Monday, June 1, 2009

Not Such Cute Cuddly Critters


Critters 1986
Director: Stephen Herek
Writers: Stephen Herek and Domonic Muir
Starring Dee Wallace Stone, Scott Grimes, M. Emmet Walsh, Don Opper, Lin Shaye, Ethan Phillips and Billy Zane

When Gremlins came out in 1984 there were a lot of variations on the idea of a little creature causing havoc. It spawned the Ghoulies, the Munchies and by far the most successful and popular the Critters. This series is one of my favorite low budget horror series, and I think the sense of humor the series has and how good the creature effects in the film looks really helps the film. It is a fun little monster movie that runs by at a fast pace, and for being a pg-13 horror film, is rather bloody and cruel at times.
The plot basics are this, in deep outer space a spaceship is delivering a group of 8 criminals known as Krites for extermination and they somehow escape with a ship and head to Earth. The warden hires 2 bounty hunters to eradicate them before they cause a problem. Next, we meet the Brown family, they are located at a secluded farmhouse. Brad (Grimes) is their son and likes to play with fireworks and torment his teenage sister. The ship with the Krites lands and soon begins terrorizing the area and soon starts laying siege to the Brown family. It is mainly through sheer luck that they are able to stay a step ahead or two of them. Soon, the bounty hunters show up and it becomes a shooting gallery as everyone tries to wipe out the critters.
It had been a long time since I have revisited this movie and its's still a hell of a ride. The direction by Herek is great, you get to know the family before the Critters lay siege and it is awhile before you actually see them and the payoff is well worth it. The script was brisk and tight, with some great humor, especially with the Critters. The acting was good, Stone is great as always, and I Really like Grimes as the boy who tries to save his family. The film also has a early performance by Billy Zane, he is really just cannon fodder, but he does a great job with what he has. The Chiodo Brothers creature effects for the Critters are amazing, they never look too hokey and are always menacing. Definitely this is one of my favorite little creatures on the loose type of film and is a great start to a fun franchise.
This one gets 4 out of 5

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