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Tremors 5: Bloodlines (2015)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released:
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/1/2015
Here's a question for you: Name the best direct-to-video sequel that you can. Ah, that's a real head-scratcher isn't it? Aside from Night of the Demons 2, I'm hard-pressed to think of a film in this category which is truly satisfying. What we typically get is a carbon-copy of the previous film, but with a less recognizable cast. (And the presence of any stars diminishes as the series progresses.) It's obvious that money is the motivating factor behind the mere existence of these movies. But, the question which always come to mind for me is, "Do the people behind the movies really put all of their effort into them?" This query once again reared its ugly head while I was watching Tremors 5: Bloodlines.
Tremors 5: Bloodlines is a follow-up to Tremors 3: Back to Perfection, as Tremors 4: The Legend Begins was set in the Old West. (Got that?) As this new chapter opens, we are re-introduced to Burt Gummer (Michael Gross), survivalist and gun nut, who is working on his series of web videos. Just as his cameraman is replaced by a new guy, Travis (Jamie Kennedy), Burt is approached by Van Wyck (Daniel Janks). Van Wyck explains that the "Graboids", the giant worms which Burt has been known to hunt, have been spotted in South Africa, and he asks for Burt's help. Burt is reluctant at first, until Travis mentions that this could help to grow his brand. So, the two are soon off to South Africa, where they are taken to the area where the monsters have been spotted. While Travis flirts with Dr. Montabu (Pearl Thusi), Burt begins to investigate and soon learns that the African version of the sand worm is even more dangerous than he expected.
To this day, I'm still an admirer of 1990's Tremors. The movie was essentially Jaws set in the desert, and it did little to hide this fact. But, it also had a great group of interesting characters, genuine laughs, and a truly original monster. The movie wasn't a big hit, but it did gain a following. 1996's Tremors 2: Aftershocks was a fairly standard direct-to-video sequel, but I did like the new monsters that were introduced. I must admit that I have not seen either Tremors 3 or Tremors 4. So, I didn't know what to expect from Tremors 5: Bloodlines. I did find it interesting to note that Universal brought the franchise out of mothballs, as the last entry was released in 2004. (They've been doing that a lot lately. Just look at Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer's Curse, which appears some 15 years after the last entry. I guess they want to appeal to grown up Gen X'ers.)
What I found with Tremors 5: Bloodlines was a fairly by-the-numbers sequels. It gives us one familiar character -- Burt -- and then places him in a new location -- South Africa -- with some new characters -- Travis and the locals -- where they can basically re-enact the first film. There are some new situations here, but there is also at least one scene which feels like it was lifted directly from Tremors. This may have to do with the fact that any Tremors film is somewhat limited -- The worms attack people and the people try to figure out how to stop them. The movie attempts to give us some variety, but there is only so much that it can do. (I did find it interesting that there wasn't a lot of talk about keeping still or staying quiet so that the worms can't find you.) It also should be noted that it's an odd move to hang a franchise on Burt Gummer (or one of his ancestors, as seen in Tremors 4). He is a definitely a one-note character. He worked well as part of an ensemble in the first film, but there's not much to cheer for when he's trying to carry a movie. (And what happened to Reba?!)
To its credit, Tremors 5: Bloodlines does try to shake things up a little. The worms have been somewhat re-designed and they have some new tricks up their...snouts (?), as well as being even more aggressive. There is also a new variety of creature which must have been introduced in one of the entries I missed, but it had an interesting look to it. Director Don Michael Paul has helmed some other DTV sequels, such asLake Placid: The Final Chapter, and he does a fairly good job of keeping things moving here (and I liked some of the shots, which were clearly influenced by how Great White sharks leap from the water...bringing it all back home again to Jaws.) But, the movie can't escape the fact that it's just more of the same. This will be good news to fans of the series, who long to see the Graboids eat unsuspecting victims. Everyone else should simply re-watch the first film.
Tremors 5: Bloodlines feels a bit awkward given the current gun debate going on in America on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 33 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no notable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. While the level of detail is good, the picture looks a bit flat and somewhat dull. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The subwoofer effects work nicely and we get a true sense of the worms bursting through the ground. Likewise, the surround sound effects come to life during the action sequences.
The Tremors 5: Bloodlines Blu-ray Disc contains only a few extras. "Tremors 5: Behind the Bloodlines" (8 minutes) takes us on-set to see some of the action being shot. It's nice to see that some of the physical effects were done live on the set, such as the dirt plumes which erupt from the ground when the monsters are charging. We get interviews with Director Don Michael Paul and many of the cast members. The Disc contains eight DELETED/EXTENDED SCENES which run about 10 minutes. There's an fairly lengthy underwater scene included here which didn't look easy to shoot, so I'm sure that the actors weren't happy about it being cut. The final extras is a 7-minute reel of OUTTAKES.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long