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Critters – 6

Director – Stephen Herek

Cast – Dee Wallace, M. Emmet Walsh, Billy Green Bush, Scott Grimes, Nadine Van der Velde, Don Keith Opper, Billy Zane, Ethan Phillips, Terrence Mann, Jeremy Lawrence, Lin Shaye

Release Year – 1986

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Critters was one of my favorite films to watch while growing up, and despite that I had not seen this flick in about 15 years.  I was stoked to see if I would enjoy this piece as I did growing up, and although I did find some enjoyable elements in this piece I was a bit disappointed in the end result.  The gore was there at times and the Critters provided the fun I wanted to see, but this New Line answer to Gremlins failed compared to Joe Dante’s classic and was a slight letdown compared to the film I remembered/wanted it to be.

When a group of furry “critters” crash land in the midst of a rural farming community, the townsfolk find themselves under attack by the hungry and homicidal creatures also being pursued by intergalactic bounty hunters.

My love for creature films at an early age was aided heavily by the Critters flicks, and despite my predisposition for enjoying this piece I must say that is really is a fun experience despite its faults. The cheese hits early on, with an opening sequence involving the space-age bounty hunters entering Earth’s orbit and the critters crash-landing in a field nearby our protagonists, the Brown family. The rest of the film moves pretty slow, giving us very little critter action until the latter half of the film where things pick up decently well. The look and usage of the critters was great, with them shooting sharp barbs at their victims and managing to munch on a few of them in the process. The look of the bounty hunters, however, was pretty darn ridiculous in both good and bad ways. I loved the cheese associated with their look and mannerisms, but at the same time the execution of them and the protagonists was just downright awful character/performance-wise. In addition to that I was also a bit disappointed with the critters story-wise due to them only (spoiler approaching) killing two people in the entire film, with a few others simple injured / maimed by them in one way or another. The film boasts a PG-13 rating, but I still expected decent horror given this being a creature effort and one that involved some sweet creatures capable of deliver good gory deaths, but this story lacked the horror I wanted to see.

Director Stephen Herek did an OK job directing the story he co-wrote with Domonic Muir, giving us some fun elements that managed to keep me engaged despite the storyline’s disappointments. The cheesiness of the characters and actors involved was a fun cheese that I constantly laughed and poked fun at, making this one of “those” flicks that you should not take seriously if you wish to leave with a smile. I enjoyed seeing the fuzzy wuzzy critters do their thing despite the lack of kills and gore, especially given the critters actually spoke English and added to the nonsense already present in this fun but sadly flawed effort.

Overall, Critters is a flick that will take some forgiveness to appreciate but can still provide you with a fun experience if you let it.

Rating: 6/10

  1. May 30, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Omigosh. I may have been 13 when my friends and I rented this movie on VHS. Totally fun time. I am considering adding Critters to my list of Childhood Movies I Made My Kid Watch…

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