30 years, 7 movies, 3 species, and 1 badass hero throughout, Tremors has been a franchise unlike any other. The series returned just in time for Halloween with a seventh (and possible final) installment, Tremors: Shrieker Island.
Don Michael Paul, who previously directed the fifth and sixth movies returns, along with Michael Gross’ Burt Gummer to give us another fun adventure, this time with a Jurassic Park meets Most Dangerous Game twist!
The Perfect Hunt
On a remote island in the Southeast Pacific, a tech billionaire Bill (Richard Brake) operates a research facility, but on a small neighboring island, he’s bred graboids so he can hunt them for sport. They of course breed shriekers who overrun the island, which causes the researchers (Jon Heder, Caroline Langrishe) to call in Burt for help.
After reluctantly arriving, Burt discovers that he’s been summoned by an ex of his, who’s also Travis’ mother (who is noticeably absent in this movie). Bill is amused to see him but rejects his help, claiming that this is still a hunt for sport. But of course he quickly loses control and it’s up to Burt and the researchers to fight off a horde of giant monsters, with nothing but machetes and some dynamite.
Getting the Tone Right
Even from the very beginning, Tremors was always a series that had some tongue-in-cheek, and Shrieker Island is no different. Admittedly, this is the third time in a row that we’ve seen Burt trying to be left alone and someone calls him in to fight graboids.
And while the plot point is getting a bit old, this movie has fun with it and, and Michael Gross clearly enjoys playing the role. He has a great dynamic and conflict with Richard Brake’s corrupt billionaire hunter. He’s arguably the best human villain the franchise has had.
Along with the film’s sense of humor director, Don Michael Paul brings his usual high octane style of camerawork, coupled with really beautiful cinematography (shot on location in Thailand) that we’ve become accustomed to from the last two Tremors films he’s directed.
He definitely injected the franchise with an extreme sports visual style that elevated the previous installments’ TV-movie aesthetic. That said, it still has all the same direct-to-video cheesiness one would expect.
But unlike The Room, it’s not trying to be serious, and unlike Sharknado, it’s not trying to be terrible either. It’s just trying to have fun and for the most part it pulls that off.
Fitting Finale (Spoilers Ahead)
All good things must come to an end and it seems, for now at least, that Shrieker Island may be the grand finale of the Tremors franchise. The only common thread between all seven movies has been actor Michael Gross, who’s portrayed Burt Gummer in six movies and Gummer’s ancestor in one of them. While he didn’t even really become the main character until the third film, Gummer remains the life and spirit of this franchise, and Shrieker Island made the very bold decision to kill him off at the end.
He died very much how he lived, fighting graboids and he went out like a total badass, taking the one that killed him with him. But it made for a surprisgingly somber and poignant end to a movie that had mostly been lighthearted.
Ultimately it makes sense, as this wasn’t just the ending for this movie, but rather an ending for the entire Tremors series. Obviously Universal could milk it even further and try to make another sequel, but without Burt Gummer, what would be the point?
In the end, Shrieker Island serves as a fitting finale and way for Michael Gross to go out on top, before he stops being able to play Gummer. Admittedly, it would have been better to have included Jamie Kennedy, but it’s likely he was unavailable for filming.
As long as no one attempts to resurrect this franchise again, this will be its satisfying conclusion!
What did you think of Tremors: Shrieker Island? How did it compare to the rest of the franchise? Let us know in the comments!
Tremors: Shrieker Island is streaming exclusively on Netflix!