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Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell (2018)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 5/1/2018
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/26/2018
Climate change is defined as a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time. It has been responsible for many serious things such as increasingly deadly hurricanes, shrinking ice caps, drought, sustained wildfires, and adjusted growing seasons. These are all things which can be experienced in the real world. But, did you know that climate change can also assist in the making of your low-budget movie? Neither did I, but that's exactly what happens in Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell.
Following his adventures in South Africa inTremors 5, Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) has returned to Perfection, Nevada, along with his long, lost son, Travis (Jamie Kennedy). Burt spends his days running Chang's old store and worrying about taxes (?!). One day, he gets a call from an Arctic research station, whose inhabitants claim that they've been attacked by "Graboids", the subterranean worm creatures which Burt has been hunting for years. So, Burt and Travis find themselves traveling north, where they meet Dr. Rita Sims (Tanya van Graan) and Valerie McKee (Jamie-Lee Money), who just happens to be the daughter of Val, who Burt knew years ago. Some of Dr. Sims' colleagues were killed by "Graboids" and the monsters are now threatening the research station. Therefore, Burt and Travis must once again fight these behemoths.
And now, let's get back to my climate change point from earlier. Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell opens on a frozen tundra near the Arctic Circle. This snow-swept environment is invaded by killer worms. However, when Burt and Travis arrive at the research site, the locale is a barren, rocky landscape, although there are some snow-capped peaks in the distance. Some of the area actually looks like dessert. They are told that due to climate change, this region is no longer covered in snow. This is a very convenient excuse for the makers of Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell to sell their South African location as northern Canada. Watching the snow-bound scenes again, it looks as if they were shot in a dessert and tinting was used to make it look like snow. (One can't also help but notice that 90% of the movie takes place in this set which consists of a modular building, a shed, and some storage containers.)
The movie itself fosters a similar sort of lethargic attitude. The cover art implies that this entry's conceit is supposed to be an icy setting but, as noted above, this notion melts away very quickly. So, we suddenly have a movie which isn't all that different from Tremors 5. Burt and Travis run around fighting the worms, while educating others how to do the same. The worms rarely appear on-camera, instead being represented by plumes of dirt which erupt from the ground. The flying version of the worms, known as "Ass-Blasters", make a brief appearance here.
In case you can't read between the lines, what is being implied here is that Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell is pretty cheap direct-to-video sequel. Once the promises have been broken, the movie does very little to differentiate itself from the other films in the series. A new wrinkle is introduced into the story concerning Burt and his health, but this does little to boost the drama. A villain is introduced, but this turns out to be as much of a red herring as the cover art. Those hoping for unbridled killer worm action will be disappointed, although Director Don Michael Paul is in love with slow-motion shots of the worms bursting from the ground. The original Tremors film was a fun action-packed riff on Jaws which combined thrills and laughs in an impressive package. Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell plays exactly like what it is -- a sixth generation copy where there is an attempt to replicate the shining attributes of the original, but everything is blurred and smudged and doesn't have the same impact.
Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell would impress Al Gore 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 35 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no distracting grain and no defects from the source materials. The bulk of the film takes place outdoors in the daytime, so we get a consistently crisp image. The colors look good, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is acceptable, as is the depth. 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 attack sequences provide a nice amount of subwoofer and the track is quite adept at providing sounds for things happening off-screen, most notably when the worms are on their way.
The Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell Blu-ray Disc contains a few extras. "The Making of Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell" (14 minutes) is a six-part series which takes us on-set to see how certain scenes were shot and which verifies my theory about shooting in the dessert. These pieces include comments from the director and the cast and examine the characters and the story. "Anatomy of a Scene" (4 minutes) is an on-location segment which shows a water scene being shot. "Inside Chang's Market" (3 minutes) has Paul taking us on a tour of the set.
Review Copyright 2018 by Mike Long