By: Justin Hopkins
Going off the release of Shrieker Island. Now seemed like a good as time as any to do pull out a ranking list. I know, I know, it is cliché, but it is that special time of year and any reason to marathon my way through the seven, is a good enough reason for me. So, lets dive in all the good and bad of a franchise that have had so tremendous highs and some rock bottom lows.
Tremors 5 – BLOODLINES
Where do I even begin with this movie. Pretty hyped for it. Was eleven years since we got the The Legends Begins and the thought of Burt returning to fight Graboids was a delightful thought and was woefully disappointed. Jaime Kennedy wasn’t bad, but having him be Burt’s Son was not the best use of his time we will say, like I said. He didn’t do bad. A better script would have helped way more than a surprise Dad reveal. The changes they made to the Graboid and the Ass Blaster look terrible. Especially the Ass Blaster. Having the Graboids leaping out of the ground was another bad move. Just nothing about this movie was appealing.
Tremors 6 – Cold Day In Hell
This was a lot better on second viewing then it was my first go around. Still not that good, but better and at least watchable. Taking it up to the artic was an interesting touch. The poison was a bit if a stretch. A lot of characters have been caught up by their tongues and soaked in their blood and guts. Burt being the only one poisoned is a big stretch, but did allow a much needed change of pace from the simple kill them at all cost to catch one alive. Still say the son angle was unnecessary but Jaime did better with it here. Wish they would have one more with Val and Rhonda’s Daughter. Bring someone like that in and she just seemed to have such a bit part. She does some things, but mostly just there to name drop Val and having to see the terrible looking Ass Blasters did no favors, but still a fun watch.
Tremors 4 – The Legend Begins
I probably have the least amount to say about this film. It’s just okay. Taking the film to the old west was a fun move. Limited the guns and then some, by add Michael Gross as Hirm Gummer, his ancestor who was not big on guns in the first place. It was fine. Nothing much to say.
Tremors 7 – Shrieker Island
The newest to the franchise, which may very well mark the end and was such a vast turn around from 5 and 6. Have already raved enough in my review so I will keep it short. For everything I thought Jon Heder was going to be, he proved to be the exact opposite and was a great addition to the story. Fun characters and the Shriekers looked great. It had some fun kills and if it was good bye to Burt, it was a good way to say good bye.
Tremors 3 – Back To Perfection
From here out it gets real tough. On any given day, including as I am typing this. Still questioning my own ranking of the top three. Personally, three is my favorite of the bunch, but even I am not going to say it should be top of the list. The Ass Blasters look amazing and is an exciting final stage for the Graboid to take. The idea of them taking the eggs far out to lay and spread the Graboids to various spots around the world. Heading back to Perfection, along with returns from Charlotte Stewart, Ariana Richards, Tony Genaro and of course, Michael Gross. Desert Jack and Susan Chang were good, but it was also the third love story that played out the same exact way and kind of hurt it a bit, but Back To Perfection is still a great, fun monster movie.
Thirty years and the first still stands up so well today. It is just a classic movie. Everyone brought their A game and made Perfection seem like a real place. With their own eccentricities and personalities all coming together to Everyone in the town all working in unison to try and overcome the underground menace that Walter Chang christens, Graboids. The monsters are great. The Underground worms with snake like tongues are amazing. The learning curve making them an ever growing threat. If someone was to tell me that this should be number 1. Wouldn’t argue. It is a classic for a reason. Just couldn’t put it there myself.
Tremors 2 – Aftershocks
I love everything about this movie. They build on the ground work they made in the first and ran with it here. Return of Earl and how creative the remote control cars were. Add a life cycle to the graboids with the introduction of the Shriekers. We get to see the start of who Burt Gummer was really going to become. The chemistry between Michael Gross and Fred Ward was tremendous. Grady’s humor has never been duplicated. Chris Gartin didn’t try to redo what Kevin Bacon did, but made it his own and the movie was better for it. Put it all together and Tremors 2 Aftershocks takes the crown for the best Tremors film in the franchise.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
It seems only fitting that we get the seventh entry into the Tremor Movie Franchise, being that we had the Thirtieth Anniversary of the first Tremors back in January of this year. Wish I could say I went in with any kind of hope. I love the Tremors series and hold the first three close to my heart and didn’t think 4 was all that bad either, but five really drove things to the ground. Six was a little better but as more and more came out about the seventh. My hope was dwindling. Still, wasn’t going to turn it away. Any series is one away from getting new life. Lets dive in and see if Shrieker Island was the shot it needed to be.
