Critters (1986)

DVD Cover (New Line Studios)
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Connections: Critters

A massive ball of furry creatures from another world eat their way through a small mid-western town followed by intergalactic bounty hunters opposed only by militant townspeople. --TMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: November 9, 2007
Sure, alien invasion and monster movies were all a dime a dozen during the '80s, but Critters always stood out in my opinion. While on the surface it seems as hokey and unoriginal as the rest of them, there's something about the way it was put together, and the way everyone seemed to be on top of things that makes it just that much better. It's not perfect by any means, but it's still fun as hell.

The Browns are your typical farming family from your typical rural town. April (Nadine Van der Velde) and her younger brother, Brad (Scott Grimes), are constantly at each other's throats. Their father, Jay (Billy Green Bush), makes his living with his hands and his wife, Helen (Dee Wallace Stone), puts every ounce of energy she has into making sure the family is held together. However, what they're about to go through is far from typical. Out in space, a group of prisoners are being transferred to a high security asteroid prison. These prisoners are so out of control they actually had to kill two of them en route just to keep things from spiraling out. Upon arriving the remaining eight put their plan into action and are able to hijack a spaceship and fly off. The warden hurriedly summons two bounty hunters to track the escapees. The prisoners are a species known as Crites, a ferocious hedgehog-looking thing with more than their fair share of deadly tricks. They crash-land outside of the Brown's farm and quickly surround the house, cutting off their phone and power. The family soon realizes they're in a fight for survival, and their only hope rests on whether the bounty hunters can get there in time.

Doesn't sound very special, does it? Like I said, it's all about the little things. First off, these weren't just mindless creatures operating on instinct. No, Crites are more than intelligent enough to actually plan ambushes and better their own odds. It brings a lot to the table when you realize these things are just as smart if not smarter than you are. With that said, this isn't one of those slow, suspenseful horrors. In fact, just the opposite, once it gets rolling it moves along at a very nice pace and actually has quite a few laughs thrown in there for good measure.

Another thing working in this movie's favor is just how well everyone worked off each other. Everybody involved gave a solid performance; even the kids, surprisingly enough. The family here acted very close to what you would imagine actual people would behave if caught in this situation. Even the supporting characters, like the bar tender and the sheriff, had very low occurrences of 'only-in-a-movie' thinking. The only exception here is the town drunk, Charlie. While his antics do break from the relative realism, he's entertaining as hell. And given the context of the movie anyway, all is forgiven.

Any fans of this cheesy sort of horror would do well to give Critters a shot. It's admittedly got a fairly severe case of '80s-itis, but it's still a solid release. Speaking of, one of the bounty hunters takes the form of rocker Johnny Steele (Terrence Mann), who's current hit "The Power of the Night" is peppered throughout the film as an added bonus to you fans of '80s hair metal. 8/10
Ginose #1: Ginose - added September 15, 2005 at 4:16pm
One of the greatest alien invasion movies on this site! It was hilarious! Not to violent, but the suspense keeps you guessing. I really like the part where they roll over the farmer and all that is left are bones, that's funny.
Griffinheart #2: Griffinheart - added October 23, 2007 at 1:05am
I think you may be thinking of one of the sequels unless that scene was edited out of the version I just picked up. While I still enjoyed the first one, most of the good Critters moments I remember aren't from the first movie.
Crispy #3: Crispy - added November 9, 2007 at 8:17pm
Yeah, that was in Critters 2. Just finished it.
Lucid Dreams #4: Lucid Dreams - added April 29, 2009 at 2:06am
This movie had it's moments but dragged on a bit, plus those fucking bounty hunters didn't do shit. 6/10
Optimus Prime #5: Optimus Prime - added October 13, 2009 at 3:40am
Entertaining as hell. Can't say I want to dig further into the other films though, didn't really catch.. 7/10.
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