As franchises go, the Tremors films have held up pretty well, with five films and a short-lived TV show since 1990. They’ve stayed close to their roots remaining enjoyably silly man vs monster films. After laying dormant for eleven years the property was rebooted in 2015 with TREMORS 5: BLOODLINES with only one original cast member Michael Gross as survivalist Burt Gummer. Now Bert is back in TREMORS: A COLD DAY IN HELL, and it might be one sequel to many.
TREMORS: A COLD DAY IN HELL finds Burt and Travis (Jamie Kennedy SCREAM, TRICK) called to Nunavut, the furthest north of Canada’s territories. Graboids have turned up and are attacking a research station. They have to work with the scientists to figure out why they’re there and, of course, kill them.
Pretty simple right? Sadly, TREMORS: A COLD DAY IN HELL undercuts itself constantly. Despite being set in the Canadian Arctic this was filmed in South Africa. No matter how much tinting and CGI you use sand dunes do not look like snow banks. For everything after the opening sequences, the snow is gone, melted by a heat wave. Yes, the arctic has thawed and it hasn’t affected the rest of the world at all. Not exactly a promising start.
With Burt the only original cast member left, Travis has only been around since the last film, they needed to make more connections to the original films. So one of the scientists turns out to be the daughter of Val and Rhonda from the original TREMORS. But nothing is really done with it. What does connect it to the older films is the number of scenes stolen from them. Stolen and redone in mediocre CGI. I know 1440 is Universal’s DTV/budget division but if you’re making a movie about giant monsters shouldn’t you make them convincing?
Burt himself has really begun to wear thin. He always was a bit of a one note character and it’s starting to grow stale. Maybe they need to convince some of the others to return, or let Travis run solo if there’s another film. That might be the better move, because a semi humorous hero who’s mentally unstable and hoards guns isn’t nearly as amusing when you constantly read about people like him committing mass shootings in the real world.
It may not be time to lay the franchise to rest just yet, but TREMORS: A COLD DAY IN HELL is a big drop in quality from what’s come before.
Universal will release TREMORS: A COLD DAY IN HELL May 1st on DVD and Blu Ray.