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Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell (Blu-ray Review)

Twenty eight years following the original cult classic horror/action/comedy/monster movie hybrid, here we arrive at the sixth Tremors film. As long as Michael Gross wants to come back, I’ll gladly keep up with the series. Its one that’s never really felt completely overdone, having its most output from 2001-2004 where we got two direct-to-DVD films and a short lived televisions show (That starred Dean Norris). Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell will be following the previous film Bloodlines a little more closely, returning Jamie Kennedy’s Travis Welker (The son of Burt Gummer) to our hero’s side. These films truly know what they are and mostly how to deliver. You’ll get to see if this sixth entry continues the trend when it releases on Blu-ray May 1st. 

Film 

Burt Gummer and his son Travis Welker 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!

Tremors’ sixth entry, A Cold Day In Hell, is pretty much an exercise in giving you what you like while kind of deceivingly offering you a new environment. When I saw the box art and the movie started, I thought “AWESOME!, Tremors in the snow!”. But ultimately, this one comes down to being much more desert-like than you would think. Its a bit more wooded than previous. While the color timing of the film is colder and the characters bundled up, this is another round of playing in the rocks and dirt.

Michael Gross returns as Burt Gummer for the 6th time in the series, his fourth film as being the prime lead. Gross is, as always, game for the film and hasn’t lost a beat. Jamie Kennedy returns as son, Rick. The two actually have some interesting chemistry and are solid to watch together. I know Kennedy is a tough pill for some to swallow, but I think he’s been pretty fine in these two movies. Adding to the cast are a whole wave of new characters. And its quite obvious that they are completely shooting for that younger demographic. None of them are really memorable, but they aren’t terrible either.

If you’re a Tremors franchise fan or Burt Gummer fan, A Cold Day In Hell will probably fill the some of the minimal level or thrills. Its definitely in line with its predecessorm Bloodlines, in terms of what you would compare it to in the series. The film doesn’t feel exactly like the ones that have come before it, as the first few sequels were, but it doesn’t feel like its adding much to the lore as those two did (Maybe more in terms of action and monsters), too. The snow and water attacks are new yes, but we still wind up with a primarily dirt and rocks movie. Yes, there’s also the psychic connection thing, but its more of a small afterthought and little character piece for Burt Gummer than it is anything important. Overall, though, I had enough fun with the movie and will still be open to checking out (if there is another one) where they go next.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell arrives on Blu-ray with a terrific, sharp and crisp image full of clear discernible details. It was shot digitally and comes over quite cleanly. Details like the texture and threads of winter sweaters and hates are down to the fuzz, stains and dirt on Burt Gummer’s white camouflage are easy to see. Revealing cheap CG effects are sort of a hit and miss in terms of “seeing the strings”. You can’t really ask for better than this for a really low budget, straight to video movie.

Depth:  Depth of field is above average and does good with nice clean and smooth camera movements. Characters move naturally with very little, if any, jitters or blurs.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and rich, but do not not mask any of the details that you could reasonably expect to see on surfaces, hair or clothing. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are quite bold here, even though the image is overall timed a bit colder. Blues and reds stick out and whites are impressive and well saturated.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones hold a hair of a colder tone to them and stick that way throughout the feature. Stubble, sweat beads, moles, cuts and scrapes, make up and more are clear as day from any reasonable distance.

Noise/Artifacts: No real troubling issues to report.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DTS

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: Not only is it a cold day in hell, it sure is a loud one, too. The Tremors film’s 5.1 mix is one that is a nice punch in the face with good, thought out and layered effect work. Glass shattering in some moments is really. From the gunfights to just being outside speaking on a walkie talkie, its an effective mix that really drives and gets you into the environment.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: There is a lot of boom with this film, from explosions to engines roaring, gunshots to crashing as well as soundscape scoring hits…this one really brings the thunder.

Surround Sound Presentation: Sound travel is pretty well done here in this mix. Every channel as something to say or to assist another in moving things. Placement volume is accurate as well.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp. No matter how loud the action, they are always easily heard while sounding well mixed into the shenanigans.

Extras 

Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell comes with the DVD edition and a digital copy of the film.

The Making of Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell (HD, 14:06) – Filmmakers, cast, and crew discuss the making of the film in a 6-part mini-doc. Its full of enthusiasm and some solid details in the craft.

Anatomy of a Scene (HD, 4:01) – Focuses on shooting the water attack scene, the first of such in the series.

Inside Chang’s Market (HD, 2:47) – Takes a tour of the classic set and shows how it was recreated for this film.

Summary 

Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell keeps the franchise running with a solid enough entry to please your lower end of expectations. If you were a fan of Bloodline, then you’ll be fine with this. It features a terrific Blu-ray presentation in both video and booming audio. There are some nice extras to go with it and with a low price already, if you already have the other Tremors films, why not check it out.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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