drama, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

March 24th, 2018 Movie – Trollhunter


Years ago, while reading a horror movie blog, I came across a reference for today’s movie and it immediately caught my eye. I think the main thing about it was the fact that it was essentially a kaiju movie, only based in Norway. Now I for one thought that the change of scenery might be a nice change of pace while the subject matter itself could lead to a good movie. I ended up seeing it on Netflix shortly after the started streaming it and enjoyed it enough that I bought it on DVD when they stopped streaming it. So let’s enjoy today’s movie, Trollhunter.

The plot: On October 13th, 2008, a film studio received a package containing hard drives with 283 minutes of footage on them. The studio made a rough cut of the footage in chronological order and investigators spent a year trying to determine if the footage was real or not and ultimately declared it to be authentic.
Thomas, Johanna, and Kalle, three students from Volda University College, are doing a film project focused on a suspected poacher who was spotted near in the area of a bear sighting. After interviewing some licensed bear hunters, of which there are a select few, they learn the man’s name is Hans and he drives a Land Rover. Heading to the campground where Hans is staying, the manager shows them where his trailer is, saying that Hans goes out every night and never comes back before sunrise, while complaining about the stench coming from Hans’ trailer. When Hans returns the next morning, Thomas tries to interview him but Hans curtly tells him to get lost. Johanna, their sound engineer, places a microphone next to Han’s and they hear him on the phone with someone before he heads out. Thomas and the others attempt to follow him but they lose him so they head back to try and take a look in the trailer and Kalle, the cameraman, sees some furry things hanging from the ceiling and a shotgun inside. The next day, they head out to where a dead bear was spotted and interview some of the hunters, who believe the bear was planted there and the tracks were fake but Finn Haugen, head of the Norwegian Wildlife Board, says they are mistaken. When Hans leaves the campground, Thomas and the others follow after him, with Thomas attempting to question him when they are on a ferry. Hans pulls into another campground and Thomas and the others wait until he leaves that night, then follow after him. They lose sight of him in some woods but after exploring for a while, they soon find his Land Rover but no sign of Hans. Suddenly, they see some flashing lights in the distance and hear something roaring. Thomas comes running out of the woods, yelling “Troll”, and then leads them towards his Land Rover. During their running through the woods, something bit Thomas in the shoulder and Hans tends to his injury, as Kalle questions him about what he said. Hans gives them a ride back to their car only to find it has been overturned and destroyed so he drives them back to the campground. Thomas tries talking to Hans about what he said and then says he wants to film what he does and Hans agrees, provided that they do exactly what he says. The next night, Hans goes to pick them up and asks if any of them believe in God or Jesus, saying that Trolls can smell the blood of a Christian man, and Thomas, Johanna, and Kalle all say no. Returning to the woods, Hans tells them to head down to a nearby stream and scrub themselves and their clothes to remove the scent of body odor, then rub troll stench on them so that they smell like trolls. After the kids reluctantly do as he says, they head into the woods and Hans determines the type of troll he is hunting. He places a call, saying that it is a Ringlefinch and it has been chased from it’s territory, as it is marking it’s new territory, and the person on the other end asks him to try and collect a blood sample if possible. Leaving Thomas and the others in a clearing, Hans heads further into the woods to hunt the troll. As they wait for Hans to return, Thomas and the others hear something large approaching, knocking over trees as it moves. They soon see Hans running from the woods, telling them it is a Tosserlad, and they catch sight of a large 3-headed troll approaching them so they quickly run for it. They end up getting separated and Kalle uses the night vision function on his camera to see better and manages to spot Thomas and Hans, who motions them to be quiet as the Troll is close by. The troll starts sniffing and spots the three humans and gives chase and Hans yells at them to get behind his car, then Hans activates the UV lights on top of his car, turning the troll to stone. Johanna rejoins the others and they talk excitedly about what happened but Hans interrupts them, chastising them for lying and says that one of them is a Christian due to the way the troll was sniffing about. Thomas and the others insist that they aren’t and Hans gets to work on smashing the troll, then blowing it up into gravel so that no one will know trolls exist. In the morning, Thomas and the others are shocked to see Finn show up, who is not happy to see the kids filming him, followed by a van carrying a dead bear. Finn and the other men work on depositing the bear in the woods, leaving fake tracks to fool people, and after they leave, Hans shoots the bear and then they leave. As they eat breakfast, Hans explains what he knows about trolls and says that Finn wants to keep trolls a secret but Hans feels it is time for a change, especially as he is underpaid, and he agreed to let them film hoping it would get on TV and force some changes. When they ask how often trolls attack people, Hans tells them it rarely happens but something has been forcing trolls out of their normal habitats and into more populated areas recently. They return to Hans’ trailer for a minute and then head out to locate the Ringlefinch, hearing a news report about two tourists being killed by a bear as they drive along. They soon learn where the Ringlefinch might be hiding and come to a press conference Finn is having discussing a Russian bear being in the area, but when Thomas questions some of the facts he is stating, Finn looks evily at him as he leaves. That night, Hans leads some goats and sheep onto the bridge where the Ringlefinch had stored some food and then waits for it to show up. When the Ringlefinch grabs one of the goats, Hans, wearing a suit of armor, heads onto the bridge and retrieves the other goats, then pours some Christian blood onto the bridge. When the Ringlefinch goes onto the bridge to investigate, Hans attempts to use a giant syringe to take a blood sample but the troll ends up knocking him unconscious. After the troll goes back under the bridge, Thomas and the others go check on Hans, who recovers and then heads down after the troll, getting the blood sample before killing it. They then head to a vet to drop off the sample and Thomas interviews her while they are there. The vet says it will take a few days to get the results of the sample so they drive off, with Hans wanting to check out some of the nearby territories to see if any trolls have left the area. They eventually head to a farm where a supposed tornado occurred but Hans determines that 3 trolls had ran through the area, which explains the knocked over trees. Coming back at night to track the trolls, Hans heads out but as Thomas and Johanna go to follow, Kalle starts getting nervous and doesn’t want to go but Thomas convinces him to follow Hans. They soon come to an abandoned mine and Hans determines that this is where they sleep during the day and heads in for a closer look. As the others follow, Kalle asks for more troll stench to put on and they discover that the mine is the lair for several trolls but as they go to leave, they hear the trolls returning to the mine and quickly hide in a side passage. Trapped by the trolls, Kalle nervously puts on more stench but when he runs out, he admits to the others that he is Christian. As he starts sweating, the trolls start to wake up and catch wind of his scent and Hans tells them to run. They make a break for the exit, with Hans using his UV rifle to try and fend off the trolls but they manage to grab and kill Kalle. Later, Finn meets up with them and says the troll situation is getting out of hand and is upset that they are still filming what is going on, with Finn and Hans arguing when Finn tries to grab the camera from Johanna. Thomas and Johanna decide to keep riding with Hans and are joined by a new camerawoman, Malica. When Thomas asks if she is Christian, Malica says she is Muslim and Hans admits he doesn’t know how the trolls will react to that. Coming across a section of forest where all the trees have been knocked down, Hans says it looks like a Jotnar, the largest of the trolls, came through there, which is why the other trolls have all been moved from their normal territories. Explaining that power lines act as electrical fences surrounding troll territories, they head to the power station and learn that a section of power lines had been knocked down 3 weeks ago. Heading into the territory, they head to a TSS (Troll Security Service) cabin and sleep there as they make plans to try and locate the Jotnar. At the cabin, Thomas begins to feel ill and Johanna tries to take care of him in the cabin. Hearing roaring in the distance, Hans heads outside and unveils the massive UV spotlight he attached to the roof of his Land Rover. When the vet calls and tells them the blood sample he took tested positive for rabies, Hans believes that the Jotnar infected all of the other trolls, causing them to leave their territories, and that Thomas is infected as well. As the Jotnar appears in the distance, Hans rides out and attempts to kill it with the strobe light but the flash runs out of power. Driving back to the others, they head out, with the Jotnar giving chase, and Hans explains that he has to wear it out some before he will be able to kill it. When they see someone flagging them down, they stop to pick the stranger up and Hans uses the strobe to drive it off but as he tries to get in front of it to attack it again, the troll swipes the Land Rover and knocks it on it’s side. As they get out of the vehicle, they see the Jotnar roaring in pain and Hans grabs his gear, preparing to finish off the Jotnar. Hans tells Thomas that he hopes he has enough footage then points them towards the highway. Hans manages to kill the Jotnar but then disappears from view so Thomas, Johanna, Malica, and the hitchhiker (who was a seismologist) begin walking down the highway. When they spot some cars approaching them, Thomas and Johanna recognize them as Finn and his men and Thomas grabs the camera from Malica and he and Johanna try to run for it. Johanna falls and ends up being caught and Thomas is shown making it to the highway but as a truck approaches he is tackled and drops the camera.
The footage ends there and no sign of Thomas and the others was found, nor was Kalle’s body recovered. Though the government never fully acknowledged that trolls exist, the Prime Minister does mention that Norway has trolls and needed more power lines to contain them and though his aide does react to his statement, the press doesn’t seem to pay it any heed.

