Horror Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell (2018) 7/10

Jethro

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Jan 21, 2013
"Take a couple of tablespoons of cement and harden the hell up!" - Burt Gummer

Burt is now running Chang's Market, which appears to be all that is left of Perfection, Nevada. On the bright side his estranged son Travis is also working in the business, on the darker side of the high powered rifle Burt has run afoul of the IRS and owes a butt load of back taxes. Meanwhile in Canada's Nunavut Territory a remote geological research team are coming under attack by Graboids with scientists being eaten left, right, and centre. Who you going to call, naturally one of the grad students Valerie McKee is a keen follower of Burt's exploits and puts a call in on the bat phone to the grisly old monster hunter. Burt's wingman Travis also signs on board much to Burt's initial annoyance, but Travis argues that Burt needs to pass on his skills.

Naturally as soon as they arrive in the airs above Nunavut Territory team Gummer come under attack by an Ass Blaster. After a forced landing Bert and Travis meet the local bad guys, a Government geological team, which Burt immediately decides are involved in some clandestine operation to weaponise the Graboids. Naturally deaths ensue, we discover why Graboids are inhabiting the Canadian Arctic circle, and Travis has to go above and beyond to save Burt's life. Slime time folks, let's lock and load.

Wow after a fourteen year gap, Downunder, we finally got some new Tremors action which surprisingly was two straight to disc movies fired off in quick succession. Sometimes it sucks to live Downunder but at least we finally got the movies. A Cold Day in Hell is the latest movie in the franchise and I got to say it has me excited to see what comes next, fingers crossed we haven't finished with the Graboids, hey we got a spare bedroom if anyone wants to come down here to make the Aussie episode! For those wondering, yes there was a short lived television series, no it didn't even last a season, and as of writing there doesn't appear to be anyone seriously thinking of revisiting the concept even with Kevin Bacon showing a lot of interest.

Director Don Michael Paul delivers one hell of a movie that certainly had me saluting the umpire. The pace doesn't let up and is so even it wouldn't fall off a side table, this is one movie that you will fall into following the opening credits and won't emerge till the closing credits roll. What surprised me was Paul also directed the previous less than fantastic outing Tremors 5: Bloodlines, guess I'm going to put it down to scribe John Whelpley going solo while Bloodlines was wrought by a committee of writers. It's a movie truism in my misguided opinion that the more cooks you have meddling in the writing of a movie the less impressive the final movie will be in the consumption. So two thumbs up for writer John Whelpley who provides director Paul with a hell of a decent script, the dude nails the requirements that allow the Director to lock and load on a decent movie.

Unfortunately there are a few issues with the movie that while they didn't take me out of the movie had me wondering if some more work should have gone into things on set and in post-production. And hey people are saying we only promote the positives around here! Anyone up for some slow motion, you are going to love this one, the Producers are way into slow mo flying dirt, no I am not kidding. Slow motion certainly has its own place in the cinema firmament, shout out to Edgar Wright, but in this Tremors movie it is almost as if they are padding the running time with it.

Where the movie really starts breaking down is in the acting department, okay a few of the characters might be cardboard cut outs, but hell I could out act some of the cast. Naturally Michael Gross brings the full Bert Gummer and seems to be having a lot of fun with the role. The character offers much needed continuity between the movies since he is the only recurrent character throughout the series. And I'm not going to be harsh on Jamie Kennedy reprising his role of Travis from the previous movie, as I think the franchise directors are planning on Kennedy to keep things rolling through future movies. But hell not a lot to be had from the rest of the cast whose abilities in this movie range from ham fisted to strictly average.

Guess everyone will be wondering about the monsters, we once again only get the Graboids and Arse Blasters though I was pretty sure there was a third stage to the lifecycle that seems to have disappeared over the last couple of movies. Must do some research into that, or forget about it five minutes after publishing this review. Okay bear with me here, a major attack on A Cold Day in Hell has centered on the Graboid design. The big worms in this movie are the same design as the ones used in the previous movie, said movie stating the design was an African variant from the original U.S one. In Cold Day we are told we are dealing with the original from the mists or pre-recorded time monsters, ergo how is it they have the same design as the African one. Easy peasy folks, the frozen Canadian Arctic circle was once warm tropics in natural, when the Earth's axis shifted they migrated South and across to Africa, either by deep burrowing or swimming, or some other means. The U.S version evolved to match the climatic conditions down South, the African variant retained the original physiology. See you can explain anything with movie logic. So yeah decent design, heavy use of CGI but also as expected some props for close up encounters.

And before anyone starts shouting "dude Graboids in the Arctic circle what the freaking hell" it's established early in the movie that the area of infestation is naturally heated by geothermal activity. Made me a believer, the only slight issue I had was how exactly the Graboid takeout rampage had only just begun if the creatures were up and about previously. Might have missed it, but are they implying the geothermal action had only just thawed out the creatures? In which case get your arse out of Dodge she is about to blow. Increased geothermal activity would indicate rising magma. Just saying, hey I come from an Island with a super volcano heating up a water system right in the middle of it; rising temperatures are always worth monitoring.

Guess y'all are figuring I've got a bad grade and no recommendation coming down the turnpike for Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell, considering the faults I was noting in the review. Nope, nothing could be further from the truth; this one gets a strong recommendation. Even my wife, confirmed non-horror fan sat through and enjoyed this movie. If you take into account the movie never takes itself seriously, has a lot of humour mixed in with the mayhem, and sticks with Graboid viscera at the worse then you are in for a good time. I had a real fun time with the movie, and am now itching to revisit the entire franchise, think we may have forgotten to review the previous movies, and wouldn't be kicking Cold Day out of bed for eating crackers. High recommendation to monster movie fans, this one scores three and half commando chicks out of five, watch the movie, and no T&A isn't high on the agenda.
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
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commando chicks
I'm... I'm a bit nervous to Google that one! I think I'll wait till I get back home.
For those wondering, yes there was a short lived television series, no it didn't even last a season, and as of writing there doesn't appear to be anyone seriously thinking of revisiting the concept even with Kevin Bacon showing a lot of interest.
We you able to track down a full copy of the pilot with Kevin Bacon? It's out there, somewhere, but I've only come across the trailer so far.

 
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