16th May2018

‘Tremors: Cold Day in Hell’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Michael Gross, Jaime Kennedy, Tanya van Graan, Greg Kriek, Jay Anstey | Written by John Whelpley | Directed by Don Michael Paul

tremors-6-blu

In this, the sixth film in the long-running Tremors franchise, Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) and his son Travis Welker (Jamie Kennedy) are called to a research facility in the frozen tundra of the Canadian Arctic. They find themselves up to their ears in Graboids and Ass-Blasters investigating a series of deadly giant-worm attacks. Burt begins to suspect that Graboids are secretly being weaponized, but before he can prove his theory, he is side-lined by Graboid venom. With just 48 hours to live, the only hope is to create an antidote from fresh venom – but to do that, someone will have to figure out how to milk a Graboid.

OK, so we’re on the sixth film in the series and the second to feature Jaime Kennedy… Which is not a put down on Kennedy (I’m a HUGE fan of his films in particular Kickin’ It Old School, which I can – and have – watched repeatedly) but to say that by now Tremors isn’t what it used to be would be an understatement. The change of scenery, eschewing the desert for the snow of Canada, is a great idea this but the chemistry between Kennedy and Gross isn’t a patch on any of the previous pairings – instead Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell becomes something of a Kennedy versus Gross p*ssing contest to see who the real star!

What’s worse is that this film also sees an appearance from Val’s daughter. You remember Val right? Aka Kevin Bacon from the first Tremors movie and the very recent attempt to reboot the franchise as a series on Syfy… Well they say the character Val’s daughter but beyond her knowledge of the Graboids she could’ve been absolutely anyone. She’s that generic. I’d like to think Val’s name was used in order to please long-time fans but instead of pleasing it just seems like a cheap throwaway reference and is a more of a slap in the face after what happened with the aborted Syfy series!

There’s not much substance to Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell either. A new locale and some shady government types attempting to turn Graboids into weapons does NOT make for a compelling film. Instead the movie is a series of man versus monster set pieces, strung together with the flimsiest of scripts, and one that feels like it was created around the visuals instead of the other way round. Yes, the idea that Burt Gummer has been living with a Graboid infection is an intriguing one but said idea eventually becomes something of a mockery for all involved – after all who wants to see the legendary Graboid-killer Burt Gummer reduced to a cheap “naked butt” gag?

As a long-time fan of Tremors, both the films the old 2003 TV show iteration, Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell was something of a major disappointment. It’s clear now, after the fifth and sixth films, that the loss of Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson from the production has been a major blow for the franchise and maybe it’s time to put it to rest.

Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell is out now on DVD and Blu-ray.

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