Tremors 2: Aftershocks

1996. Directed by S.S. Wilson. Starring Fred Ward, Michael Gross, Christopher Gartin, and Helen Shaver.


After watching, and being about 2/3 favorable to, Tremors 4: the Legend Begins the other night, I figured it was time for me to put in the other DVDs (I bought all four movies in a two DVD-set for like $14.99 or something). Having, as I said then, watched the first movie deep into perdition, I skipped over it and went on to Aftershocks. I have seen T2:A before, and apparently I have seen all of it, but somehow I had my memory swapped around to thinking that I had only caught snatches of it. As I said, again in my earlier review, apparently my teenage mind was more obsessed with Kevin Bacon getting it on with Finn Carter than with underground thingies. I wrote this movie off. And, well, that's a shame.

This turns out to be a pretty good sequel, lesser than the first but not in a bad way, just a little more "popcorn". The story is that another outbreak of "graboids" occurs. This time, Fred Ward's Earl Bassett (half the monster fighting duo from the first, alongside Kevin Bacon's Valentine McKee) is brought in with "the new guy", Grady Hoover (played by Christopher Gartin). Grady is a huge fan of the graboid phenomenon, and considers this a chance to work with one of his heroes. Earl mostly just wants to make money to live off of, his monetary luck from the first movie is apparently still going. For those Burt Gummer fans, Michael Gross brings his character back. Mostly, the first half is a fun little rehash of the last half of the first movie, where the humans started finding definite ways to fight back. Except now they have dynamite and explosives and it is mostly just a humorous look into a new style of bounty hunting.

Where the movie succeeds is how it brings about the "twist" in which the graboids (several meters-long underground worm things with beaks) are just one stage of the life cycle of whatever species it is. Rather than just rehash sequeldom, we actually get a fairly fresh new last half where the rules have to be readjusted. For a few minutes, at least, we approach honest horrordom because we know something is up but it takes us awhile to figure out what.

Ok, so there are some moments you have to squint your eyes. Why not send down a league of special agents to solve this, equipped with "thumpers" and ground piercing concussives? Why not use some sort of spike system to make certain portions of the surface too dangerous for the graboids to surface? Where is the team of highly trained biologists who demand the right to study these things? Does the Mexican army really hand out munitions? Michael Crichton it is not (and this is not a bad thing, mind you). This is a movie about some South Western boys and their guns. And that is alright with me.

Now I need to see the third one. Excpect a review soon. I have good hopes. Oh, and I guess if you did not like the first one (or only liked it because of Mr. Bacon) then you can avoid this one. If you liked the first one just fine, then I see no reason you will not like this one.

Written by W Doug Bolden

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