It's been eleven years since Tremors 4 and that was a prequel. It's about time for a new entry in the series and this starts exactly how it should, with Bert Gummer introducing a survivalist video. He's having a lot of fun, even though he's bald nowadays, and so are we, but sadly it doesn't last.
We don't go downhill immediately. It takes a while for the cool homages to all sorts of other films to multiply and almost shift this film into being a genre parody. It's supposed to be a Tremors film and references to King Kong and Jaws don't detract from that, but the shot for shot kitchen scene from Jurassic Park does and before long it becomes so derivative that it's King Kong Jaws Jurassic Park Predator Tomb Raider Alien Lethal Weapon Die Hard Tremors. Holy crap, that's a lot of references. Of course, we have a supposedly surprising Indiana Jones and a Fridge Too Far setup too.
The upsides are Bert Gummer and the location, which is the intriguing choice of the Gauteng province of South Africa, known as the Cradle of Humankind, a long way from the normal hunting grounds of the graboids. I liked the new setting and Bert becomes more endearing with each appearance. Michael Gross plays him like he's the thirtieth Republican candidate for president and he's clearly enjoying every moment of it, even in a comedy scene when he's stuck in a cage.
The downsides aren't everything else, but they're certainly more plentiful than the upsides. I think I hated the detachable tentacles the most. Now, they can just leap out of the mouths of graboids and dance around like snakes. Perhaps it makes more sense than the herd of cattle that does precisely nothing during a frickin' graboid attack, especially given the punchline of the first movie, but it's still stupid.
Worst of all, though, is the basic logic, which is completely flawed. The whole idea is that graboids, previously confined to the American southwest, have shown up in South Africa, so off goes Gummer to take them down. Except he quickly finds that they've always been there and nobody told him. Or anybody else. The natives even have ancient tribal warrior dances about fighting assblasters, for Pete's sakes.
I have to say that I enjoyed Tremors 5: Bloodlines, but very much from a guilty pleasure perspective. I absolutely adore the original Tremors, which may well be the best monster movie of the last half century. While I still get a kick out of the sequels, the prequel and even the TV show, I can't pretend that any of them are any good. This may be the worst of them, but it's still a Tremors movie and that's good enough for me. The question is whether it'll be good enough for you. ~~ Hal C F Astell