The Graboids are back for their 6th instalment, of course, once again facing up against franchise regular Michael Gross who continues his role as Burt Gummer, the quick witted, self-proclaimed world’s #1 graboid hunter.
As the title, and the box art may suggest, this time the man vs. giant subterranean worm showdown takes place in colder climes, northern Canada to be precise. Whilst the film opens with a slaughter on the ice – of course climate change is used to explain the ‘awakening’ of the worms in northern latitudes – the majority of the film takes place in a research station just south of the tundra. Here Burt, left poisoned from one of his previous Grabiod encounters, must not only do his best to keep the researchers alive, but he must work with them to capture a live one in order to cure his condition.
What ensues follows the now established franchise formula. In short: a series of enjoyable set pieces involving worm attacks, inter-dispersed with some witty banter between the films varied (yet generic) characters.
Indeed, this film doesn’t really add anything to the franchise as a whole, in-fact, owing to the fact that the vast majority of the film doesn’t really feature any ice or snow, it felt like a stripped-down rehash of the events and set pieces seen in the first movie. The franchise appears to have simply plateaued; they’ve found a formula that works and are simply happy to stick with it.
Admittedly, whilst the characters are pretty much throw away, vanilla personas, they are inoffensive enough and enjoyable to watch. At times the banter seems a little too forced, with the characters actions and retorts seemingly only there to allow Burt and his equally fast-talking son, to deliver the amusing crude one liners which have become a staple in the franchise. It still works to be fair, and I wouldn’t say that the film has any particularly dull moments as a result; albeit nothing feels very ‘fresh’ either.
Naturally the films best moments still lie when the Graboids are attacking. CGI has come a long way since Kevin Bacon faced off against the OG prosthetic versions. This means that we get to see plenty of stylised shots of the giant worms launching out from the ground in film-star slo-motion fashion, and their serpent like tongues snake around looking for prey to snare. It’s not all epic, over used CGI battles though. There are still plenty of scenes where the worms distort the ground in the familiar chase sequences, and the usual gooey, OTT blood explosions when one of the worms gets popped by dynamite and other forms of high explosives. However, as with the story, cast and scripting, there is nothing here that feels very fresh at all. No new creatures (although I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing), just the giant worms and a couple of ‘Ass Blasters’.
There are some genuine attempts to bring things up to date, and some meagre efforts to connect this film with the events of previous sequels – namely Burt’s poisoning from an earlier Graboid attack, but honestly, there is little here to justify this latest sequel, other than the fact that there hasn’t been an entry in the franchise for a while, and hey, who really gets sick of watching giant worms much people and in turn being exploded in glorious gory fashion?
Overall, I think if you are a fan of the franchise then you are going to give this a watch regardless aren’t you? I will confirm, this is no worse than any of the other sequels, but still no-where near the quality of the first outing. Indeed, it’s surprising that this franchise hasn’t drifted further than its source material (that said, if you’ve not watched one since the first you might wonder how 5 films on it hasn’t had to!) Its mindless and entertaining, and just the right side of each I might add.
As for where the franchise is heading next. The Moon?