Horror Movie Review: Tremors 2: Aftershocks (1996)

After the runaway success of the 1990 monster movie, Tremors a sequel was inevitable but it wouldn’t be until 1996 that we got one. A direct to video release (for reasons that make little sense once you’ve seen it), Tremors 2: Aftershocks is an entertaining movie that holds up well in the story department and the creature effects.

This time the film shifts to the Mexican oilfield which has become overrun by a Graboid infestation. After a particularly nasty opening where a worker is gobbled up by one of the giant worms, we’re then introduced to the hero of this movie, the returning character of Earl (Fred Ward). No Kevin Bacon in sight I’m afraid and his character Val, is not mentioned although Earl clearly harbours some resentment when talking about his failed investments (an ostrich farm).

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He does get to buddy up again though, this time with Grady (Christopher Gartin). An obnoxious superfan of Earl and Graboids in general who jumps at the chance to hunt the monsters with his hero.

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Earl is talked into going to Mexico to take care of the Graboids by the owner of the oilfield who promises him a lot of money and arms from the government. Arriving, the pair meet this movies love interest, Kate (Helen Shaver) who is there to scientifically investigate the monsters.

Initially, everything goes to plan as Earl and Grady take care of the many Graboids using remote control cars and dynamite. It’s all pretty pedestrian but thankfully, Tremors 2 has a few tricks up its sleeve to take the story in a brand-new direction.

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It begins by Earl realising that there are too many Graboids so enlists the help of Burt (Michael Gross) who has been having a rough time since the events of the first film. Needing the distraction, he joins them and proves to be the comedic side of the film. His character is predictable but his obsession with weapons and war makes for some funny moments.

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So, Tremors 2: Aftershocks plays out as you’d expect until Earl and Grady come across what appears to be a sick Graboid. It’s out of the ground and makes no attempt to attack them. Grady is even able to walk up to it and touch it. Realising they have the chance to capture a live one, they call for a truck to come pick them up then bed in for the night.

Earl is uncomfortable though, confused and worried about the changing behaviour of the Graboid. That night it howls like it’s in pain and when it gets too much for Earl to handle, he goes to check on it finding its insides ripped apart.

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Something didn’t kill it though…no, something came out of it. The Graboids are changing and our group are in for the fight of their lives.

Keeping it silly, just like the first film makes Tremors 2 a lot of fun to watch. While some of the characters don’t connect it the same way, the acting from most can’t be faulted. The best moments often coming when Earl and Burt interact. There is history there and it shows.

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It would have been easy to just rehash the same story in a different location so credit has to be given for the change in direction that comes midway. It’s a brave move and pays off as the new monsters, Shriekers are just as dangerous.

A mix of CGI and practical effects, the former looks OK enough but the latter looks great! The Shriekers have just enough of the Graboid look about them to make them believable as the new direction for the worms. Even if they don’t have the same oomph the subterranean terrors have.

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A rarity amongst straight to video sequels in that Tremors 2 has some originality about it. Plenty of violence and gory moments will please the horror fan in most while it still retains its sci-fi monster charm.

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Tremors 2: Aftershocks
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