envelop the listener. I didn't expect this to be such a powerful track, but it easily trumps the original DVD's fair, but nothing to cry home about, mix. When comparing the two tracks, I found the TrueHD track had the edge as it seemed like surround placement was slightly more balanced than the Plus track.
All of the extras from Universal's 'Collector's Edition' DVD release and laserdisc release are here for fans to peruse.
You get a rather informative 60 minute making-of documentary, a quick EPK featurette, a nice series of deleted outtakes and a trailer--all presented in standard definition. Finally, there's a series of text based actor's profiles.
Nothing here folks, other than Universal's MyScenes bookmarking feature. Why a newly recorded commentary track wasn't added as a quick high-def exclusive is beyond me. Oh well.
If you don't already own "Tremors", I'd suggest picking it up on HD-DVD. Fans of the film should also pick up this disc. It's easily the best presentation of the film I've seen yet. If only Universal would have shelled out a few more special features for this updated release. Bring on the straight-to-video sequels!
HD-DVD Report Card:
Overall Value: B+
On HD-DVD: November 20th, 2007
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----R. L. Shaffer