Having worn out its welcome with the disappointing third entry in the series, it’s amazing that a fourth movie was released in 2004. What possible direction could they take it now? We’ve had Graboids, Shriekers and Ass-Blasters. What could they possibly evolve into now?
The answer is nothing as Tremors 4: The Legend Begins chooses to instead go down the prequel route. You can read our review of the original Tremors movie here, its sequel Aftershocks here and the third movie, Back to Perfection here.
A Graboid origin story could have been really good, one that takes the series back to its roots way before Ass-Blasters became a thing! Sadly Tremors 4 doesn’t do this, instead choosing to focus on one character named Hiram Gummer who happens to be the great-grandfather of Burt Gummer.
Set in 1889, The aptly named town of Rejection (which would be later called Perfection) runs into trouble. Completely relying on a nearby silver mine for income, when the workers get attacked by newly hatched Graboids, it is forced to close.
The owner of the mine, Hiram Gummer (Michael Gross) arrives to try and fix the problem but his lack of experience around firearms makes him pretty useless. Those that have stayed behind at the town have little faith him but aren’t willing to just give up Rejection to the Graboids.
It’s time to stand and fight.
Tremors 4: The Legend Begins is not a Graboid origin story. The eggs are found in the mine and they hatch, that’s it. No, when the movie refers to ‘a legend beginning’ it is referring to the Gummer bloodline. Michael Gross takes on the role of his ancestor and certainly has some fun getting to play the straight-laced and fearful Hiram. A very different man to Burt, Gross plays the role well and is the best thing about the movie. The less said about most of the remaining forgettable cast, the better. It’s not that they’re bad actors, it’s just that their characters are foot-notes.
The only one who does anything of note is Billy Drago doing what he does best as Black Hand Kelly. Hiram learns a lot from the hired gun, sowing the seeds for our future Burt Gummer.
Probably the most disappointing thing about Tremors 4 is the lack of creature carnage. We do get some gore but if you’re here for a bloody mess, you won’t find it. The only really great effect comes from a dead Graboid at the end of the film.
The movie is paced well and thanks to that it rarely drags. Hardly a boring film, the down-time moments are used to further Hiram’s story and how he would come to embrace a more hands on approach to things.
It’s an improvement over the third film in the franchise. Had it been the final one, it would have been a satisfying conclusion to the series. It’s a pity we didn’t really get to learn anything new about Graboids though. However, thanks to Michael Gross it’s well worth a watch.
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Tremors 4: The Legend Begins