Tremors 2: Aftershocks
directed by S.S. Wilson
(Stampede, 1996)

Tremors 2: Aftershocks picks up the story a few years after the first film. Val married Rhonda and has dropped out of sight, desiring to never see another graboid. Earl (Fred Ward) spent all his money from the video game and magazine articles on two ostriches and a farm, with plans to begin ostrich breeding. Unfortunately, the male has no interest in the female and Earl is strapped for cash. When the Mexican government contacts him about a graboid eradication job, he accepts their $50,000 per graboid offer and heads to Chiapas, where the largest oil refinery in the country has been shut down due to graboid infestation. Only a few people remain, including the company's geologist, Kate White Reilly (Helen Shavers).

Grady Hoover (Christopher Gartin), Earl's goofball No. 1 fan, joins Earl in the adventure. But when the seismograph monitors reveal an overwhelming number of graboids, Earl decides they need help. He calls Burt (Michael Gross). Heather has left Burt and he welcomes the chance to get out of the house and do something "constructive." He arrives with an Army deuce and a half truck loaded with everything from elephant guns to HE explosives. They think they are ready for war.

Suddenly, the graboids begin a weird metamorphosis. Each gives birth to three new creatures that resemble a dodo bird on steroids. These new creatures emit a piercing scream that gets them named "shriekers." They are terrestrial creatures that attack anything giving off heat, including Burt's deuce and a half. This is an entirely different creature and the men have to figure out how to kill them while learning the particulars of their species.

Undertones of romance develop between Earl and Kate, while Burt cracks us up with his video account of the adventure. The funniest thing you will ever see in your life is Burt arriving back at base after being ambushed by shriekers! He sums it up in his own unique way: "I feel I was denied critical need-to-know information."

The shriekers are hermaphrodites that reproduce by regurgitating offspring as soon as they eat. Crisis begins when a shrieker that was caught on the spare tire beneath Burt's truck gets into his 1,200 pounds of MREs. He manages to capture that herd of shriekers in a warehouse, only to decipher the Spanish and learn that the building is filled with junk food and rice flour. Now the group really has a problem! How will they be able to eradicate the shriekers when all the weapons are in the truck ... in the warehouse with all the food?

I preferred this episode to the first. Kate is a stronger female lead, and Shaver plays the role to absolute perfection. She gives a first-rate performance with credible actions and reactions. I also prefer Grady over Val. Grady is a bit more bumbling, but there is a better chemistry between him and Earl, and between Ward and Gross. Once again, the action keeps you enthralled, but the horror aspect is never really scary. This trilogy uses the unknown and sudden appearances to spook you. It builds the suspense to a peak and then lets you down gently, in the manner of the classic gothic horror movies of the 1950s and '60s, while keeping the gore to a minimum. These stars are definitely stellar!

This is a must-see trilogy. Get it today and enter the world of the metamorphing giant worm.

by Alicia Karen Elkins

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