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Movies Kelly Parks Review by
Kelly Parks
Tremors 2
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TREMORS 2: AFTERSHOCKS - 1995
Universal Pictures
Ratings: Australia: M / Finland: K-16 / Germany: 16 / Sweden: 15 / U.K. 15 / USA: PG-13


Did you see TREMORS? Excellent flick. A good old fashioned monster movie like Grandma used to make. So of course they had to make a sequel.

A straight to video sequel.

Hmmm . . .

TREMORS 2: AFTERSHOCKS was directed by S.S. Wilson (he did the story for TREMORS – this was his first directing gig) and written by Mr. Wilson and Brent Maddock (TREMORS, GHOST DAD). It opens with Earl Bassett (Fred Ward: TREMORS, CAST A DEADLY SPELL), one of the two heroes from the first film, doing chores on his Ostrich ranch down in Mexico. We learn that he and his partner Val (played by Kevin Bacon in the first movie but who's no where to be seen here) became celebrities after the graboid monsters attacked their home town. There were Reebok commercials and video games and magazine covers, but when Earl's 15 minutes of fame was over he belatedly realized he didn't have much to show for it.

A beat up taxi pulls up in front of Earl's place. The passenger is an official from a Mexican oil company. Graboids (nasty, giant underground worms, in case you missed part one) are attacking a remote drilling station and have shut down production. The official wants to hire Earl to go graboid hunting.

Earl says no, of course. That's the formula for movies like this, just like Ripley says no when they ask her to go Alien hunting. Of course she changes her mind. Earl changes his as well, after a convincing argument from the driver of the cab, a guy named Grady (Christopher Gartin). Grady is a fortune hunter and a big fan of Earl's. He's also not too bright, but in an interesting way. Grady tells Earl that the Mexican government is offering a $100,000 reward for every dead graboid. Earl, in need of cash, reluctantly agrees.

The rest of the story takes place around the oil station and surrounding buildings. When Earl and Grady arrive we meet a few more people who are there just to make the body count. We also meet Dr. Kate Reilly (Helen Shaver: THE AMITYVILLE HORROR [Sigh! Helen Shaver! -Feo]). There is instant chemistry between the doctor and Earl and later we find out that they met before, sort of.

Earl and Grady make a few kills but decide they need more help so Earl calls his survivalist buddy Burt (Michael Gross: TREMORS, TREMORS 3). I was damn glad to see this character again because he and his wife (played by Reba McIntire in the first movie) were very memorable. We see Burt in his basement (the wall clearly repaired from the where a graboid made it through – that same graboid's head is mounted nearby). A few appropriate framed magazine covers (Soldier of Fortune) show Burt had his moment in the sun as well, but we quickly learn his wife has left him and he's lonely and bored. He jumps at the chance to kill him some more graboids.

The graboid hunt is going well and everyone is counting on a big paycheck. But then we find out that being a giant, underground worm is just one stage in the graboid life cycle.

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
Well, they had to do it. The thing that made TREMORS so cool – the fact that they never explained where the monsters came from – just wouldn't be believable here because by now the world has reacted and scientists would be crawling all over each other to investigate the appearance of an unprecedented creature like this. So there just had to be some exposition here to explain the monsters. Their explanation? The graboids are "Precambrian life forms". Ta da!

Continued at Science Moment/Tremors2.

There are other logical problems besides the science. These animals would be in great demand for study. Even at $100,000 a kill, they'd be worth more alive than dead. Where ever they appeared, the Discovery channel film crew would be close behind.

Also, why would an oil company hire a couple of ne'er-do-wells like these guys for a task like this? Wouldn't they call in the Mexican army?

So there are problems. But I loved the first movie so much that I really enjoyed visiting with these characters again. There are plenty of funny moments and some of the spirit of the first film is still here. That puts me in a generous mood, so I give TREMORS 2: AFTERSHOCKS three shriek girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2000 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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