Critters (1986) ***
D: Stephen Herek
C: 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
Plot Synopsis: 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.
Review: The story for Critters seems fairly standard. A bunch of alien creatures (dubbed krites), escape to Earth, where they make lunch meat of the residents of a small farming town. So, what could possibly justify a three star rating for a film with a pedestrian premise? I'll tell you....
The krites (or as the cover art calls them - Critters) have a sense of personality. They crack jokes. One of them tries to befriend an E.T. doll rather unsuccessfully. The krites don't take themselves too seriously and have fun engaging in violent mayhem. The krites host a variety of special abilities. Those abilities are gradually revealed as the premise unfolds. This approach allows for the audience to be engaged, throughout, as there's always something new to be discovered about the krites.
The writer & director bring a sense of pizzazz to the proceedings. There's a flashy music video towards the beginning. Did they really need a flashy music video? No, not really, but it's entertaining none the less. There's a scene in which alien bounty hunters transform into human beings. The special effects, employed in this transformation, make for an eye catching experience. As the bounty hunters search for the krites, they blow up anything & everything around them and let me tell you. They blow up stuff real good! All of these elements come together to give Critters that extra oomph.
Even when it comes to the closing moments, they don't settle for the typical ending where the cast gathers one last time to reflect upon everything. Instead, they come up with another WOW! set piece to close this out with a BANG! In terms of plotting, Critters keeps upping the ante and finding ways to surprise viewers.
This is a film that goes all out in the name of entertainment. What could've been a routine movie has been jazzed up, every which way, from the design of the krites, to the special effects, to the plotting, to the dialogue, to the set pieces, to the overall presentation. They've token an ordinary story and transformed it into something extraordinarily entertaining. [PG-13] 86 minutes.
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