Critters (1986)

February 7, 2007 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

Scary little hungry alien things, the Critters, arrive at the home of the sickeningly wholesome Brown family, who live in Hicksville, America. And so the Browns fight to prevent themselves becoming the next intergalactic meal of these furry little terrors.

Clearly the product of an emalgamation of genres ranging from science-fiction to horror to comedy, where Critters fails is that it excels at none of these. It’s hard to figure out whether the film was too clever to work or was too stupid to work, but one thing is certain: Critters doesn’t work.

A piss-poor science-fiction opening serves as a showcase for some of the most hilarious (in a bad way) costumes ever created and is followed by an appallingly long segment introducing the all-American family along with all the background characters that you will learn to hate throughout the film’s tiresome 86 minutes. From the harsh-but-fair salt of the earth father and the quivering, terrified mother to the bizarrely Italian-looking daughter to the film’s “hero,” the endlessly annoying ginger-faced son, Brad.

Brad’s endless displays of stupidity as he runs around his alien-infested house looking for his cat, acting the “devilish rogue” might convince you that you were watching Dennis the Menace or some other irritating kids film. But the film’s 15 rating and blatant attempt at being a horror film render this choice of character out of place and is further evidence of Herek and Muir’s poor attempt at genre-melding.

The genre influences are clear, from the cat named “Chewie” to the father’s bowling team, the “Pinbusters” to the doll of E.T and of course, the film’s obvious similarities to Gremlins.

But all these pop-culture references only serve as a reminder of how good those films were and how badly the one you’re watching compares to them. 

Clearly, the makers of Critters are fans of popcorn cinema and there is nothing wrong with that. But rather than emulating one genre properly, the film serves as a rag-tag emalgamation of average imitations. The comedy isn’t funny, the horror isn’t scary, the science-fiction isn’t believable and the characters are wrist-slittingly awful.

There are some nice ideas in here like the shape-shifting bounty hunters and the Critters’ capacity to grow, but ultimately the film will fail to connect with fans of any genre. However, it did spawn three sequels, so obviously somebody enjoyed it.

 

 

Pictures: Top Right: Do you laugh or run in terror? Bottom Left: Again, torn between laughing and peeing my pants (in terror, not incontinence)

 

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Entry filed under: Reviews.

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