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Friday, March 30, 2018

Tremors IV: The Legend Begins (2004)




The thing that I love about the Tremors franchise is how they keep switching things up so that the movies always seem fresh and interesting. In the previous sequels they did this by adding different monsters to the Graboid’s lifecycle. But after establishing that loop from Egg to Graboid to Shreiker to Ass Blaster back to Egg I wasn’t sure what they would do next. Well they decided on a prequel!

There is a silver mine and a nearby down called Rejection where the miners live and spend their money. The movie opens with the mine shutting down after the men working it get killed by some mysterious creatures. Of course, we know that these are Graboids and that some poop is about to hit the fan. Into town comes the owner of the mine, a “dandy” from Philadelphia named Hiram Gummer. We get to meet an ancestor of Burt in this one! There are also some other familiar names like the Chang family that runs the local store.

The twist with Hiram is that he doesn’t own a gun or even know how to fire one. After his first encounter with the creatures he decides to hire a professional gunfighter, which is how we meet Billy Drago’s character Black Hand Kelly. Might I just take a moment here to say that Drago is awesome, and it was cool to see him in a Tremor’s flick. Thanks. Some people die and some live before the town of Rejection has a final showdown with the Graboids and obviously changes its name to Perfection. See same town as the first Tremors…

I like this movie. I don’t love it as much as I have the first three, but as the fourth sequel in the series it isn’t too bad. I guess my biggest issue is that in their effort to do something different they sort of missed the point as to what makes these movies fun to watch. This is clearly Michael Gross’ vehicle now and making him Hiram instead of Burt hurts the story. I like Burt Gummer as a character and seeing him blow stuff up is one of the reasons that I continue to watch and re-watch the series. While he does a wonderful job creating the character of Hiram it just isn’t the same. Heck the flick really didn’t get entertaining until the end when Gross starts to play Hiram more like Burt. Let me just say the punt gun/cannon in the big finale is crazy fun.

It isn't Tremors unless a Gummer has a giant gun!
The special effects work is quite good for a low budget monster movie. We get a lot of rubber critter on screen and the actors get to do battle with them. The CGI is limited and executed very well. The baby Graboids flying out of the ground are a neat trick and a nice addition to the series. There isn’t much gore, but I did love the throwback to a gag from the first movie. The head under a hat appears again with a twist to surprise the audience. I loved it. And of course, we get the required "gut toss" where the actors have latex monster bits and goo thrown at them. Here it is much more satisfying in quantity than it was in Tremors 3.

Of the movies so far, this is the weakest of them. That doesn’t mean it isn’t good as I consider Tremors 4 to still be superior to most of the creature features of the last twenty years. It just has a lot to live up to being that it’s a Tremors movie. Still worth a viewing if for no other reason than to be a franchise completest. Thankfully part 5 gets us back to Burt Gummer.



© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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