Friday, 20th October 2017. 3:53:50pm ET
Movie: Tremors 4
Company: Universal
Format: Television
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 8/24/04

The worms are back. Err…they were back. Err…this is where it started. Yes, Tremors 4 takes us back to the 19th century wild west for a prequel set in the small western mining town of Rejection, soon to become Perfection, Nevada. After an incident where over a dozen miners were killed by "something" (hhhmm…I wonder what), the town's main source of income is closed down and Rejection's population quickly starts to thin. As a result, the mine's owner shows up to investigate…a certain Hiram Gummer, played by Michael Gross in something of a reprisal of his starring role in the other films and television series. Of course, this ancestor of beloved gun-toting survivalist turned graboid hunter Burt Gummer is a considerably different animal, a rich aristocratic fellow with no weaponry skills who doesn't like to get his hands dirty. He also, unfortunately, lacks the charm and humor of his much more intriguing and entertaining descendent. Teaming up with the remaining population of the town, including a surviving miner, a Native American, an immigrant family from China, and a hired gunslinger (played by Billy Drago of The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. fame), Gummer sets out to investigate and, consequently, take care of the problem.

What follows plays more for laughs than horror, although most of the film's jokes are tediously predictable and obvious, and the majority (even inside jokes aimed at fans) will probably get shrugged off without the slightest chuckle. Much of the film is centered on Gummer's growing relationship with the population of Rejection and character development rather than the town's graboid problem, which sort of adds a personal touch and sense of sentimentality, albeit a mildly superficial one. Unfortunately, it also leaves the film with far less action than you're likely to find in even a one-hour episode of the television series, and what little action you'll find is mostly a predictable, toned-down rehash of the action found in the other films. To some extent, this is intentional, juxtaposing situations from the future films with the same situation hampered by 19th century technology. Unfortunately, like most of the other humor in the film, the idea's use is not particularly witty or inventive. On the bright side, there is a nice glimpse or two at one of the graboids' early evolutionary stages, but it does little to salvage this fairly bland action-horror-comedy.

In the end, Tremors 4 simply lacks the imagination, humor, charm, suspense, and action of the previous films and sadly short-lived television series. It's mildly entertaining and marginally fun, but predictable and certainly disappointing. Fans of the series will likely want to give it a rent, but be ready for the worst of the 4 films. If you're new to the series, this prequel definitely isn't the place to start.


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