Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Total Tremors Tuesday
October should be spent surrounded by creatures and spirits. I've done a pretty good job so far of doing just that, cramming at least one Halloween-appropriate flick into each day. The month started with giant naked ghouls hellbent on devouring mankind [Attack on Titan (2015)], and has since featured alien drug-dealers, cannibals, and half-man/half-fly hybrids. All perfectly macabre viewing material, paired with plenty of treats and the occasional group of friends. With the first week of my favorite season nearly at its end, seemingly passing by far too quickly, I have to pause in order to appreciate something really special.
The return of the Graboids.
Today marks the release of Tremors 5: Bloodlines, the latest installment of the Tremors franchise, and the first sequel in over ten years. I'd only recently become aware of the film's existence thanks to a trailer someone had posted a couple months back. Still, the last few weeks were spent wild with anticipation, counting down the days like it was the second coming of Christ or a new Star Wars movie or something. I grew up a huge fan of the original Tremors (1990); it was one of those oddball horror flicks that my dad couldn't wait to share with me. And since my teens were spent haunting the local video store, there were plenty of days spent familiarizing myself with the first sequel, Tremors 2: Aftershocks (1996). A couple more sequels and a short-lived television series later, and it was safe to declare myself in love with the entire franchise.
Returning alongside the Graboids is Michael Gross, reprising his role of gun-crazy "monster hunter" Burt Gummer. What started as a secondary role in the first two Tremors, Gross has since become the backbone of the entire franchise, appearing in all five films [he played Burt's ancestor, Hiram Gummer, in the 2004 prequel, Tremors 4: The Legend Begins], as well as every episode of the TV series. It's his performance as Burt that elevates even the weakest entry, and it saves Tremors 5 from being just another CG-heavy monster movie.
The plot this time around finds Burt and his latest sidekick, Travis Welker [Jamie Kennedy], traveling to South Africa to deal with a sudden "ass-blaster" infestation at a wild-life preserve. Despite their constant bickering, the two must work together when they instead discover a mutant strain of Graboids that prove more a challenge than even the veteran monster-hunter had been anticipating. There are a few random twists along the way, as well as a handful of homages and one hilarious call-back to the original Tremors that I absolutely loved.
The end result is a serviceable addition to the franchise mythos, but there's little there that's note-worthy outside of Michael Gross' performance. Jamie Kennedy adds almost nothing to the proceedings, and I'd much rather have seen some familiar faces from the series' twenty-five year history in his place. While it's unlikely that Kevin Bacon will ever return as Val, it probably wouldn't have been too difficult to wrangle either Christopher Gartin [Grady Hoover from Part II] or Shawn Christian [Jack Sawyer in Part III] into making appearances.
Hell, I would have settled for a cameo from Melvin.