Friday, May 5, 2023

Tremors: Shrieker Island (2020)


Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Tremors: Shrieker Island (2020)
Genre: Horror, Adventure, Action, Comedy
Length:  1h 43min
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: Cinemotion, Living Films, Pace Pictures, Universal 1440 Entertainment, Universal Pictures Video, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Director: Don Michael Paul
Writers: Don Michael Paul, Brian Brightly, S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Ron Underwood
Actors: Michael Gross, Jon Heder, Richard Brake, Caroline Langrishe, Jackie Cruz, Cassie Clare, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Matthew Douglas, Randy Kalsi, Bear Williams, David Asavanond, Manop Vanasinsathapron, Aukrawut Rojaunawat, Jarun Phetsongkram, Alexander Winters, Ron Smoorenburg, Iris Park, Niko Rusakov
IMDb Blurb: When a group of hunters genetically modify Graboid eggs, they face an all-out war against the larger, terrifyingly intelligent Graboids, and the swiftly multiplying Shriekers.
Selina’s Point of View:
The Tremors series has had a place in my heart for about ten years. The first Tremors movie is over 30-years-old, but I didn’t watch it until I was well into writing for Trust the Dice. Since that first film, though, I’ve been hooked. Sure, the sequels were never quite as good, but they were entertaining even Bacon-less.
Michael Gross’ Burt Gummer character is about as endearing as it gets. He’s a funny bad-ass. Even at 73-years-old (at the time of Shrieker Islands’s release), I believe he could kick my ass. Following him through 7 movies has been a trip. If there’s an 8th, I’ll be watching that as well.
One of the things I love about Tremors is that the movies don’t take themselves too seriously. They’re over-the-top and ridiculous, yet they manage to deliver decent creature feature action as well. With each film we learn a little more about the graboids and their life cycles.

That all said, Shrieker Island is not my favorite of the series. The movie also took itself much more seriously than the others. There was even one scene that I felt would have looked at home in a bigger flick.
I did think the slightly more serious tone worked in this case. It wasn’t as fun as some of the previous films, but I don’t think it hurt the overall quality of Shrieker Island. What did hurt was the shift in tone.
There was a strange deviation to the story about 3-quarters in that made it feel like a lot of the plot was just left hanging. All the aspects of the film that were directly connected to the main thread of the story just ended. It was anti-climactic. Which is not a problem any of the other films in the series had.  
I would still watch Shrieker Island again, but it might not be for every fan of the series.

Cat’s Point of View:
Let’s just start with the management of expectations. If you’re watching Tremors: Shrieker Island and haven’t seen any of the previous 6 movies in the series, stop right now and at the very least go back and watch the original Tremors (1990) first. (You can find viewing options with its JustWatch listing here.) If you don’t have even a little bit of background with this franchise, everything is going to be a mess and the chances will be far lower that you’ll get full enjoyment out of this 6th sequel. I would recommend getting a few of the movies under your belt before taking this one on - because of spoilery plot reasons I can’t explain. 

If you’re old-hat with the Tremors movies, then, by all means, let's keep going. 

Tremors: Shrieker Island was better than I thought it would be, and certainly exceeded my expectations for these often over-the-top campy creature feature escapades. I actually liked it much more than several of the sequels that had come before it. 

Director Don Michael Paul (Lake Placid: The Final Chapter, Kindergarten Cop 2, Bulletproof 2) had taken on the 2 films directly leading up to Tremors: Shrieker Island with Tremors 5: Bloodlines and Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell and those turned out rather well… all things considered. This time, Paul threw his writing hat into the ring and I think that helped achieve a better end result for this production. 

The location chosen as the setting for this installment of the franchise was spectacular, and there were a lot of stunning shots utilized from the landscape scenery of Thailand. The lush island surroundings gave the intended parallels with the original Predator (1987) more punch. 

Tremors: Shrieker Island was just a great way to enjoy an established story and just settle into the mental vacation from the daily grind. It had plenty of laughs, the customary over-the-top firepower, explosions, and improvised weaponry; and even a decent underpinning story that made sense. (We’re talking about a world where Precambrian monsters called Graboids and their second-generation offspring Ass-Blasters exist, okay?) 

The core cast for this sequel was also outstanding. Michael Gross (The Stanley Dynamic, Grace and Frankie, Noelle) has been at the heart of every Tremors movie, and this one certainly was no exception. He really threw himself into the role of Bert Gummer - growing out his own beard and hair and eating real grubs for the sake of the movie. He’s been my favorite character throughout the series - and even the only character that has been in every movie. 

I was surprised by Jon Heder’s (Ghost Team, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, My Sweet Monster) performance here. Quite often the characters he portrays in live-action productions just annoy me for some reason. This time everything clicked and I was rooting for his character. 

Richard Brake (Game of Thrones, Vesper, Barbarian) is absolutely excellent about bringing questionably sane and definitely shady characters to life, and his performance here was central to everything about this Tremors installment working.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the kickass characters played by Jackie Cruz (Orange is the New Black, Here After, Panama) and Cassie Clare (Death Race 4: Beyond Anarchy, Bulletproof 2, The Sandman), too. 

What it all boils down to is this: if you have enjoyed Tremors or any of its sequels, then Tremors: Shrieker Island is definitely worth the stream - especially while it’s on a subscription service. 
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 44%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score –36%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.4/10

Trust the Dice: Selnia’s Rating – 3/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5

P.S.- There are small excerpt scenes featuring a primary character from all of the Tremors movies shown during the beginning of the credits.
Movie Trailer:

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