Trollhunter met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Trollhunter is a mockumentary with an appropriate level of creeping dread, but one that also benefits from generous helpings of dry wit.” The movie uses several references to Norwegian folklore and culture in regard to trolls, as well as some fairy tales, such as “Three Billy Goats Gruff”. The movie was a success in Norway, earning NOK 24 million ($4.159 million) off of a budget of NOK 19 million ($3.5 million).

This is one of the better “found footage” films out there. The acting was good, with Otto Jespersen (Hans), Glenn Erland Tosterud (Thomas), and Johanna Mørok (Johanna) doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked Tomas Alf Larsen, who did a good job playing the skeptical Kalle, but really did a good job selling the panic and fear when they were trapped in the cave. The story was good, with the use of folklore doing a good job helping to sell the belief that trolls really did exist in modern day Norway. I also thought the footage of the scenery as they just traveled to the various locations was great and helped make this seem like a real documentary. The special effects regarding the trolls were a lit better than I thought they would be and I liked how they made sure to make the trolls look different to indicate all the different species that there are. I know subtitled movies are not everyone’s personal preference but this is one that is well worth giving a shot.

Rating: 4 out of 5

exploitation, movie, movie review, thriller

March 23rd, 2018 Movie – Trip With The Teacher

trip with the teacher

It’s been a while since I have watched an exploitation movie and to be honest, it hasn’t been long enough. I mean, I know why these were so prolific in the 60’s and 70’s; they were cheap to make and able to be rotated into drive-ins rather quickly. Still, as far as movie genres go, they tend to be one of my least favorites. Anyways, today’s movie happens to be on two collections that I own, which I can take two ways. Either this is one of the rare good ones or it is absolute crap and they are just trying to get it out to as many viewers as possible. Well, let’s see what I have on my hands with today’s movie, Trip With The Teacher.

The plot: Miss Teeny is taking 4 of her students, Julie, Bobbie, Tina, and Pam, on a field trip out into the desert. Meanwhile, Al and his brother Pete are riding their motorcycles along the highway when Pete gets a flat tire. As Pete works on taking off the tire, another biker, Jay, pulls over and offers to help, saying he has a hand pump and patch kit. With the tire fixed, Al and Pete prepare to get back on the road and Jay rides with them to make sure the tire stays inflated. As they make their way down the road, they come across the school bus and the girls start waving at the bikers, with Jay showing off and trying to flirt with them. As the bus and bikes all pull into the service station, Jay starts talking and flirting with some of the girls as their bus driver, Marvin, has the station attendant fill up the tank and check the oil. As the bus drives off, the attendant fills up the motorcycles and Al takes offence at the old man’s attitude towards them. He tells Pete to go ahead and start their motorcycles while he goes in to pay but after paying, he uses the cover of the motorcycle engines to mask his releasing the jack and lowering the car the attendant is working on, crushing him to death. Out in the desert, the bus’s engine acts up and Marvin pulls over to take a look at it, saying he will flag someone down for help when a car passes by to get some help. The girls get off the bus and sit in the shade of some nearby trees but Pam and Bobbie start fighting over Bobbie’s promiscuity and Pam’s lack there of. As Miss Teeny tries to break up the fight, the three bikers catch up to them and pull over, catching everyone’s attention. Jay asks what the problem is and when Marvin explains that they are having engine trouble. Jay convinces Pete to take a look and he starts flirting with Julie while Al flirts with Bobbie. When Pete tells Marvin that they blew their fuel pump, Miss Teeny asks Al if they would be willing to ride to the next town and send some help. Al says they will if she lets Bobbie ride to town with him but Miss Teeny refuses, saying the girls are her responsibility. Marvin talks with the three bikers to try and ask for some help and Al doesn’t want to waste any time on them but Pete mentions a farmer working on a tractor nearby and says they can tow the bus there to see if he can help. Meanwhile, back at the gas station, a man pulls in and calls out for the attendant and when he sees him dead underneath the car, he calls the police. Back in the desert, Al, Pete, and Jay tow the bus towards an abandoned cabin and when Marvin asks what is going on, Al says he is leaving them there. When Miss Teeny hears this and argues with Al over bringing them to the middle of nowhere, she ends up slapping him and Al moves to hit her. Marvin stops him and the two end up fighting but Pete comes back on his motorcycle to help his brother. Al gets on his motorcycle and he and Pete chase down Marvin and Al runs him down, breaking his neck. Miss Teeny tries to attack Al and Jay and the girls pull her back while Pete keeps Al away. Pete and Al talk and Al says that he isn’t going back to prison and makes plans on what to do with Jay and the girls, with Pete reluctantly going along with his plan. Meanwhile, Jay goes to get a sheet to cover Marvin’s body and talks with Julie, saying that they are in trouble and they have to go along with what Al wants until they can get away or else he will probably kill them as well since they are witnesses. Al has everyone head into the cabin and once there, he has Bobbie take her clothes off. Jay tries to stop him but Al and Pete knock him out, then Al rips off Miss Teeny’s clothes. Al takes her into another room and prepares to rape her while Pete ties up Jay. After tying him up, Pete sits down next to the girls and starts kissing them but as Bobbie and Tina go along with him, Bobbie motions to Julie to untie Jay. Julie does so, then heads over to keep Pete distracted, allowing Jay to sneak outside and run to his motorcycle. As he tries to start it, Pete and Al hear him and Pete runs off to stop him, with Al yelling to not let him get away. Jay gets his motorcycle started and Pete gets on his motorcycle and chases after him while Al flips out and chases the girls back into the cabin before collapsing onto the floor. Jay races across the desert but Pete catches up to him and starts kicking at his bike, causing Jay to go off a cliff and crash down into the riverbed below. Pete rides to the edge of the cliff and looks down at Jay’s body, then heads back to the cabin. Back at the cabin, Al lets Tina go check on Miss Teeny then heads outside to wait for his brother. When Pete shows up and tells him about Jay’s going off the cliff, Al congratulates him and they head back into the cabin but as they walk out of site, Miss Teeny convince Tina to sneak out the window and try to go for help. Inside the cabin, Al tells Pete to choose one of the girls to take and Pete wants Tina but when he goes into the other room, he finds that she is gone. Al tells Pete to watch the others then he goes outside and sees Tina running down the hill so he gives chase. He eventually catches up to her and, knocking her down, presses her face into the ground, suffocating her, then collapses onto the ground. When he wakes up, he starts to carry Tina’s body back to the cabin but when he comes to the river, decides to set her down and let her body float away, then collapses on the bank. As night falls, Al returns to the cabin and the other girls ask about Tina but he says he couldn’t find her, then heads towards Bobbie and proceeds to rape her. In the morning, Julie gets up to use the restroom and Al tells Pete to go with her. As they step outside, a noose suddenly slips around Pete’s neck and Julie sees that Jay had survived and watches as he strangles Pete to death. Motioning Julie to keep quiet, Jay drags Pete’s body away only to turn and find Al outside watching them. Al pulls out his switchblade and Jay grabs a branch to defend himself as Miss Teeny, Bobbie, and Pam come out to see what is happening. With Al’s attention focused on Jay, Miss Teeny grabs a nearby stake and jabs it into Al’s back, killing him. Later, Jay gets on Al’s bike and prepares to go get help and Miss Teeny, Julie, Bobbie, and Pam all thank him for his help and tell him to be careful, then watch as he rides off, glad that their ordeal is almost over.

