Thursday, October 22, 2015

Duck and Cover, Here Comes Tremors 5: A Film Review

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*full disclosure: a Blu-ray screener of this film was provided by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment for review.

Director: Don Michael Paul.

Writers: M.A. Deuce, C.J. Strebor, William Truesmith and John Whelpley.

Cast: Michael Gross, Jamie Kennedy.

More than ten years after the last Tremors film, Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, (which is actually a prequel) the flesh-hungry graboids are back for more blood! Too bad nobody cares. This fifth film in the series is a sequel to Tremors 3: Back to Perfection. Even with the return of franchise star Michael Gross ("Family Ties") as Burt Gummer, and the addition of another horror franchise star, Jamie Kennedy, (Scream series) almost nothing is salvageable from the wreckage of this unnecessary fifth installment. Admittedly, this viewer has not seen any of the Tremors sequels, but thoroughly enjoyed the 1990 original, so was hoping for at least some cheesy B-Movie-type entertainment. Unfortunately, entertainment was not high on the agenda of these filmmakers.

This film takes us from the Nevada desert to South Africa, more specifically, to the World Heritage Site of the Cradle of Humankind. Crawling with limestone caves, this location would seem suitable for the graboids to inhabit, but this viewer believes that the location was selected due to a big budget from Universal Pictures, allowing the team to incorporate African wildlife and a cool backdrop into an otherwise uninteresting story. Though picturesque, the location does not serve the story well. In fact, it seems that beautiful South Africa acts as a distraction from the tale. Given how terrible the story is, this may have been intentional.

Gross returns to the series as Burt Gummer.

Due to his legendary monster-slaying prowess, Burt Gummer has been chosen to take on the graboid beasts yet again, this time traveling to another continent. While Tremors fans will be pumped to see Michael Gross resume his role as the crazed hunter/survivalist, they will be let down by the fact that his acting skills are overshadowed by the film's lack of craftsmanship and overdone effects. Jamie Kennedy is an interesting choice for Gummer's sidekick, Travis Welker. While Kennedy and Gross have decent chemistry, regrettably, the cheesy dialogue between the two seems forced, and too many other characters crowd the performances, making it near impossible to form any connections. In fact, other than Burt Gummer, there really isn't a character to root for, except for maybe the graboids.

Speaking of graboids, as expected, these monsters look pretty badass but their presence is not nearly as prominent as it should be. The infamous “ass blasters” also reappear in this sequel but, again, without much of an impact. The kills in this film are actually quite artsy—a silhouette and some blood splatters often take the place of a visible attack. Though the artsy effects are impressive, a monster movie deserves some straight-up chomping and devouring. The monsters in this film seem to serve the purpose of having wicked special effects for a ridiculously big budget film, but at what cost? Special effects are certainly imperative within the genre, and vary depending on the look the filmmakers are going for, but how far can they carry a film? Where 2002's Eight Legged Freaks did an excellent job of blending characters, story, plot and effects, Tremors 5: Bloodlines pours everything into esthetics which actually makes it annoying to watch.

While fans of the franchise may be intrigued enough to see Tremors 5, saying they won't like it would be a staggering understatement. The plot is weak, along with the majority of the characters, and yet again we have a horror film plugging money into the wrong departments. Although awesome effects are great, the film is lacking on so many other levels, namely storytelling. The writers work hard at squeezing in tributes to cult films like Die Hard, Jurassic Park and, quite obviously, Hellraiser: Bloodline, but these extras only emphasize how terrible and unoriginal the script is. Try writing your own stuff!

There comes a time in a series when you have to stop. You want to leave when the party's getting going, so fans will remember you fondly. Unfortunately, Tremors stayed far too long at the party. In fact, this film made the series into that guest that not only won't leave, but won't shut the hell up! Go away, Tremors, and please don't come back, unless you manage to get Kevin Bacon on board.

Rating: 5/10.

Kenna has her own personal blog here:

Kenna Rae at Hey Kenna Rae

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Recommended release: Eight Legged Freaks at Amazon


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