Monday, June 27, 2016

MR Tremors 5

Movie: Tremors 5: Bloodlines, originally titled Tremors 5: The Thunder from Down Under, also simply known as Tremors 5
Directed by Don Michael Paul 
Release date October 2015
Genre direct-to-video horror/creature feature film
Country USA

We're at a time where nostalgia seems to be the driving force behind most of our entertainment.

After a brilliant return of the iconic Chucky in a direct-to-video slasher film last Halloween, this past October saw the return of another cult favorite franchise of mine I never thought I would see again.

It's hard to believe it has been over 25 years since the original TREMORS film came out and shook up the big screen screens. And while its original stars Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward have since left the franchise, several sequels would follow in the years after that.

After 4 pretty entertaining movies with dwindling budgets, one being a prequel taking place in the old wild west, and a short lived if fun TV series made by SyFy, Tremors is finally back with another installment, the long-awaited long-rumored 5th film in the series!

Tremors 5: Bloodlines (although it was originally known as Tremors 5: The Thunder from Down Under before its release), this time directed by Lake Placid: The Final Chapter director Don Michael Paul with no more involvement from the original series' creators Brent Maddock and S. S. Wilson.

The film was released on October 6, 2015 directly on home video through Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Really thanks to the push from fans these last few years, making one more Tremors film before the eventual reboot (or more direct-to-video Tremors features? I guess it's too early too tell..). 

What could this series offer aside from a return of more Graboids, this time terrorizing an African wildlife reserve!

Twelve years have passed since we last saw Burt Gummer, survivalist and Graboids' expert, who is now making survival documentaries all around Perfection. One day he is met by this young-ysh filmmaker Travis who came looking for the ol' man to help him expand his brand and offering his services as his new cameraman. Travis says he's apparently from Florida, which reminds Burt some past history he's had there...

People from the South African Wildlife Ministry come asking for the help of Burt Gummer. Apparently they've been dealing with some Graboid problem there. It seems a new batch of Assblasters hatched there! But there didn't seem to be anymore Graboid left...

And so our duo embark on adventure to Africa to hunt down those new creatures terrorizing the place. Sadly the customs kept all the guns Burt brought for the trip.

There are some Assblasters attacking people in this reserve! If there's Assblasters, that meas there might also be some adult Graboids! Strangely these Assblasters seem to come from a different breed from the regular ones from the past, they're bigger, meaner, and even more vicious than usual. This dig site even finds remains of this huge Graboid!

Our heroes befriend some locals including this veterinarian Nandi and her daughter Amahle, they get to bond. Someone is finally able to get Burt some guns, but that's still not enough firepower to kill a Graboid! They find out the people protecting the place are really after capturing them all along.

But people are being eaten left and right, the camp keeps getting attacked. These new Assblasters are really dangerous. It is revealed those guys are really poachers after the Assblasters' eggs to sell those on the black market. They lock Burt in a metal cage in the middle of the desert and leave him stranded under the blazing hot sun. Burt gets delirious, and videotapes his goodbyes. Travis finally rescues him.

Back at the camp the Assblasters attack people, our duo arrives too late on the scene there's blood everywhere!

That is when a full-grown Gravoid attacks them with its mouth-tentacles! Another twist comes their way when Burt discovers those tentacles can actually detach!!! (And it looks like they're really what's been on the cover of all these Tremors films all along!?!) Burt gets annoyed by the surprises the anatomy of the Graboids can still offer. The creature is really after its eggs. Possibly the last African breed of Graboid? They find this nest with dozen more eggs!

This huge mama Graboid, aka "the Queen Bitch" sets after them! Finally armed with a machine gun, they can strike back at the monsters.

And Burt finds out the unnecessary final twist - spoiler alert if you couldn't tell from the start,
Travis is really Burt's son from a one-night-stand he had several years ago back in Florida!

The film ends with an all-out shout-out against the last Assblasters in the village and the adult Graboid stranding them under siege with tentacles and all after the egg. And Travis uses his motorcycle skills hinted throughout the film to use the thunder to electrify the Queen Bitch!

Tremors 5 marks the first new Tremors produced in 11 years!