The movie kicks off with a kid racing his way through the jungle. Leading something back to a group of waiting Hunters, Lead by a Biotech Executive named Billy on his Island and assistant Anna and a group of rich guys on a trophy hunt. Going after a Graboid. One of four that Billy had brought to the island in an egg. That he had genetically enhanced to be peak killers to heighten the thrill of the hunt. They managed to take it down with poison darts. Planning on finishing it off despite concerns from Anna. Meanwhile on another island, we go to Jas and a group of scientists electronically tagging elephants. Lead by Jimmy, who is hungover from a night of light drinking. When Jas, already on edge from an Earthquake, sees Bill’s boat, she gets curious about what is going on over there and with Jimmy and Ishimon, goes to investigate. Finding the half buried Graboid with three holes inside it. Surrounded by suspicious noises, they try to escape but not before Ishimon is killed. Jas and Jimmy manage to make it back to the boat. She is going to confront Billy, but sends him to go and get Burt Gummer who is in isolation Papua New Guinea. While she learns that Billy is not going to call off the hunt, but has jammed the communications grid and she can’t call out for help. Luckily, Jimmy had a bit of success convincing a reluctant Burt to come and help. Which almost comes undone when he comes face to face with Jas, who turns out to be the Mother of Burt’s Son. They manage to get him to stay, but he has to go it with no weapons and an already tense stand-off with Billy. Finally getting over to the island, where they learn that the shriekers are even more dangerous due to the genetic changes have allowed them to weaponize their screeches and on top of that, the remaining graboids have made it off the island and that is where I will leave it for now
Shrieker Island was a vast improvement on the last two.. three even. Taking it back to more darker, horror centric roots. Playing up the suspense of never knowing when a Graboid or Shrieker would show up. Especially, the Shriekers. Treating them like expert pact hunters and expertly picking people off at opportune moments. You had some jokes here or there, but seemed more based around Jimmy being nervous and trying to keep face then trying to force a joke for the sake of having a joke. Stripping him of his weapons. Forcing him to go back to basics was a nice touch as well. Even adding the line about finger print scanners on all Bill’s guns to explain why he couldn’t raid his supply for guns. Could tell a lot went into putting together a good story and for the most part, works really well.
I have not not been the biggest fan of how the Graboids have looked since five. Kind of deal where too much detail has hurt them. As opposed to the simple designers from the earlier ones, but the Queen actually looks decent and they nailed it with the look of the Shriekers. Making them slimmer and more compact. Able to camouflage and hide themselves to the forest. While still keeping the icon look at the same time.
I can go on and on about how great Michael Gross has been as Burt Gummer. Has stepped into a role and got more out of it than nearly anyone else. So, lets talk about some others instead, like Jon Heder. One of the biggest concerns about this movie. Getting flashbacks of Jaime Kennedy being signed, but was pleasantly surprised by his performance. He came across as earnest. Peaceful guy who wanted the best for everyone and loved his repeated leadership tips. Acting as a guide for him to continue to try his best when he is scared. Jackie Cruz was delightful as the hard edged Freddy. She was really the standout in quite a few scenes she was in. If the series goes on, which we’ll get into a bit, would love to see her and Jon Heder take up the reigns. Richard Brake is excellent as the creepy villain as he is.
Negative wise, is that as good as some of the things were. It could have been better with a bit more time and focus. Burt bringing up that the Queen is targeting it’s victims and at the end, is only interested in Burt. Which is an interest prospect, but didn’t do enough to build on that dynamic then a line or two. Things were just put on pause while Burt and Jimmy went to seal with the Shriekers when they could have had a team up scene between Freddie and Anna. Which could have been amazing. Could have done more if they would have shot for the two hour marker, without losing momentum.
And now we got to talk about the end. So, if you haven’t seen it, skip this paragraph. I didn’t really believe it at first. Expecting to see Burt come up out of the rubble or post credit scene explaining how he faked it to finally buy his privacy. Couldn’t believe that they actually killed Burt. Such an iconic character who has kept the torch going on the series for so long. Reason why I love these movies so much in the first place. No matter how bad the script was, always brought a hundred percent and going to miss him.
I would suggest checking out Tremors Shrieker Island. Especially if you have been a fan of the series. Really shakes off the stench of the last two and gives potentially a fitting end to the series in general. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.