Dir: Ron Underwood
Star: Fred Ward, Kevin Bacon, Finn Carter, Michael Gross
Cert / Year: 15 - PG13 / 1990
Format: DVD R2

Perfection, Nevada, population 14, is a small town in the middle of nowhere. Earl (Fred Ward) and Val (Kevin Bacon) are the towns handy men. They fix fences, empty the trash, drain septic tanks, and they have just decided to quit. Unfortunately for them they have left it one day too late to leave town. You see Perfection is just about to be attacked by huge deadly subterranean worm like creatures, and the only road out of town is blocked. With the help of a seismology student (Finn Carter) and the towns folk they must now take on one last job. They have to kill the creatures and save every one!

Many people have described this as a top rate B movie. I think this doesn't do it justice, a B movie indicates a degree of inferiority which just doesn't apply to this film. If anything it is modern interpretation of one of the classic monster films like, for example, Them. It is a simple, well written monster picture.

The idea came from writers Steve S. Wilson and Brent Maddock who had previously penned the Short Circuit films. They together with Ron Underwood approached studios with the backing of executive producer Gale Ann Hurd to fund this film. After a lot of scepticism a small budget around 11 million was given to them. This is where the Gale Ann Hurd connections really came to play as she introduced them to some special effects guys that had worked with her on Aliens.

This film would only work if the monsters were good, and thanks to effects of Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis they are. Underground worm monsters had been done before in David Lunch's adaptation of Dune, however their creatures are creditably different. Before cheap CGI a number of different techniques have been used including mechanical effects, puppets, miniature work, and full scale creatures effects to create the worms, and the end result works well. Especially effective are the scenes in which the worms can be seen disturbing the ground as they move (adding tension and hiding the worms). But this is just one example of the top notch effects used.

So the worms are good what about the victims. At lot depended on the chemistry between Fred Ward and Kevin Bacon and fortunately it is one of the films strongest points. Both actors are really convincing in their roles adding humour and a familiarity between the characters. The rest of the cast are also very good from the ever reliable Victor Wong to new comer Reba McEntire. An outstanding performance is given Michael Gross as survivalist nut Bert Gummer, an interesting character who is developed further in the sequels.

While the plot is hardly original, although the realisation of the monsters is, its the characters and the script that really make this film. A specific type of person lives in a nowhere community like Perfection and a believable set of these type of characters have been created to fill the town. The script also provides some witty dialogue and plenty of thrills. The pace of the movie rarely flags and the action comes thick and fast. One of the most creditable aspects is the refusal to explain the creatures origins, this really helps us believe in the creatures.

This is a very good film. Actors, script, set and effects are combined beautifully to give us a new look at an old type of film. Its a credit to all involved that such a small film has reached such a standard. In concept yes this probably is a B movie, in real life this is better than many of the big budget summer blockbusters. It has been followed by two sequels, one prequel and a short lived television series all of which are well worth watching.


They say there's nothing new under the sun. But under the ground...


Val: That's how they git you. They're under the goddamned ground!

Earl: What kind of fuse is that?
Burt: Cannon fuse.
Earl: What the hell do you use it for?
Burt: My cannon.

Earl: Damn it, listen to me. I'm older and wiser.
Val: Yeah, well you're half right.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Picture 1.85:1 Bright and clear.
Audio Dolby Surround It's really good, would love to hear a new 5.1 mix though.
Features Impressive hour long making of documentary
Effects test footage and an alternative ending
Production Notes
Theatrical Trailer
Cast & Crew Biographies
Verdict Good transfer, and the documentary is well worth watching.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home