Yeh, this is unfortunately the latter of the choices for me because it wasn’t that good. The acting was so-so, with Zalman King doing a good job as the psychotic Al but everyone else was simply bland. The story was honestly pretty boring and somewhat predictable. I mean, you knew that one or more of the girls were going to end up raped and possibly killed and you knew that somehow, the two bad guys would be killed. I will be honest, I expected it to all be Miss Teeny going psycho kind of like Jennifer in I Spit On Your Grave. I will admit that I did have to laugh at the beginning of the movie when Pam and Bobbie were fighting and they would flash to Marvin, who was watching and throwing his fists as if he was watching a boxing match. There was a fair amount of drama in the movie that did lend itself well to the plot, but it couldn’t help make it a better movie. This is a late night time killer if you want to have something on to fall asleep too, but it’s not worth hunting down to watch.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 22nd, 2018 Movie – Triassic Attack

triassic attack

If there is one thing that I miss, as do many other people on some of the fan groups I am a part of, it is the plethora of original movies that used to be shown on Sci-Fi/Syfy on a weekly basis. I know that television is a business and that the channels/stations are in it to make money but there was nothing better for me than to see what new movie would be airing on Saturday, and watching all of the movies that matched the new movie’s theme earlier in the day. Alas, those days are long gone and the only thing that remotely comes close is the annual Sharknado week, but I digress. So today’s movie is one of those movies that came out years ago but never got a DVD release in the US, which is unfortunately pretty common. However, me being me, I was not deterred and took to eBay to try and find an all region copy and managed to pick up a copy. So lets have some fun with today’s movie, Triassic Attack.

The plot: Sheriff Jake Roundtree and his wife Emma are being chased through the woods by an unseen creature and eventually meet up with Wyatt at an abandoned building. Quickly heading inside and shutting the door, Emma says they are trapped but Jake points out a ladder to the upper levels and tells her and Wyatt to climb up there and he will let the creature in so the can trap it inside. Once they are safely up the ladder, Jake opens the door to let the creature in, revealing it to be the skeleton of a velociraptor, and after he closes the door, he tries to avoid the raptor so he can climb the ladder himself. 24 hours earlier, residents of a small Native American town are staging a protest over the nearby university’s plans to expand by destroying parts of their town. Jake arrives and is confronted University President Richmond Keller, who is upset as the people had all signed an agreement and taken the money but now Jake’s uncle Dakota is leading the protest to try and renegotiate. Jake tries to calm everyone down and has the crowd disperse while he takes Dakota to the sheriff’s station. Inside, Dakota comments about Jake sounding like Keller and not caring about his heritage, while mentioning that it is why he and Emma are separated, before Jake sends him to a cell for the night. Jake returns home to see if Emma or their daughter Savannah are there and finds a note from Savannah saying she is studying at the library but he knows it is a lie. Jake heads to a frat party at the university, where he finds Savannah there with her boyfriend Matt and he tells her to get in the car, warning the frat leader to card people at their parties next time. Meanwhile, Keller is hosting a University fundraiser when Emma shows up and asks him about her losing her grant and Keller tries to charm his way out of it. When Jake shows up with Savannah, Keller thinks he is here to see him but Jake tells him he needs to talk to Emma. The two talk and he tells her about Savannah being at the frat party and after Savannah is told to wait in Emma’s car, Jake and Emma start arguing about how to raise Savannah; with Emma saying Jake is smothering her while Jake feels Emma is more focused on her career than their daughter. Jake leaves and returns to the jail, telling Dakota construction is starting at 4 the next day and he is free to go. Dakota tells Jake they can stop Keller’s plans together using the old ways but Jake says the old way’s have no place in modern times and that Jake’s isn’t doing their heritage any good by just selling rubber tomahawks. Dakota heads to his tribal museum/store and begins smashing the shelves and some of the displays. He then grabs the parchment from one case and using the ceremonial drum of the tribe’s shaman, he begins a ceremonial chant, which is shown to be affecting Savannah as well as himself. Dakota finishes the chant only to realize that he has brought the skeletons of a pteranodon, a velociraptor, and a tyrannosaurus to life and he quickly runs from the building. He gets into one of Keller’s bulldozers and tries to use it to escape but the pteranodon attacks it and he ends up running on foot. Close by, Wyatt sees Dakota running and calls out to him but when Dakota doesn’t respond, he heads back inside his trailer only for it to be knocked over. As his trailer catches fire, he quickly escapes out the window with his dog, which runs off, and Wyatt comes face to face with the tyrannosaurus and quickly runs away. The next day, Jake is called out to the site and finds no sign of Wyatt and has no idea what happened but feels like Dakota might be involved. Meanwhile, Savannah is pleading with her mom to let her go on a camping trip with Matt that they had already planned and Emma lets her go. Emma then heads out to the woods to teach her paleontology class and has them pair up to explore the area. Two students, Brian and Melissa, wander into the woods and see the pteranodon flying overhead just before they end up being attacked. Emma hears the pteranodon crying out and when she notices Brian and Melissa and calls Jake to ask him to come help look for them. Meanwhile, Wyatt wakes up after hiding all night in the woods and sees Dakota riding backwards on a horse but Dakota doesn’t answer when he yells out. Seeing the velociraptor approaching, Wyatt tries hiding from it in a cow pasture, falling into some manure in the process, and watches as the velociraptor is attacked by the tyrannosaurus, which approaches him but turns away and attacks a cow due to Wyatt’s smell. Meanwhile, Emma and her assistant discover Brian’s arm in a tree as Jake and Deputy Savage show up and they eventually find Melissa’s body down an embankment. Jake sends Savage to the University to have them lock it up and keep everyone indoors just as Emma tries calling Savannah, telling Jake she let her go to the lake despite his grounding her. At the lake, Savannah watches as Matt and the other pledges are forced to perform humiliating tasks and eventually heads out to the floating dock on the lake, where she is joined by Matt. As they start to swim back to the shore, they see the tyrannosaurus show up and begin attacking everyone there and Matt has Savannah hide behind some rocks while he gets their clothes and the keys to his truck, accidentally leaving Savannah’s phone on the rocks. As they are driving, they see Dakota on the horse and stop to get him only to find him in a trance and Savannah wakes him from it. Meanwhile, Jake and Emma arrive at the lake to find the carnage but no sign of Savannah and Matt. Emma sees the tracks from the tyrannosaurus and tries to explain them but can’t. They head back to town only to encounter Wyatt, who tries to explain what happened only for them to be attacked by the velociraptor. Jake tries to destroy it by running over it but the bones reform and chases them, bringing us to the events at the beginning of the movie. Jake manages to make it up the ladder and they trap the velociraptor in the building and head to the university, with Emma calling to warn Keller about what is happening. Keller refuses to listen and continues with his speech to the donors only for the pteranodon and the tyrannosaurus to show up to attack. Jake contacts the university’s ROTC to help and bring whatever heavy weapons they have with them. They arrive there and help get everyone inside the gym, then Jake and two members of the ROTC use bazookas to try and destory the two skeletons only to have them reform into a winged tyrannosaurus, which flies up and grabs the two ROTC members and carries them off. Back in the town, Dakota, Savannah, and Matt head to the museum and Dakota reads from the book and figures out that lightning is how they can stop the fossils. Dakota and Savannah begin performing the chant, causing it to start raining in town and lightning to strike near them. The winged tyrannosaurus shows up but before they can get a lightning bolt to strike it, it kills Savage by knocking him into a power line, then injures Dakota and Matt. Jake and Wyatt show up to help them into the museum, followed by Emma and Keller, and Savannah explains to her parents what Dakota’s plan was. Savannah says she can lure the fossils back to the area and make it rain and Jake reluctantly agrees to let her try but says instead of trying to call down lightening, they use the electricity from the nearby power substation instead. Wyatt rigs the power lines and Savannah begins chanting, causing it to begin raining and bringing the winged tyrannosaurus towards them, but also the velociraptor, which had escaped the building it was locked in, but when the tyrannosaurus arrives, it ends up cutting the power line. While Jake and Emma distract the tyrannosaurus, Wyatt grabs the power lines and holds them together and tells Savannah to throw the switch, electrocuting the fossil and breaking it apart for good. Wyatt collapses just as the velociraptor shows up so Emma lures it into the trap while Jake holds the lines together so they can destroy it as well. Some time later, Keller is standing with Dakota in front of a newly built museum and dedicating it to the native heritage. As the crowd cheers and Savannah is brought on stage to cut the ribbon with Dakota, Jake and Emma are shown to be giving their marriage another shot.