While the original creators didn't return for the occasion, the film was based on some early concepts S.S Wilson and Brent Maddock developed back in 2004 which they actually meant for Tremors 4 originally.

At first the film was set to mark the return of Kevin Bacon who's been talking about making another Tremors for a while and even Fred Ward showed some interest returning to the franchise, but both ended up skipping this one.

The film was actually filmed in a real life wildlife reserve in South Africa, using volunteers as extras on the set.

It's a great return to a franchise I missed so much. It's great and fun to see these creatures and characters again.

The film even features some little odd nods to Jurassic Park, possibly because of Jurassic World, which kinda work for the series.

I like how the film didn't really try forcing another stage in the Graboid's lifecycle. Apart from a few more details we get regarding the Assblaster stage laying eggs and this Queen Graboid, which you can explain by the different breed but it's just more of the same, thankfully. As a "monster feature" film I couldn't see a Tremors film using anything else besides more Graboids on screen. Instead they used the different breed as an excuse to change the designs a little, which works better in my eyes.

Tremors 5 stars the always fun Michael Gross as Burt Gummer, newcomer comedian Jamie Kennedy as Travis, as well as Pearl Thusi, Rea Rangaka, Brandon Auret, Nolitha Zulu, Daniel Janks, Natalie Becker as well as Emmanuel Castis.

Michael Gross is such a fun likeable actor, he truly made all these five Tremors films (and the TV show!) enjoyable, he's always fun and always makes the best out of his dialogues, never a caricature even if he can act a little cartoony. Jamie Kennedy made better than I feared, he makes a likable asshole out of his character, even though he's just playing the Kevin Bacon-type all these Tremors films always have. Honestly I could see his character really return for a possible Tremors 6.

Burt is of course the real star who always steals the show. The rest of the cast was decent if a bit forgettable aside from a few of the villains. Aside from the Graboids, the scene-stealer is always Burt Gummer with Michael Gross clearly having a lot of fun playing this gun-crazy Burt character all these years.

Tremors always makes for such a fun enjoyable silly monster film series. This one tries to recaptures a little more of the serious tone the first film had. While it works for the most part, I didn't find the film as fun as the other films.

Also I was expecting a little more out of modern monster effects. They're great, but they could have been done a bit better. Some scenes came out a bit cheap like the SyFy sequels despite the years.

The move to South Africa didn't change the Tremors formula.

I liked how they used the bipedal Graboid form to play of Jurassic Park. We get a nice shoutout to that familiar kitchen scene, even the tension in the finale seems to take a page from Jurassic Park 3. But since both are Universal Studios proprieties I guess that's ok.

There's some humor and the change of location works for the story. It didn't even seem to contradict much of the Tremors TV series, even though they did not make any real allusions to it.

Frederik Wiedmann's music feels slightly more restrained than past the score of past Tremors features (I mean it's not even as memorable or catchy as the short live TV series'), but it work in the context of this new film.

Overall, Tremors 5: Bloodlines is a fairly decent comeback for everyone's favorite giant prehistoric subterrane worm! A nice return to form for the series.

It's probably the only sequel to date that had production values as good as the original film, even though it does feels like a direct-to-video film. But it was great fun film. I really Recommend checking it out if you're either a fan of the genre or the original film!

Fun fact: Fans played a big part just in this film getting made in the first place. They even had fans vote to decide on the design of the DVD/Bluray's cover art!

While the success of this film both financially and critically strangely didn't bring up any talks for more Tremors movie (nor for the long-rumored sequel Kevin Bacon himself had been trying to get up running), Universal's been instead more interested into making a whole new Tremors TV series again! And discussions are moving forward in that direction. With Ash Vs. Evil Dead, as well as talks of a new Friday the 13th and even Critters TV series is that the sign of classic horror series making the jump to a serial format? It would be a partnership between Universal Television and Blumhouse Productions. Somehow Kevin Bacon appears to still be attached to the project. But whatever comes next they better not ditch Burt Gummer/Michael Gross' character if they bring back Bacon's character Val from the first film. He's stuck with the franchise so far throughout the decades, they better not drop Burt Gummer I tell ya!

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Gojiras!

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