Reviews & Columns
International DVDs
In Theaters
Reviews by Studio
Video Games

Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Anime Talk
DVD Savant
Horror DVDs
The M.O.D. Squad
Art House
HD Talk
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum

DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info


Tremors 5: Bloodlines

Universal // PG-13 // October 6, 2015
List Price: $22.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Tyler Foster | posted October 21, 2015 | E-mail the Author
Before Universal became one of the few studios cranking out franchises for home video under the American Pie and Bring It On banners, one of their very first DTV successes was Tremors 2: Aftershocks, a surprisingly enjoyable sequel that managed to make the most out of a single hilly valley and less than ten total cast members. It's kind of strange, then, that despite the lead-in of two more DTV sequels and a short-lived TV show, that Universal let the series go dormant for eleven years before making a new Tremors movie. On top of the wait, Universal also quietly ousted series creators and shepherds S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock. Screenwriters of the original film, Wilson and Maddock founded a banner known as Stampede Entertainment in order to serve as producers and gatekeepers for the franchise, and the news that Universal had updated one of their old pitches but not actually involved them in the new film (instead hiring the director of the awful-looking Jarhead 2) was reasonable cause for concern.

Thankfully, while Tremors 5: Bloodlines could have used another polish and a bit more focus, this newest entry into the sci-fi comedy series is reasonably satisfying even as it hangs together by some fairly tenuous threads. Series standby Michael Gross reprises his role as Burt Gummer, world-famous Graboid hunter, currently struggling to find a new niche by shooting a reality show in which he teaches the viewer his many survivalist skills. Development on the program is interrupted by Travis Welker (Jamie Kennedy), a slightly crass former war journalist who believes he has key insights on how to turn Burt into a TV star. Before Burt can say no, both are approached by Erich Van Wyck (Daniel Janks), a member of the African Wildlife Federation who informs them that a Graboid has been found in Africa -- the very first one to have appeared outside the United States. Reluctantly, Burt agrees to both go to Africa and let Travis take over as documentarian.

Given Wilson and Maddock are screenwriters, it's a shame they weren't given the opportunity to tighten up Tremors 5. The movie is nearly derailed by lazy, half-hearted plotting that skims over and around reasonably important plot points, such as how Travis finds Burt at all. The reasons Burt, Travis, Van Wyck, and several other characters act the way they do are technically on screen but executed with such sloppiness or glossed over in a way that many viewers will miss them. Director Don Michael Paul repeatedly takes scenes that could be funnier or more engaging with a bit of focus and instead offers just enough of a through-line for the film to remain coherent. Sure, a Tremors film may not be high art, yet the relative simplicity of the story (not that much different from Tremors 2 nearly 20 years ago) kind of underline the times the film nearly bungles them. Paul is clearly more of an action director, pulling off comparatively better work in the more violent second half.

Paul is also lucky that he has Michael Gross, Jamie Kennedy, and Pearl Thusi to help cover up the holes in the script and direction. Gross, the one participant in all five Tremors films and the TV show, manages to wring comic blood from a few stones when it comes to his dialogue. A character like Burt can easily become a caricature, and Burt is already a bit of a cartoon, but Gross manages a surprising amount of humanity here as the film's story develops (and once he's done enduring the movie's odd fixation with piss jokes). Thusi, playing local doctor Nandi Montabu, gets in on some of the action with a quiver full of flaming arrows. On the surface the role feels like an executive looking to get in on some Hunger Games money, but Thusi's nautral charisma gives the role a bit of spark. However, the real MVP of the film is Kennedy. Travis is meant to be a likable asshole, the kind of character that walks an extremely fine tightrope with "disgusting" on one side and "smug" on the other. Kennedy has plenty of "big" characters in his repertoire, but instead echoes his more grounded Scream performance here, forming strong chemistry with Gross even during the movie's directorially shaky opening scenes. By the time the credits roll, Travis actually feels like a strong enough character to warrant returning for a theoretical Tremors 6.

The fact that Tremors 5 works at all is a testament to the quality of the casting and the resilience of the premise, with the filmmakers behind the wheel coming off almost incidental. The film skirts by with an agreeable enough combination of humor and action to earn an hour and a half of fans' time, and even includes a few new developments in the series' lore. Still, let's hope next time Universal takes the series out for a spin, they bring back Wilson and Maddock -- if the series running at half-speed can be this entertaining, one can only imagine how good it might be with the original creators back at the helm.

The Blu-ray
Tremors 5 doesn't deviate much from tradition, depicting its two leads above ground with a slice of the subterranean visible. The very same Graboid mouth that graced the original poster is still in use below, with the surface containing a few references to the movie's African setting. The only real complaint I have is that the package doesn't use the Tremors logo used on all the other movies to date, swapping it out for a totally generic and boring font that makes the whole cover look lazy. The two disc set comes in a glossy, embossed slipcover, with a Viva Elite Blu-ray case inside housing the Blu-ray, DVD copy, and a leaflet with an code on it.

The Video and Audio
Presented in 1.78:1 1080p AVC and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Tremors 5 is a glossy if slightly mixed bag. At times, the HD video quality of the film fluctuates a little, as if some sort of digital pass to try and get the footage to all "match" wasn't quite completed properly. Less a quirk of the disc than of the original photography. The image is sharp and color is very strong, but there's an artificial quality to the image that kind of detracts from it -- no texture or nuance to it. More effort seems to have gone into the sound mix, which makes sense given that not all of the movie's monsters can be put on the screen. This is a surprisingly competent effort for a direct-to-video movie, never matching the fun of the original Tremors' rumbling and shaking, but doing a decent, immersive imitation. Dialogue and music sound predictably sharp, and there are no balance issues in terms of the dialogue getting lost within the action. Spanish, French, German and Italian DTS 5.1 tracks are also included, along with English captions for the deaf and hard of hearing and French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, German, Arabic, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hindi, Icelandic, Italian, Traditional Mandarin, Norwegian, and Swedish subtitles.

The Extras
Little in the way of supplemental material: a reel of deleted scenes (10:21), some middling outtakes (6:58), and a surface-level making-of featurette (8:10) are all pretty forgettable.

Tremors 5 is a surprisingly decent entry in an impressively resilient franchise. The film has a sloppy quality, and many of its flaws show, but all things considered, it's just enough fun to warrant a recommendation.

Please check out my other DVDTalk DVD, Blu-ray and theatrical reviews and/or follow me on Twitter.
Buy from







E - M A I L
this review to a friend
Popular Reviews

Sponsored Links
Sponsored Links