Yes, you have to have a high tolerance in suspending your disbelief, but this can be an entertaining movie. The acting was pretty good, with Steven Brand (Jake), Kirsty Mitchell (Emma) and Raoul Max Trujillo (Dakota) doing good jobs in their roles. I also thought that Gabriel Womack was really funny as Wyatt while Emilia Clarke (of Game Of Thrones fame) doing a good job in one of her earliest roles as Savannah. The story was pretty good and actually had a deeper story going for it underneath the basic tale of fossilized dinosaurs killing people; that being the whole eminent domain and how people leaving on Native American lands tend to be taken advantage of by the government and people with money. The special effects were pretty decent but unfortunately, did cause some “WTF?” moments as well as some that you really have to try not to think to much about. So let me go ahead and discuss 2 of the big problems now. First, when Wyatt and Jake grabbed the power lines without any sort of protective gear, they would have been fried on the spot. Second, regarding the skeletons, you have to essentially ignore the fact that skeletons don’t have any sense of smell, nor would the pteranodon be able to fly without any sort of membrane coming off it’s wings/arms. Still, the nonsensical aspects like that is what makes these movies entertaining. So shut off your brain for 90 minutes and just sit back and enjoy a fun movie to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 21st, 2018 Movie – Tremors 5: Bloodlines

tremors 5

11 years after the last movie, we are finally blessed with a new Tremors movie. When I first got wind that this was happening, I was excited to hear it and had pre-ordered it on Amazon. Now I will say that there was one aspect of the movie that I was worried about; Jamie Kennedy. My opinion of Jamie Kennedy kind of fluctuates between whether or not he is a good actor. I mean, I liked him in Scream and Scream 2 but not so much in anything else. So having him in a series that I liked was troubling as I might not like the movie because of him. My only hope was that Michael Gross would be able to counteract any negativity Jamie Kennedy might have. So let’s see if my hope was well placed as I watch today’s movie, Tremors 5: Bloodlines.

The plot: In the South African valley known as the Cradle of Humankind, two men, Johan Dreyer and Basson, are hunting in the area when Basson falls into a cave. As his Dreyer goes to get a rope to pull him out, Basson looks around and sees some cave drawings depicting Graboids just as he hears something moving around in the area. Dreyer throws down the rope and starts pulling Basson up but Basson is attacked by an Assblaster and killed. In Nevada, Burt Gummer is filming footage for his survivalist show when he is interrupted by the arrival of Travis B. Welker. Travis explains that he is taking over as Burt’s cameraman and wants to help him get more exposure using modern social media. As they are talking, they are approached by Erich Van Wyk, who introduces himself to Burt and says tells him about the Assblaster in Africa. Burt is skeptical, as he believed all known Graboids were confined to the North America continent but Van Wyk insists and tries to convince Burt to come to Africa to deal with it. Burt starts to agree but Travis interjects himself to the conversation and pulls Burt aside. He asks Burt to let him handle the negotiations, offering Burt an HK91 if he lets him come to Africa with him, and Burt agrees. Travis talks with Van Wyk and tells him that Burt is too busy to go to Africa but when Van Wyk offers to fund 3 years of Burt’s videos, Travis and Burt agree to the deal. They arrive in Africa and head to a game reserve, which has been set up as their base camp, and Burt befriends their helicopter pilot Dan Bravers but learns that his weapons have been held up in customs for 3 days. When they reach the reserve, Van Wyk introduces him to Dreyer, who shows him the tranquilizer gun that they will be using but Burt tells them that Graboids are immune to tranquilizers. Dreyer says that they are hunting an Assblaster, not a Graboid, but Burt tells them that if they have an Assblaster in the area, then they will have Graboids as well and scoffs at Van Wyk’s wanting to try and capture one. Burt and Travis arrive at the main lodge and Burt is shown the weapons that Van Wyk acquired for him but says that they won’t be much use against a Graboid. Meanwhile, Travis sees a little girl named Amahle and speaks with her for a little but before he is introduced to her mother, Dr. Nandi Montabu, who owns the reserve. Meanwhile, two paleontologists, Dr. Michael Swan and Lucia, have uncovered the fossilized remains of a Graboid out in the plains and are excited about their discovery but as they are showering later, they are attacked and killed. Back at the reserve, Burt is trying to get details from Dreyer on where the attack occurred when they are approached by Baruti, one of the game wardens, who tells them of the attack. They head to the dig site and Burt says that the fossilized Graboid is different than the North American counterparts. As night starts to fall, Nandi and Amahle invite Travis to a tribal dance and Travis ends up getting into an argument before Travis leaves. At the dance, Nandi helps translate the chief’s speech, telling Travis that their tribe has hunted the Assblasters for generations and the Assblasters hunt at night to make it easier to sense their prey. Back at the reserve, Baruti and Thaba are working on a jeep engine, with Baruti complaining about Travis getting too close to Nandi, when they are attacked by an Assblaster. Burt helps them try to find it off and kills it but a second one carries Thaba away. Burt and Dreyer head off to try and rescue Thaba and find him lying injured on a bridge. Burt dons a thermal cloaking poncho and then heads out onto the bridge but the Assblaster kills Thaba, then attacks the jeep with Dreyer in it before Burt is able to kill it. Burt and Dreyer head back to the reserve just as Travis, Nandi, and Amahle arrive and Burt chastises Travis for not being there, then Burt tells Nandi to evacuate the reserve while he, Dreyer, and Van Wyk go after the Assblaster. They eventually locate the Assblaster and Dreyer attempts to tranquilize it but it has no effect. Burt manages to kill it, with the flaming carcass falling on Dreyer and killing him, and Van Wyk is upset about Burt killing the Assblaster and Dreyer. When Burt finds a Graboid egg in the carcass, Van Wyk points a gun at Burt, revealing that he is actually a poacher and plans on selling the egg. Van Wyk locks Burt in the lion cage intended for the Assblaster and Burt suffers from mild exposure before Travis shows up and rescues him, dragging the cage along behind him on the way to the reserve. When the cage hits a rock and comes unhitched, Travis stops and frees Burt but they discover that Travis’ fuel line is busted so they are forced to walk. They come across the wreckage of Van Wyk’s land cruiser and grab some weapons from it then go hunting him. They eventually find an injured Van Wyk and tell him to get on the rocks but as he does, something grabs the cooler with the egg and carries it into a nearby cave. Van Wyk is then attacked by the Graboid’s tentacle tongues, which Burt realizes are able to detach from the main body. Realizing that the tentacles, and the Assblaster, are protectign the cave, Burt and Travis figure that it is a nest and Travis goes inside to deal with it while Burt uses Travis’ phone to call Bravers for help. Meanwhile, an Assblaster shows up at the reserve and begins attacking Amahle and Baruti but Nandi is able to kill it with a bow and arrow. Back at the cave, Travis sees the cave drawings and finds the nest just as he is attacked by an Assblaster so he throws a phosphorus grenade at it to kill it. He heads back outside just as Bravers shows up in his helicopter but Burt and Travis watch as the Graboid attacks and kills Braver’s copilot, then swallows Bravers whole. Burt feels like things are hopeless but Travis points out the missile pods on the helicopter that they can use to take out the nest. Using some nearby cattle to mask their presence, Burt and Travis make it to the helicopter and fire the missiles at the cave, blowing it and the nest up. Bravers shows up, having shot the Graboid in the mouth to get it to spit him out, and they quickly leave. Heading back to Travis’ jeep, Bravers gives them some fuel and then leaves while Burt and Travis head for the reserve. As they are driving, Burt asks Travis what he knows about his visit to Florida, as Travis has mentioned it several times, and Travis reveals that he is Burt’s son from a one night stand he had there, and Burt reacts in disbelief to the news. Meanwhile, Nandi, Baruti, and Amahle are attacked by another Assblaster and a second Graboid but they manage to kill them, then head to the village. As they head there, Nandi discovers that Amahle has a Graboid egg in her bag and realizes that is why they are being attacked. When they get to the village, they find it seemingly deserted and tell Nandi tells Amahle to stay in the car while she and Baruti look around. They head into the market and find someone being attacked by the Queen Graboid but are unable to save her. Hearing Amahle scream, they find her being attacked by the tentacles just as Burt and Travis arrive at the village. Seeing a dirt bike nearby, Burt has Travis use it to distract the tentacles and Graboid while Baruti rescues Amahle. As Travis lures the Graboid away, Burt, Nandi, and the villagers construct a lightning trap using the storms to electrocute the Graboid when Travis lures it into the trap. As the villagers celebrate, Burt reluctantly accepts Travis as his son and when Travis mentions going back to Florida, Burt stops him, saying that he promised to help him with his career. In a mid-credits scene, it is shown that Burt and Travis have partnered up and travel around hunting monsters worldwide.

