Usually, when a franchise gets to its sixth installment, there is a noticeable dip in quality. It can also be tough sometimes to jump in at number six, having skipped several of the previous installments. I was surprised to discover that none of this was the case with “Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell.”
Yes, this is the sixth movie of a franchise that started way back in 1990 with a movie starring Kevin Bacon. I remember that first movie fondly and even went on to see the second and third in the series. But since that third movie in 2001, it’s fallen off my radar. It wasn’t until after I watched this movie that I found out that I missed two other movies since that third one.
But one of the nice things about this movie is that you don’t need to have intimate knowledge of the entire series to get enjoyment out of this one. In fact, I would argue that you may not even have to see the original movie, though I recommend it at least for some context concerning a particular character here.
This movie does a surprisingly good job of giving us the information we need to move along with the story and not be worried about being confused or even bogged down in exposition. Don’t mistake my praise of this movie, it’s decent but not a great movie. It does seem to know that it is a direct to video sequel and doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are plenty of jokes at its expense as well as about the subject matter. I especially love the way it is shot with “epic” style camera angles and slow motion when something epic happens. It gives the movie a cinematic feel that other B movies just don’t go for very often.
To sum up what we’re dealing with here, the movie centers around a man named Burt Gummer (Michael Gross), who has made a reputation for himself as a hunter and killer of giant, man-eating worms called graboids. Burt is a recurring character who has appeared in every movie of the franchise except part four.
Up until now, these creatures have only been known to live in desert climates. Now they are found in the Arctic and Burt is called in, along with his son, Travis (Jamie Kennedy), to travel to Canada and take out the monsters. There they meet a bunch of scientists with various skills including a young woman named Valerie McKee (Jamie-Lee Money) who is an expert on graboids and the daughter of Kevin Bacon’s character from the first movie.
But story isn’t really why this franchise has survived six installments. It’s the variety of monster attacks and crazy explosions they can come up with, and this movie doesn’t disappoint on that front.
The climax alone is so crazy and ridiculous that most serious movies wouldn’t attempt it. But this thankfully isn’t one of those movies and pulls it off beautifully.
For a straight to video movie, the special effects are fairly impressive and look better than any of the “Sharknado” movies. There is plenty of stupid dialogue to go with some stupid situations, but there is also a good amount of fun, witty stuff going on as well. I turned on this movie expecting to be bored or insulted by it. But instead, I found myself having a good time with this movie and smiling all the way through.
“Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell” is a good movie to watch with your feet up, beer in hand and brain firmly in the “off” position.
I give this movie 3.5 out of 5 stars.
“Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell” is rated PG-13 and has a running time of 98 minutes.