Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell (Movie Review)

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

PLOT: Burt Gummer (Gross) and his son Travis Welker (Kennedy) find themselves up to their ears in Graboids and Ass-Blasters when they head to Canada to investigate a series of deadly giant-worm attacks. Arriving at a remote research facility in the arctic tundra, Burt begins to suspect that Graboids are secretly being weaponized, but before he can prove his theory, he is sidelined 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!   

REVIEW: Let it be known right here and now what kind of TREMORS fan I am. Truth be told, I haven’t seen a Graboid flick since TREMORS 2: AFTERSHOCKS. Make of that what you will. Personally, I think this should make for an interesting review being that I’m not a die-hard fan of the series and haven’t kept up for years. But all the same, being that I’ve sat out the past few films, the promise of seeing Graboids in the snow in TREMORS: A COLD DAY IN HELL was too good of a premise-revamping to pass up. So what does a guy who has only seen the first 2 films think of this snow-filled sixth entry? Let’s find out!

First off, let’s dig into the flick’s plot a bit. This time around a group of researchers in the Canadian artic run afoul of some Ice Graboids and have no option than to call it Graboid killer number one, Burt Gummer yet again played with redneck charm by the irreplaceable Michael Gross. But things on this giant worm hunt are a bit more complicated than usual. Evidently, Burt was eaten by one of the chubby-yet-pointy creatures in the previous film and now has some kind of Graboid disease that’s slowly killing him. Turns out the old man with a pension for pyrotechnics will need some “milk of Graboid” to get better. And it’s up to his slacker son, played with suitable slacker-ness by Jamie Kennedy, to get said milk – by any means necessary.

Okay, all of that out of the way, I’m just going to go ahead and be that guy and point out the major complaint any and all viewers will have for this sixth entry subtitled A COLD DAY IN HELL: The film promotes itself as TREMORS ON ICE but only the opening scene takes place in the snow. Yeah, I’ll go ahead and repeat that so you don’t think I’m kidding: Only the film’s opening sequence takes place in the snow. What the f*ck, right? Yep, while the film does take place in the Canadain artic, many scenes are devoted to letting us know that the glaciers (and all of the snow) have dried up and what our main characters are experiencing is called an “Arctic Summer.” I heard the environmental message loud and clear, but still. Weak, weak, weak. 

On top of that major bit of straight-upfalse advertising, the film is filled with juvenile humor that is hard to overlook and even harder to enjoy. The screenplay by John Whelpley – who also it seems wrote TREMORS 5: BLOODLINES – seems to have been written by a twelve-year-old. I know that sounds mean, but go ahead, watch the film with a pre-teen dude and let me know if he doesn’t think the endless references to boobs, balls, and a variety of other body parts are hilarious. Hell, maybe he won’t even dig the dick jokes. Someone try this experiment out and let me know how it goes. 

But in an effort to not spend this whole review railing on the poor film, let me talk about some of the aspects that do work for the film. The first and best aspect is Mr. Michael Gross as Burt Gummer. Gross delighted me as a kid watching the original film on TBS over and over and he still keeps the charm rolling to this day. Gotta love him. Jamie Kennedy is another story. I’m not a Jamie Kennedy hater (SCREAM is my favorite horror movie of all time) but this guy doesn’t get much to play with in this film other than being a greasy, creepy, slovenly slacker. It’s a weak role and I can’t help but hope Kennedy gets (slightly) better roles than this in the future – I mean his f*cking Randy for Ass Blasters’ sake!

In addition to Gross, and to a lesser degree Kennedy, the new cast is charming enough and kept my sympathies throughout. Standouts include Jamie-Lee Money as Valerie McKee aka the daughter of Val (Kevin Bacon) and Ronda (Finn Carter) from the original film, and Tanya van Graan as Dr. Rita Sims the resident love interest for Jamie Kennedy this time around. Cute cast aside, there is also an interesting and entertaining sequence where Kennedy and his team must trap a Graboid in order to milk it as laid out in the plan above. But past that there isn’t much for a relative novice to enjoy about this new film. Oh, well.

The bottom line with TREMORS: A COLD DAY IN HELL is that if you’ve dug the last couple entries in the series, I can only assume you’ll find this one to be a gooey delight as well. But for all those TREMORS fans out there (like me) that haven’t seen a film since the original (and maybe the sequel) and want to give the series another go with this new film, steer clear. It will only make you sad to see how far the franchise has fallen. Bring on the TREMORS TV SERIES! And soon.




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