Maybe time does make a difference because this was one of the better entries in the series since the first movie. Michael Gross was great reprising his role of Burt Gummer while Jamie Kennedy was surprisingly good as Travis, playing the role with the seriousness and dry humor that it actually warranted but not being silly funny with his role. The story was pretty good and I liked how the evolution of the Graboids differed in Africa, making a nice way of changing up the routine without having to introduce a new creature to the mix. I did like the not so subtle nod to Jurassic Park when Baruti and Amahle were being chased by the Assblaster in the kitchen. The special effects were pretty good and well used in regards to the new variants of the species. This is a good movie and definitely earned it’s spot in the franchise.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 20th, 2018 Movie – Tremors 4: The Legend Begins

tremors 4

So as the Tremors TV show is airing, the last couple of episodes were missing the star, Michael Gross. This was because he was filming the next movie in the series, which would actually turn out to be a prequel. Now I will be completely honest, I never saw this movie until I bought the box set of movies a few years ago. This was because every time it was on Syfy/Sci-Fi, I would not be around to watch it and, since this was before the days of DVR, I could record it and watch it later. I know that is a weak excuse but it doesn’t matter in the end as I managed to buy it so let’s see how they decided to work in this prequel to the series as I watch Tremors 4: The Legend Begins.

The plot: In 1889 Nevada, some miners are working in mine outside of Rejection when something begins attacking them. Scared over the attacks and the mine’s closing as a result, many of the town’s residents decide to leave. Among those who are staying are Pyong Lien Chang, who runs the local market with his wife Lu Wan and their son Fu Yian, Christine Lord, Juan Pedilla (a miner that witnessed the attacks), Tecopa, and Old Fred. As they discuss what will happen to the town with everyone leaving, the store receives a telegraph that Hiram Gummer, the owner of the mine is coming to Rejection to find out what is going on. When Hiram arrives, he tells the assembled group that he is there to speak with the mine’s foreman only to learn that he had gotten onto the coach that just left and it was the last one to come by the town. When Hiram says he wasn’t told of what had happened, Christine tells him that 17 people were killed in the mine and it was closed down as a result, with the only person that knows what happened being Juan, who isn’t there at the moment. Christine shows Hiram to her hotel but is disgusted by his superior attitude towards everyone in town. When Juan returns from inspecting his land, he tells Hiram that the mine is not empty but 7 more people died trying to work it and the remaining workers are too scared to enter it and Hiram asks Juan to take him out to the miners so he can talk with them. The next morning, Hiram shows up intending to ride his bicycle out to where the miners are but the chain breaks and he is forced to ride a horse out to the mine to meet the few remaining miners. Hiram leads them into the mine to investigate but they find no sign of anything in the mine so Hiram decides to have it reopened. As night falls, Hiram and the miners make camp but as they prepare to go to sleep, they are attacked by some freshly hatched Graboids. The 4 miners are killed but Juan manages to kill one of the Graboids with a pick-axe before he and Hiram take shelter on some rocks. Figuring out that the Graboids hunt using sound and move through the soft sand, they walk along the mountains back towards town. When they finally arrive in town, they explain the situation to the others and Hiram decides to hire a gunfighter to come and deal with the remaining 3 Graboids. As a month passes, Christine talks with Hiram about paying his bill but Hiram gets insulted and tells her to start a tab for him. Later, when he sees young Fu Yien having to work as nobody else is able to do his job, Hiram apologizes to Christine for his behavior and reveals that he had sunk his family’s entire fortune into the mine and is essentially broke until it reopens and starts turning a profit. That night, Black Hand Kelly shows up in response to Hiram’s telegraph and, after showing a display of his quick draw skill, he speaks with Hiram about his salary. Hiram offers him as much silver as a horse can carry once the mine opens but when Kelly starts to leave, Hiram gives him the gold piece his was carrying, as well as his cufflinks when Kelly asks for them, to convince him to stay. The next day, Kelly has Hiram and Juan grab a weapon from Christine’s collection and they head out searching for the Graboids but find no sign of them. Kelly starts to think Hiram is wasting his time but when they come across a hot spring that was tapped for the mine, they find 4 hatched Graboid eggs floating in the water. Hiram theorizes that the warm water must have hatched the eggs and, since Juan had killed one of the creatures, there were 3 left. The soon come across Old Fred’s wagon, which has been destroyed, and find Fred’s head among the wreckage. After burying the head, Kelly wants to make camp there, as it is the firs sign of the creatures they have seen but when Hiram refuses to camp on the soft ground, Juan suggests an old railroad shack, saying the creatures can’t break the solid beams of the floor. As they are sleeping, strange snake-like creatures make their way into the cabin but they wake up the three men and Kelly starts shooting at the creatures, scaring them off. Juan wants to leave but sees the horses have been scared off, just as the snake creatures begin ripping the floor boards out form under them. Kelly works on showing Hiram how to shoot a gun and Hiram has Juan use the telegraph to try and get a message out to Rejection to send help. At Chang’s store, Fu Yien, Lu Wan, and Christine are all observing the telegraph but Fu Yien says that it isn’t morse code and might just be coming from Hiram and the others asking for help. He figures out where they are and Christine decides to head out in her wagon to help them. Back at the shack, Juan is still tapping on the telegraph when a Graboid breaks through the floor and tries to kill him. Kelly and Hiram start shooting at it, allowing Juan to escape, and they realize the snake creatures were simply the creatures’ tongues and that there are still only 3 creatures, but Kelly says that it doesn’t make any difference as the creatures are so large and their weapons had no effect on them. As morning breaks, the floor is almost gone and Kelly is grabbed and killed by a Graboid just as Christine arrives, and Hiram and Juan get into the wagon and they head back to town. As they relay what happened to the others, Hiram decides to leave town and suggests they do the same. As Hiram prepares to leave, Christine and the other residents approach him and tell him to give them the mine or else they will send telegraphs to every city explaining about the creatures, making the mine unsellable. Hiram does so and heads to Carson City, preparing to head back to Philadelphia, but as he is buying his ticket, a telegraph comes in from Rejection saying that the creatures are coming and he changes his mind. As Christine and the other residents are preparing to leave Rejection, Hiram shows up in a wagon full of weapons, having pawned his gold pocket watch to pay for them, and says he is there to help defend the town, prompting the others to join him. They come up with a plan to lure the creatures into the middle of the town, where Hiram will use a massive bore gun to kill them. Hiram misses with his first shot but manages to kill one of the Graboids with his second one, but as they prepare to ambush the next Graboid, it grabs the rifle from his hands and drags it underground. The Graboid then goes after Juan, chasing him up a telegraph pole but as it works on bringing down the pole, Tecopa places a long saw into the hole he dug for a flag pole and begins beating on it. The Graboid starts heading towards him but ends up running headlong into the saw and cutting itself in half. As they celebrate the victory, the last Graboid attacks Tecopa but he manages to get away just in time. As the Graboid begins circling the town, Hiram and the others decide to use his remaining black powder to build a bomb to kill the creature but when the telegraph suddenly becomes active, luring the Graboid towards the market with Fu Yien inside. The Graboid destroys the market but Fu Yien manages to escape it only for the Graboid to come after him, Lu Wan, and Christine. With no time to finish the bomb, Hiram comes up with an idea and he, Juan, Tecopa, and Pyong Lien attach a hose to the large steam engine tractor and then attach it to the Graboid, using it to winch the Graboid into the tractor and killing it. Some time later, Hiram is approved for a loan to help hire workers and reopen the mine and he asks the others not to say anything about the Graboids, offering to rebuild the store and hotel as well as giving Juan and Tecopa what they want. Hiram decides to stay in town, which is renamed Perfection, and makes plans to build his house, suggesting that Christine join him there, and as he works on target practice, Christine buys him a gift of a gatling gun to use.

This was an interesting movie to watch and a decent way to show the history of the Graboids and Perfection. Michael Gross was pretty entertaining as Hiram Gummer, the ancestor of Burt Gummer, and I thought it was funny how Hiram didn’t like guns at first but by the end of the movie, he started liking them. The other actors were decent, with my favorite being August Schellenberg (Tecopa). The story was interesting and I liked how they explained how the Graboids showed up, being exposed from the ground by the hot spring, which also explained how they hatched. I also thought they had some fun trying to explain how some of the characters from the first movie ended up in the town due to their ancestors. The special effects were pretty decent and I liked how they designed the starting form of the Graboids, as you know they had to start off smaller before growing into the forms we are more familiar with. It’s a good entry into the series and definitely one that a fan of the series will want to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 19th, 2018 Movie – Tremors 3: Back To Perfection

tremors 3

So years ago, I was watching Syfy channel and came across the TV show Tremors. Obviously, I was hooked and enjoyed watching the entire series. Anyways, as I was watching the show, one weekend they aired this movie. I honestly thought that it was nothing more than the pilot for the series but I later learned that it actually came out two years earlier. That still doesn’t mean that it wasn’t meant to be the pilot, as it did really set up for the series and watching the series after the movie made a lot of sense regarding some episodes. So let’s return to where it started with today’s movie, Tremors 3: Back To Perfection.

