The Graboids are back and they’re flying now! Tremors 2: Aftershocks, the 1996 straight-to-video sequel to the classic 1990 creature feature, has been upgraded to 4K Ultra HD courtesy of Arrow Video. The new 2160p presentation aided by Dolby Vision HDR blows away all previous releases of the film, plus a couple of newly filmed interviews and archival features are presented here as well. Although I don’t think this sequel is nearly as good as the original, they certainly tried more with less on this lower-budgeted production and I respect that. Burt Gummer is locked, loaded, and ready to blow up some Graboids in this Recommended release!
For many people of a certain age, the Tremors franchise became a household staple due to the original film and all its sequels playing on network TV incessantly. They were solid creature features reliable for some fun puppet and practical effects action, plus the presence of one Michael Gross as Burt Gummer always added some liveliness to the proceedings. That’s to say that the sequels always end up being more ambitious than the filmmaking and budget can support. Not ambitious in a storytelling way, mind you, but just in the constant need to size up and scale for something bigger with each subsequent sequel. That’s why Tremors 2: Aftershocks is probably the best sequel in the franchise, as it’s the only one that came close to the rollicking fun of the original and sort of had the budget to back it up.
In Tremors 2: Aftershocks, the setting moves to Chiapas, Mexico, where Earl Basset (Fred Ward) has been hired to kill some Graboids screwing things up on a rich man’s oil field. Earl and his new friend Grady Hoover (Christopher Gartin) murder a ton of Graboids but are soon overcome by the sheer number of them, forcing the pair to call upon an old friend in arms, Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) to help. Burt comes with all the guns and explosives they need, but when the Graboids start evolving, so does the incredible danger the trio has put themselves into.
Tremors 2: Aftershocks can’t quite reach the heights of the original, mainly due to the fact that the film didn’t have nearly the budget and unfortunately has new characters that are much thinner and more grating than the great cast of the original. The lack of sizzle from Kevin Bacon feels especially harsh in the face of, well, Fred Ward’s unhappy face throughout. Some decent action sequences can be found here, although the early digital effects they used for the bipedal Graboids called Shriekers have aged like sour milk.
That isn’t to say this direct-to-video sequel isn’t without its harebrained pleasures. Fred Ward is constantly finding new, unique ways to yell and kill Ggraboids. Michael Gross is there to ham everything up, though the franchise could do much worse than a crazy gun nut with the wily nature of a Looney Tunes character. Director S.S. Wilson makes good use of the limited budget, letting the terrific practical creature effects do the entertainment heavy lifting. For those already in the tank for Tremors 2: Aftershocks, I get it, however, the attempts to explain the origins of the Graboids is just way too much. Just keep the Graboid killin’ coming.
Vital Disc Stats: The4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
We’re in Graboid country in Tremors 2: Aftershocks, presented here by Arrow Video with a one-disc (UHD100) 4K Blu-ray release. The disc boots up to a standard menu screen with options to play the film, set up audio, browse chapters and select bonus features.
Note: High-Def Digest was only provided with a 4K check disc, thus we won’t be reviewing any of the physical goodies that come with this release until we have final retail product in hand. All images have been sourced from the Arrow Blu-ray that's coming out at the same time (but not included in this set).
“I am completely out of ammo. That's never happened to me before.” Arrow Video delivers a locked-and-loaded 2160p presentation aided by Dolby Vision HDR that easily pulls ahead of all previous transfers of the film. The HEVC-encoded presentation is sourced from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative and is nothing short of stunning. You get a great amount of detail and texture in this presentation, plus that 90s film stock allows for enhanced contrast and clarity to begin with. The early CGI effects are where you see a clear downturn in clarity, although that’s just the nature of the effects and has nothing to do with the presentation itself. The Dolby Vision HDR enhancements can be clearly seen in some of the gloopy creature effects, revealing much deeper colors and gradations in creature designs. The source is in terrific condition, with nary a mary of damage to be found throughout. I doubt Tremors 2: Aftershocks will ever look better than it does here.
Arrow provides this release with two audio options: a 2.0 LPCM stereo track and a DTS-HD MA 4.0 surround track. Both tracks are in terrific condition, with the former being a nice and tidy presentation and the 4.0 track being a bit more full-throated than its counterpart. Either track you choose, you’ll be treated to a clean, clear, and damage-free presentation throughout. Bass is appreciable in both tracks as well. Action effects like gunfire or the screams of the Graboids keep the channels working for a nice active soundscape.
Tremors 2: Aftershocks comes crawling with special features, including new interviews with key crew members like special effects designer Peter Chesney and CGI supervisor Phil Tippett. The interview with Chesney is particularly fun since he gets into the fine details of all the challenges they had on the production with the various physical creature effects. And as far as I can see, I believe this is the first time the archival features included here have made an appearance on disc. All around, it’s a nice supplements package for a movie of this nature.
Perfection is gone, but the Graboids are still out there! Tremors 2: Aftershocks arrives in stunning 4K Ultra HD courtesy of Arrow Video with a one-disc 4K Blu-ray release that offers a beautiful, organic 2160p presentation of the film and plenty of supplements to enjoy. Although I don’t find this sequel to be particularly amazing, it’s a resourceful film for the budget and contains some very fun franchise moments. This release comes Recommended to Graboid hunters everywhere.