Friday, October 14, 2016

Critters

1.5/4

Starring: Scott Grimes, Billy Green Bush, Dee Wallace, M. Emmett Walsh, Nadine Van Der Velde, Don Opper, Terrence Mann, Billy Zane

Rated PG-13 (probably for Violence/Gore, Some Sexuality and Language)

For a horror/comedy, "Critters" is neither scary nor funny.  It makes attempts at both, but apart from a few mild chuckles, it fails in both categories.  The acting is almost uniformly awful, the plot resorts to clichés regardless of how inappropriately they fit in, and the special effects get cheesier the more we see them.  So for all that, is the movie worth seeing?  That would be a no.

A group of aliens, known as Crites, have escaped a prison asteroid and are headed to Earth.  Sent to destroy them are a pair of shape-shifting aliens.  They land in the yard of the Brown family, who are simple farmers.  Dad Jay (Bush) acts about four decades behind the times, but this makes him seem less like "The Waltons" and more like "Moral Orel."  Mom Helen (Wallace) is a homemaker and similarly out of touch.  Son Brad (Grimes) has a penchant for cleverness and fireworks and daughter April (Van Der Velde) trades boyfriends like clothing.  They, and the town they live in, are about to come under siege by critters who look and act like Furbys from hell.

"Critters" is one of those bad movies that tries to run on autopilot and can't even manage that.  The script is awful.  The dialogue is bland and misses plenty of opportunities for zingers and parody.  It plays so safe that it shoehorns in clichés that, considering the context, don't fit.  Like, at one point Brad barely escapes with his life and then realizes that the cat is still in the house.  Braving certain death by the Crites, he goes back in to find the beloved feline and then goes into the "there you are!" cliché.  Right.  There was another obvious one but it's 3 am and I already forgot it (just goes to show you the utter inanity of the film).

When we first see the Crites, they look convincing,  They're cool and kind of menacing.  Unfortunately, director Stephen Herek makes the mistake of showing them too much, and by the end of the movie we see them for what they really are: puppets.  The effects are so obvious that I was looking for the hands under the table.

Clearly, Herek was going for a "Gremlins" vibe for this movie.  I wasn't the biggest fan of that movie, but even I will admit that it's a much better movie than this piece of junk.  Actually, a better comparison would be "The Birds," and while such a comparison is unfair, it does give you an idea of how shitty this movie actually is.

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