Val and Earl are two handymen who work in the town that time forgot, Perfection, Nevada; a town that was ironically named by its founding fathers. The fourteen residents are made up of out of work television actors, out of work country singers, out of work Asian actors, and Kevin Bacon, who is so obsessed with eliminating degrees of separation, he did this film.
Val and Earl are always looking to get rich quick and are tiring of their hand-to-mouth existence of digging trenches, moving trash, and literally, taking care of other people’s shit. (Pardon my French.) Apparently, this was not the life that was promised them in the brochure. One afternoon, after taking a hot shit shower, they attempt to make their escape to Bixby, the nearest town. Along the way they discover a man dead at the top of an electrical tower. Val and Earl take the dead geezer to the town doctor, who lives nowhere near the town. They about shit themselves (pardon my French), when the doctor, announces that the man died of dehydration. After the slight delay, Val and Earl start off for Bixby for a second time, but once again, are stopped when they discover Old Fred and his flock of sheep brutally murdered. Instead of high tailing it out of there, the two bumbling retards head back to Perfection, believing that a murderer is on the loose. Begging the question, isn’t there a better way to avoid being killed than staying in the area where the serial killer is hunting?
Meanwhile, our unseen subterranean killer offs the good doctor and his wife, and a couple of construction workers, effectively closing off Perfection from the 20th Century literally as well as figuratively. The residents of Perfection soon find out that the phones are dead and send Val and Earl off to Bixby again. When they can’t get past a rockslide created during the death of the construction workers, Val and Earl return to Perfection along with a large snakelike creature wrapped around their axle. The residents of Perfection are as clever as the writers of this film and call the creatures “Graboids”.
The next morning, Val and Earl leave on horseback to try to get help. Along the way, they discover the doctor’s buried car, and are attacked by a huge phallic creature with a mouth like a vagina. Except with snake tongues. Somewhat like Courtney Love, but with a darker complexion. Thrown from their horses, the handymen run for their lives from this wormlike reject from Dune. When they jump a concrete aqueduct their pursuer rams into its concrete wall, killing itself. Rhonda, the visiting seismologist and the only character to have apparently graduated high school, comes across Val and Earl, and informs them that there are three more creatures in the area based on her seismic readings. As the trio attempt to get back to Rhonda’s truck, they are attacked by another Courtney Love, and are forced to find shelter on a cluster of boulders. Once there, they realize the creatures have extremely acute hearing, and can sense the trio due to their vibrations. However, the Graboids cannot tunnel through rock. Eventually, they are able to get to Rhonda’s truck and make it back to the perceived safety of Perfection, with its mobile homes and buildings without concrete foundations.
However, Val, Earl, and Rhonda are followed back to Perfection by the three remaining Graboids. Val and Earl’s truck is soon disabled, and Walter, the Chinese shop owner, is eaten by a creature that comes up through Walter’s wooden floor. Graboids love Chinese food. Unfortunately, the monster is hungry again mere minutes later, and come after the remaining citizens of Perfection. The Graboids begin to pick apart the town, causing everyone to head to higher ground.
While the citizens of Perfection attempt to get as far off the ground as possible, the Gummers, a couple of government fearing, Republican, gun-enthusiasts return to their secluded home after unsuccessfully hunting the “snake-things.” Bert and Reba contact the others via CB radio, but the noise of the couple’s tumbler leads a Graboid to smash into their basement. The Gummers kill it with an elephant gun, but another of the monsters disables their vehicle, stranding the couple on their roof.
Realizing that the town is being dug out from under them, Val and Earl grow a brain and realize that what they really do need to get the hell out of town. They formulate a plan to escape on a Semi trailer with flat tires pulled by a slow moving bulldozer, which apparently is too heavy for the Graboids to move. Why do they know this? Fuck if I know. (Pardon my French.) They just presume that it is too heavy to move although the Graboids have no problem tearing down the town. Val runs for bulldozer, and reaches it with the help of the distraction by the others. Once everyone is collected, they all set out for the safety of a nearby mountain range.
But the Graboids, unlike the citizens of Perfection are quick learners, and they dig a trap in the bulldozer’s path, wrecking it and stranding all the people. The townsfolk use Burt’s home-made explosives to drive the creatures away long enough to reach the safety of a boulder, where Earl has another idea: tricking the Graboids into swallowing Burt’s bombs. This works once, but on the second try the last Graboid spits the explosive onto Burt’s pile of bombs, sending everyone scattering. Val, Earl and Rhonda are stranded yards from the boulder, with Courtney Love blocking their path to safety. Val has one more bomb and one last idea: he lets the Graboid chase him to the edge of a cliff and “stampedes” it with the bomb, then jumps out of its way, sending it through the cliff-face to its death. The group returns to town, and Earl pushes Val into approaching the clearly interested Rhonda romantically. Come on, she is the best looking girl in town.