Film (1989). No Frills/Wilson-Maddock/Universal. Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd. Directed by Ron Underwood. Written by S S Wilson, Brent Maddock from a story by Wilson, Maddock, Underwood. Cast includes Kevin Bacon, Finn Carter and Fred Ward. 96 minutes. Colour.
A thinly populated valley in the Nevada desert is ravaged by 4 monstrous subterranean worm creatures, apparently possessed of some intelligence, which are finally destroyed by the courage and wit of the handful of local residents, along with a woman seismologist, who survive the initial attacks. This unambitious, textbook Monster Movie is notable for good dialogue and ensemble acting and for its very convincing Monsters, usually seen in broad daylight: a triumph of the special-effects teams. However, the monsters are hardly convincing as sf: arbitrary and unexplained – and probably "pre-dating the fossil record" – they have no apparent food-source underground to enable them to grow so big. They are very like the sandworms in Frank Herbert's Dune (fixup 1965) in appearance and in their sensitivity to vibration. [PN]
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