The plot: In El Chaco, Argentina, Burt Gummer meets up with a news crew from a local TV station and gives an interview about being brought in to deal with the a Graboid/Shrieker problem in the area. As Burt explains the situation, the Shrieker herd begins moving towards them and the news crew quickly get back into their car while Burt climbs into an anti-aircraft turrent installed on the back of his truck and begins firing on the Shrieker herd, killing them all. Some time later, Burt returns home to Perfection, Nevada and is greeted by Miguel, who tells him about the property developers that are trying to buy up the land and remake it into condos. Miguel then asks Burt about some cement trucks he saw heading to Burt’s house and Burt explains he is building an underground barrier around his property to keep any Graboids out of his home and Miguel scoffs and says thee hasn’t been a Graboid attack since the first one 11 years ago. Burt then heads to Chang’s store, which is now run by Walter’s niece Jodi, and she gives him his mail and asks if he brought any pieces of Shriekers or Braboids back that she could sell to tourists, showing Burt the flyer for Jack’s Graboid Tour, which started up while Burt was out of the country. Meanwhile, Jack Sawyer is out on his tour, which has his partner Buford fake a Graboid chasing after the truck. After returning from one of his tours, Jack sees Burt getting gas and talks to him about helping out and partnering with him but Burt refuses to help his scam. Some time later, Jack is on another tour and Buford has brought Mindy along with him but he ends up being attacked and killed by a Graboid while Mindy helps Jack get his tour group to safety. Meanwhile, Burt detects the Graboid in the area and activates the Graboid siren but when he asks Jodi, Nancy, and Miguel if they see anything on their seismographs, he learns that they haven’t been upkeeping them. As Jack and Mindy return with the tour group and send them to safety, Burt organizes everyone to go hunt after the Graboids only to be stopped by Department of the Interior Agents Charlie Rusk and Frank Statler, who are their with paleontologist Dr. Andrew Merliss. Merliss explains that the Graboids are an endangered species and need to be protected and Rusk says that their properties can be seized by eminent domain, which angers the residents. That night as Burt is taking out his frustrations with some target practice, he detects a Graboid near his property and when he goes out to check, sees an albino Graboid surface briefly at the edge of his barricade then head back down into the ground. Meanwhile, Rusk and Statler show up at Changs and complain about not having any luck capturing a Graboid and Jack works out a deal for them to let Burt help them capture one of the Graboids for study, then let the residents kill the others so they can keep their land. Burt reluctantly agrees to the deal and brings Jack with him to help but while they are setting up, they are approached by Melvin Plug, a former resident who is behind the real estate company trying to buy up the valley. As Burt refuses Melvin’s offer to sell, Jack sees a Graboid coming towards them on the seismo-monitor. When the Graboid surfaces and moves towards Burt, Melvin drives off while Burt manages to get into a drum before he is swallowed whole by the Graboid. Jack manages to make radio with Burt, who tells him to lure the Graboid towards his home, where it ends up killing itself colliding with the barrier. Jack the uses a chainsaw to cut Burt out of the Graboid just as Jodi gets there to see what is going on. After Burt recovers, he goes back out with Jodi, Jack, and Miguel to look for the Graboids but they encounter Merliss, who explains that they found a hollowed out Graboid just before they were attacked by some Shriekers. Rusk and Statler were ripped to shreds but Merliss had used a fire extinguisher on himself to avoid detection but was still injured and ended up dying from his wound. Burt warns Nancy and Mindy, who are in the town, about the Shriekers and tell them to hide their body heat and then he uses satellite imaging to locate the Shriekers. As they make their way to the Shrieker herd, they are suddenly attacked by a Graboid and forced onto some rocks. Burt recognizes it as the same one that had come to his compound and Miguel, who had called it El Blanco, said he had an albino goat that was sterile and Burt figures that is why it hasn’t morphed into Shriekers. The group is trapped on the rocks overnight, with El Blanco seeming to take particular interest in Burt. Miguel fashions a fishing pole using dental floss and Burt manages to grab his radio off the hood of his car and asks Mindy for help in creating a distraction. She does so and Burt goes to his truck to grab some weapons, then wedges the gas pedal and sends his truck driving off for El Blanco to chase after it, then they head to the canyon to deal with the Shriekers. When they get there, they hear a strange noise and find the Shriekers have apparently molted their skin and changed but have no idea into what. The find the wreckage of Burt’s truck and then see one of the new creatures, which reveals that they are able to fly using an explosion of gas from their butt. They manages to kill the new creature but it crashes into Miguel as it falls, knocking him off the cliff and killing him. Burt radios Nancy and Mindy to warn them about the Ass-Blasters (as Jodi dubs them) just as an Ass-Blaster attacks them. Nancy and Mindy make their way into Chang’s and Mindy heats up a ham and uses it to distract the Ass-Blaster long enough for them to hide in the meat locker. Meanwhile, Burt, Jodi, and Jack use a mattress to shield their body heat and make their way to Burt’s house, being chased by El Blanco on the way. When they get there, they try contacting Mindy and Nancy only to have an Ass-Blaster crash through the ceiling and land in Burt’s basement. They take shelter in Burt’s panic room but when the Ass-Blaster starts melting through the door, they go out Burt’s escape tunnel while Burt uses some gas to blow up his home, not wanting the Ass-Blaster to eat his MRE’s and multiply any further. As they avoid the debris, Nancy contacts them and tells them that the Ass-Blasters go into a coma after they eat and tells them to feed them the MRE’s to stop them, causing Burt to go into a slight case of shock. When the other 4 Ass-Blasters show up, being drawn by the fire, they use a boat to make their way to the nearby junkyard to hide. As the Ass-Blasters make their way to the junkyard, they manage to drop a fridge on one of them, then hide as the others show up. They come up with a plan to fashion a makeshift potato gun and use it to ignite the internal liquids of the Ass-Blasters in order to kill them. They scrounge up the necessary items and using fence posts as arrows, kill the three Ass-Blasters. They celebrate their victory only to have El Blanco show up and Burt realizes that it is the ultrasonics from his watch that keeps luring El Blanco towards him. As he goes to take it off, El Blanco hits the mobile home they are in, sending Burt flying outside and getting stuck on a box spring. As Jodi works to free Burt, Jack grabs the watch and lures El Blanco away, then throws it at the last Ass-Blaster, who had recovered from the fridge, and El Blanco ends up swallowing it. Some time later, Nancy and Mindy sell the Ass-Blaster they caught to Siegfried and Roy in order to pay for Mindy’s college tuition. Jack tells Jodi that he is moving to Bixby and taking over a car wash and she hops in the car with him, as they discuss starting a relationship. Meanwhile, Burt uses another watch and a radio controlled car to lure El Blanco to where he is just as Melvin shows up. As El Blanco appears, Burt informs Melvin that so long as El Blanco is around, Perfection is considered protected and can’t be developed, and they have made the necessary protections to the town so that they can live with El Blanco, then he drives off, leaving Melvin on the rock screaming at him.

I will admit that this was kind of a let down as a stand alone movie and would have been better as a two part episode for the series. The acting was ok, with Michael Gross doing a good job continuing his role of Burt Gummer. I liked the fact that they brought back Charlotte Stewart, Ariana Richards, Tony Genaro, and Robert Jayne to reprise their respective roles of Nancy, Mindy, Miguel, and Melvin from the first movie. I also liked Shawn Christian (Jack) and Susan Chuang (Jodi) as they both added some new character elements to the franchise. The story was ok but while the addition of the new evolution, the Ass-Blasters, was interesting, I think the more important aspect was the introduction of the tour and the fact that the town mainly survives based on tourism and Graboid related items. The special effects were fairly decent, as they had a slightly larger budget than the previous movie, and I did like the concept and name of the Ass-Blasters, honestly appealing to the juvenile humor mindset of me. In serious aspect though, I liked the idea of the whole Graboid cycle, as it does mimic insects with the Graboids being the larva stage, then changing into Shriekers which eventually morph into Ass-Blasters, who are able to fly and lay new Graboid eggs in order to spread the population. Anyways, while it isn’t my favorite of the series, it is still a fun movie to watch and definitely something to watch before giving the TV series a shot.

Rating: 3 out of 5

comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 18th, 2018 Movie – Tremors 2: Aftershocks

tremors 2

So I have an interesting history with this movie. Years ago, while lazing about my mom’s house, I caught the tail end of this movie on HBO. As I watched I was curious as to what movie I was watching (I was too lazy to check the guide to see what the movie was) but Fred Ward and Michael Gross being in it clued me in. Sure enough, I later learned that it was a sequel to Tremors, which I had not even been aware existed. Anyways, a few years ago the 5th movie in the series came out and, feeling like rewatching all of the other movies, I decided to buy the series in a box set. Now let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Tremors 2: Aftershocks.

