Tremors: Shrieker Island

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Tremors: Shrieker Island Movie Poster Image
Fake-looking monsters, blood, in cheap sequel.
  • PG-13
  • 2020
  • 103 minutes

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

People shouldn't mess around with Mother Nature. Courage is shown in the face of difficult odds.

Positive Role Models

The supporting cast includes two powerful women of color who charge right into battle. Unfortunately, other characters of color (a Black man and an Asian woman) are sidelined, seemingly there to perform needed tasks without any dialogue or character development. Burt might be considered something of a role model, given his long history fighting the giant worms, but he also has displays of selfishness and poor behavior. (Here, however, he goes out as a hero.)

Violence

Character eaten by Graboid; lots of blood. Lots of guns and shooting. High-powered rifle. Bunker filled with dynamite, machetes, etc. Monster chainsawed, with lots of beast-gore. Raining beast guts after explosion. Bloody giant worm corpse. Bloody spatter on lightbulb from offscreen kill. Other small blood sprays. Flamethrowers. Tranquilizer darts. Graboid drags man away. Bow-and-arrow shooting. Scary noises (shrieking). Characters bound with zip-ties. Main character(s) die.

Sex

Women in tight/revealing clothing. Reference to a drinking game with "stripping."

Language

Uses of "s--t," "bats--t," "bitch," "ass," "hell," "piss," "friggin'," "fart." Middle-finger gesture.

Consumerism

Mention of Red Bull. Main character wears a Cincinnati Reds baseball cap.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Supporting adult characters are shown drunk. Character wakes up with a comical hangover. Character carries a flask and is described as constantly drinking. Characters share expensive whiskey. Dialogue about drinking vodka and "expensive booze." Dialogue about a drinking game ("Flip, Sip, or Strip?"). Magic mushrooms are mentioned, and a character is said to have been arrested for smuggling them.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tremors: Shrieker Island is the seventh sci-fi/action/monster movie in the Tremors franchise, which are all about brave people battling gigantic, human-eating worms. Longtime fans may enjoy it, but otherwise it's pretty tired and clunky. Expect lots of monster-related violence and fake-looking blood and gore. Humans are largely killed offscreen, but some blood spatter is shown. Creature gore is much stronger. Many weapons are shown and fired, including high-powered rifles, other guns, a bow and arrow, flamethrowers, dynamite, etc. Key character(s) die. Language includes uses of "s--t," "bitch," and more. Secondary characters are said to be drunk, and a main character wakes up with a hangover. Characters share whiskey, and magic mushrooms are mentioned. Female characters wear revealing clothing, and a "strip" drinking game is mentioned.

User Reviews

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Kid, 12 years old November 12, 2020

What's the story?

In TREMORS: SHRIEKER ISLAND, a group of professional hunters led by the maniacal Bill (Richard Brake) offers wealthy tourists the chance to hunt genetically modified "Graboids" -- gigantic, underground-dwelling, human-eating worms. On a nearby nature preserve, scientists Jas (Caroline Langrishe) and Jimmy (Jon Heder) find evidence that something is up and investigate. There, they discover that one of the Graboids has spawned several deadly "Shriekers," which reproduce rapidly. Jas puts out a call to the legendary Burt Gummer (Michael Gross), who's battled these monsters for 30 years. Joined by weapons expert Freddie (Jackie Cruz) and archer Anna (Cassie Clare), Burt and Jimmy go to war against the beasts. But first they must contend with Bill.

Is it any good?

This seventh movie in the Tremors series is interesting mainly due to Burt and a few other likable characters, but it's cheap and not particularly inventive, with little new to say. Gross (who's also known for Family Ties) was a supporting character in the fun original Tremors (1990); his character, Burt, has gone on to appear in every other Tremors movie (with the exception of the fourth, a prequel, in which he played Burt's great-grandfather) -- and even the 2003 TV series. That's a long history, and he carries it proudly, even if he doesn't really have anything to do in Tremors: Shrieker Island that he hasn't done before.

Heder plays yet another lovable goofball, charging into the fray despite his perceived cowardice/weaknesses, and Cruz (Orange Is the New Black) plays the kind of tough, powerful woman you'd want on your side. But director Don Michael Paul movie feels rushed and ill-timed; it goes on too long and yet feels choppy and truncated. Two characters of color are left stranded with virtually no dialogue, with their jobs being simply to obey any orders barked at them. And the digital monster effects feel plasticky and dislocated, leaving very few actual scares. But if the main job of Tremors: Shrieker Island is to cement the legacy of Burt Gummer, then it does that job just fine.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Tremors: Shrieker Island's violence. Did the monster-related blood and gore shock/scare you? Why or why not?

  • How would you describe the movie's representations? Do characters of color have any power? Do women have agency? Why is diverse representation important in the media?

  • How is drinking depicted here? Is it glamorized? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?

  • Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of movies about giant monsters?

  • Do you consider Burt a hero or a role model? What are his strengths and flaws?

Movie details

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Themes & Topics

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