When an army of Graboids - giant, carnivorous underground worms - threaten the Petromaya oil refinery in Mexico, its owners call on Earl Bassett, who once helped kill four of the creatures ... See full summary »
Perfection Valley, Nevada is a quaint little town. The inhabitants live peaceful, tranquil lives. Most of the time. Perfection is home to the Graboid, El Blanco. El Blanco is a 30-foot worm... See full summary »
In 1889, the town of Rejection, Nevada, depends on a nearby silver mine for its income. Rejection has a few residents. Christine Lord runs the local inn, which doesn't get a lot of business because Carson City is the busiest settlement in the area. Pyong Lien Chang, his wife Lu Wan Chang, and his son Fu Yien Chang are immigrants from China, and they own Chang's Market. Other residents include Old Fred, Brick Walters, Stony Walters, Big Horse Johnson, Soggy, miner Juan Pedilla, and Christine's friend Tecopa. When a hot spring causes four eggs to hatch, several men who work in the silver mine are killed by whatever hatched from the eggs. Everyone is too terrified to enter the mine. No one wants to risk their lives, even if shutting down the mine would mean the death of the town. With the mine shut down, the mine's owner, Hiram Gummer, arrives in the area from Philadelphia to investigate. Juan acts as Hiram's guide. As it turns out, each egg hatched a Graboid, but 1889 was about 100 ... Written by
The Tremors series seemed to run out of ideas on the second installment, so the idea that we are sitting around discussing a fourth is quite absurd, to say the least. Nonetheless, the fourth in the series may well be the best aside from the original, which is one of the most surprising things I've ever seen myself type. Perhaps the big secret here is that the series has never taken itself too seriously, which is certainly a plus in comparison to other series, where the sequels never seem to realise how bereft of ideas they are.
Tremors 4 takes a completely different tack to its three predecessors and sets itself a couple of hundred years in the past. Before the town of Perfection became Perfection, it was known as Rejection (ha ha). Burt Gummer's great-granddaddy, Hiram, was a wimp who held guns in much the same manner that many of us hold dead fish. Contrary to the impressions of the other films, Rejection was a silver town with a mine owned by the aforementioned Hiram. It seems that when the miners stop work due to fear of being eaten, it eats into profits, and Hiram comes out to see what is scaring away the workers.
As with the last three films, the cast is strictly low-rent, with Michael Gross and Billy Drago forming the most recognisable portion of the cast. Indeed, Gross seems to be so comfortable in the role of the Gummers that he barely seems able to portray anything else. Or rather, he doesn't seem to just portray the character. For all intents and purposes, he is the character. Which is certainly a great change from his days in Family Ties as the head of one of those saccharine families that only seem to exist on daytime or early afternoon television. It is just as well they placed the burden of the acting upon the shoulders of a veteran like Gross, as the rest of the cast seems lost.
Tremors 4 also seems to return to the style of the original when it comes to revealing the worms. Instead of having them constantly attacking the populace through CGI simulation, much of their interaction with the human cast returns to the practical effects and trick photography of the original. The one shot in the film I noticed that was obviously CGI only helps to demonstrate that simple off-screen levers or cables still have a lot of usefulness left in them. The one problem I have with the films to date is that none of the DVD-Videos have been offered with a featurette that explains how these practical effect shots were achieved.
Tremors 4 also marks the first time we get to see anything of the oft-referenced Carson City. The city doesn't appear at all special, but that's fine. Just inserting a view of the place is enough. Among Tremors 4's weaknesses, on the other hand, are attempts to build up suspense with danger to Hiram Gummer. As if the existence of Burt didn't already make the resolution of such scenes clear. Another problem is the constant debates about the next step in the residents' plans against the worms. The recitations of homilies start to get rather stilted after a while. There is also a bit too much repetition of the noisemaking technique. To the credit of the writers, they do manage to insert a few of the guerrilla-style battle moves that made the first and third episodes so amusing. Thankfully, the idea that Hiram Gummer could fight these creatures and Burt not have any idea what they were is sort of half-explained towards the end.
In all, I gave Tremors 4 an eight out of ten. It isn't nearly as good as the original, but it is a massive improvement upon the other two. Here's to hoping that they manage to keep as many good ideas in a fifth or sixth, although I personally would pay good money to see a film set a hundred years from now with Perfection as a thriving city that is hit by the worms. Yes, that was a hint.
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