The plot: At the Petromaya Oil Field in Chiapas, Mexico, a worker is shown to be crawling across some pipes, trying to stay off the ground, while something is moving underneath the ground behind him. Reaching the end of the pipe, the man starts jumping on the tops of nearby barrels but ends up being knocked to the ground and killed by a Graboid. In Perfection Nevada, Earl Basset is still living in the isolated town and attempting to start an ostrich ranch when he is approached by Carlos Ortega, the owner of the oil pipeline. Ortega explains that his workers have been attacked by Graboids and he wants Earl to hunt them down and kill them, having already asked Val McKee to help as well but been refused. Earl refuses as well and heads inside his trailer but Grady Hoover, the taxi driver the brought Ortega to see Earl follows him in to talk. Grady explains that he is a big fan of Earl and Val and Earl tells him that Val had married a good woman (Rhonda) while he blew all of his money on fis failing ranch. Grady tells Earl that Ortega is willing to pay $50,000 for each Graboid that they kill and eventually manages to convince Earl to accept the deal and take him as his partner. When they get down to Mexico, Ortega greets them and introduces them to Pedro, the chief engineer, and then says that he will pay double if they manage to capture one of the Graboids alive, which Earl reacts in angered disbelief at the request. Ortega then shows them the supplies they requested from the Mexican Army, then introduces them to the company’s geologist Kate Reilly before wishing them luck and leaving. Kate introduces them to her assistant Julio, who had been planting seismographs in the region so they can help track the Graboids. Later that  night, Earl is talking with Kate about the attacks and why she stayed, while both of them check each other out when they are not looking. Meanwhile, Grady has made hooked some cans to a chain and is attaching it to the back of Earl’s truck to use in attracting the Graboids attention while Julio attaches a seismograph monitor into their car so they will be able to detect Graboid movements. The next day, Earl and Grady set out and head to the spot where most of the attacks have occurred. After driving around for a while, Earl sees a Graboid on the monitor and tells Grady to stop the truck. They then place some dynamite into an RC car and send it out into the field, then detonate the dynamite after the Graboid swallows the car, killing it. Using this method, Earl and Grady manage to kill several Graboids before taking a break on some rocks, but Grady leaves a radio on the ground and it ends up being swallowed by a Graboid. Continuing on to the next day, Earl and Grady manage to kill 12 Graboids, which results in $300,000 for each of them, and they start talking about what they will do with their money; as Earl wants to simply invest it while Grady wants to open a monster themed theme-park. When Grady steps onto the ground to retrieve his umbrella, they suddenly hear music coming towards them just as Earl sees a Graboid approaching on the monitor. Earl tells Grady to get back in the truck and he does so, barely avoiding being swallowed by the Graboid that swallowed their radio. The Graboid manages to snag onto the chains and begins dragging the truck through the valley before it eventually snaps the chain. As Earl and Grady recover from the experience, they see several more Graboids all converging on their position so they quickly get out of there and head back to base camp. Earl contacts Burt Gummer and asks him to come down and help him out and Burt agrees, confiding to Earl that Heather left him. Earl, Grady, and Burt head back out to the valley and begin searching for more Graboids. Earl and Grady detect a Graboid on the monitor and notice it is moving away from them so they decide to follow it. Earl starts worrying the Graboids are planning something just as the Graboid appears before them and Earl ends up wrecking his truck when he quickly throws it in reverse to avoid the Graboid. As Earl goes to get his weapon, Grady goes to check on the Graboid and notices it is still above ground. The get closer and Earl says it might be sick but Grady is excited about the fact that they captured a live Graboid. Earl contacts Kate and tells her to send Pedro out to pick them up and as they settle in for the night to wait for Pedro, the tell Burt about their capturing a live specimen. Suddenly, they hear the Graboid making a strange roaring cry before falling silent and as they go to check on the Graboid, they find it is dead, with a giant, gaping hole in it’s side. Grady thinks something ate the Graboid but Earl says it looks more like something came out of it, similare to a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. They hear roaring coming from another Graboid somewhere in the valley just as they see Pedro’s truck start to approach before suddenly stopping. With no choice left to them, Earl and Grady decide to make their way to Pedro’s truck only to find the engine completely destroyed and Pedro missing, with only his hands left behind still clutching onto the roll bar in the truck bed. Earl says this is something new and, seeing a radio tower in the distance, decides to head there to try and call for help. Meanwhile, Burt is driving along and recording a video log of his hunt, saying that due to lack of radio contact with anyone, he is heading back to the main camp and that he has not seen any sign of Graboids, in spite of tracking one to that location. Back at the radio tower, Earl and Grady discover the tower’s power source had been destroyed, explaining why the radios no longer work. Seeing a car nearby, Grady starts trying to hotwire it when the