Jaws Underground

Main Cast: Fred Ward, Kevin Bacon, Finn Carter, Michael Gross

Director: Ron Underwood

More of a comedy than anything else, this modest terror/action flick focuses on a small town in the middle of nowhere dealing with murderous animals. Or are they? We really don’t get an idea just what the creatures are (and an amusing conversation between two of the supporting cast on what to name them highlights this puzzle), but what is known is trouble enough. They like to come out of the ground and eat people. and cars and trucks, too.

Val (Bacon) and Earl (Ward) are two handymen, down on their luck and determined to escape the dustbowl village at the beginning of the film. They meet Rhonda (Carter), a scientist who is studying seismology in the area and has come up with unusual readings. But the pesky Tremor creatures (okay, so I named them) keep popping up and preventing them from escaping. Yes, people are gobbled up by these underground worms, but the tone of the flick is too light-hearted to be a true terror film. We all know the extras are going to get whacked, so all we have to do is wait and see how the director and writer(s) do it in a clever way. And, for the most part, they succeed.

I admit I liked this outing. It ain’t drama, and it’s not highbrow. It’s about survival, and how the humans can get away from these things and, eventually, kill them. This film is also packed with recognizable faces. Highly amusing are Michael Gross (the tender-hearted father from TV’s Family Ties) and Reba McEntire (yes, the singer turned actress!) as two gung-ho gun lovers who pretty much have the right solution to the problem: blow the things away! Also I must note that a young Arianna Richards (Jurassic Park’s young star) is also featured.

If watching Reba holding an M16 and blowing away a worm-like creature doesn’t make you grin, then you probably should pass this one up.

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