movie film review | chris tookey


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Tookey's Rating
8 /10
Average Rating
6.91 /10
Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter
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Directed by: Ron Underwood
Written by: Brent Maddock, S.S. Wilson

Released: 1989
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 96

A small town is threatened by giant worms.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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The best monster movie of the 1980s. While it may not be the scariest, the consistently ingenious plot has more than its share of thrills, the special effects are excellent, and it's enormous fun. Whereas most films in the genre take place in semi-darkness, director Ron Underwood follows the great ant-movie, Them! (1954), and lends a sinister dimension to American exteriors in broad daylight. The first corpse we see is of a man who has died of thirst, having been chased up a telegraph pole and stayed there for three days. Itís an image which sums up the movie: quirky, funny, yet oddly disturbing.

The movie also departs from convention by allowing its characters to behave normally (in other words, eccentrically), even when confronted by the threat of homicidal, 30-foot long, smelly, subterranean sandworms which can swallow a station-wagon for elevenses. An odious teenage boy is principally interested in being photographed next to one of the monsters' severed tentacles; the Chinese owner of the local store shrewdly buys off its discoverers for 15 bucks; two Rambo-style survivalists use the critters as an excuse to show off their comically enormous arsenal of weapons; while other townspeople just bicker over what they ought to call the monsters. Even the local intellectual - a female seismologist - isn't the infallible authority she is in most monster movies: she can't decide whether the creatures were caused by radiation, were government-built, or came from outer space. The one thing certain about them is, as one character remarks, "no way are these local boys."

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