hear something approaching from behind a nearby shed. Taking cover behind the car, Earl and Grady take aim and are surprised to see a small, bipedal creature resembling a Graboid appear. When the creature appears to notice them, it lets out a loud shriek and charges at them but Earl is able to shoot and kill it. Hearing more of the creatures approaching, they quickly get in the car and leave as more “Shriekers” appear from behind the shed. The next morning, Kate and Julio are discussing the lack of contact from anyone when Julio is killed by a Shrieker. Earl and Grady show up and kill the Shrieker, then head inside to check on Kate but as they go to leave, they find another Shrieker has destroyed their car’s engine so Earl quickly kills it. Burt shows up, having had his own encounter with the Shriekers but he managed to catch a live one. Bringing Burt’s truck into the garage, they take the live specimen to the lab for study, unaware that another Shrieker had survived, clinging to the underside of Burt’s truck. Doing some tests, they discover that the Shriekers are blind and deaf but sense objects through infared. When Grady throws one of Burt’s MRE’s into the cage, the creature eats it and then regurgitates a new Shrieker and Kate says that they are hermaphroditic, able to reproduce at an exponential rate depending on how much they eat. Suddenly, another Shrieker bursts through the window and Earl sees dozens of them getting into Burt’s MREs. They quickly run outside to try and shut the warehouse door but are too late as some Shriekers have already made it outside. Grady leads them towards another building to take shelter but they find that it isn’t finished; consisting of one finished wall and a frame. Realizing the Shriekers can’t detect them through the walls, Earl comes up with a plan and uses some nearby doors to shield themselves as they try to make their way to Julio’s car. Ducking behind a wall, they find another Shrieker nearby and Burt uses his last bullet to kill it, but the bullet goes through the wall behind it, as well as several other object, before going through Julio’s engine block. Finding themselves confronted by more Shriekers, they are all forced to hide, with Burt hiding in a bulldozer’s scoop, Grady climbing onto some oil tanks, and Kate and Earl hiding in the cantina. As the Shriekers try to break in, Earl heats up some pants and suspends them from a clothes line to distract the Shrieker, allowing him and Kate to climb up the tanks with Grady. As Earl, Burt, and Grady start arguing, Kate tells them that nobody has heard from them since the night before so they should just wait until help arrives. As they wait, Earl and Kate talk and Earl realizes that she happens to be his favorite Playboy playmate. When the Shriekers start climbing on top of each other to try and get to Earl and the others, Burt climbs out of the bucket and lures the Shriekers back into the warehouse, sealing them in. Everyone starts cheering until they hear the Shrieker crying out and realize that the warehouse contains snack cakes. Earl comes up with a plan and has Kate and Burt spray him down with CO2 extinguishers to mask his body heat, then he heads into the warehouse to grab a bomb from Burt’s truck. He manages to grab a bomb as the CO2 starts melting off and as the Shriekers detect him and start swarming the truck, he throws it into the back of the truck. Kate, Grady, and Burt help Earl escape and he tells them to run as he threw the bomb in the back of the truck but as they duck behind a building, Burt tells them to keep running, as he had 2 1/2 tons of high explosives in the truck. They keep running until they reach a ditch and Burt tells them to take cover as the bomb explodes. As they avoid the falling debris, they all start cheering their survival and Grady reminds them that they survived so Ortega owes them for all of the Graboids they killed, though he might be upset that they blew up the refinery. Earl and Kate talk about starting a relationship while Grady tries to convince Earl to go in on his theme park idea.

Tremors 2: Aftershocks met with positive results from the critics, holding a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics felt that it was a fairly good sequel, matching the humor that was found in the original. Originally, Kevin Bacon was scheduled to be in the sequel but when the budget was cut from $17 million to $4 million, the studio couldn’t afford to have him in the movie. The creators wanted to give the film a theatrical release but though the studio said no to a wide release, it did receive a limited release in some theaters.

This is a pretty funny movie and definitely fit with the pattern of the series. The acting was good, with Fred Ward (Earl) and Michael Gross (Burt) doing a good job reprising their respective roles. I liked Chris Gartin’s character of Grady but I honestly thought Helen Shaver’s character (Kate) was a little weak and wound up being the stereotypical screaming girl too often. The story was good, switching the location and introducing the evolution aspect to keep things from being stale. They did take away some of the horror aspect to focus on the comedy but I think that actually helped make the movie more entertaining, as the straight up horror aspect would not have done well a second time around. I also like the change of the Shriekers hunting using infared, as it wouldn’t make as much sense for them to still use sound when they were moving above ground. The special effects actually weren’t too bad considering the budget and I thought the design of the Shriekers was pretty good. It’s some guilty pleasure silliness that is worth watching if you need some laughs.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5