Last week we covered the first film in this franchise so it only seems right to keep it up. When I discovered the VHS for Critters 2 on the shelf at our local video store, I knew that I had to dive back in to the cool sci-fi horror universe established in the first film.
Today’s Key Movie:
Having detected Crite life forms on Earth, the Bounty Hunters Ug and Lee (yeah I know), along with Charlie, return to take out the evil menace. Meanwhile Bradly Brown (Scott Grimes) returns to his home town two years after the events of the first film only to discover that the Critter threat is far from over.
Why this movie?
Like I said above, I loved the first film and was beyond excited for a sequel so of course I had to rent it. I had, and still have, a soft spot for scifi/horror b films and this series filled that niche to a tee.
Directed by Mick Garris (a Stephen King mainstay) and written by David Twohy (of Riddick and Warlock fame), it is clear that this film was made on a much bigger budget and the hope of a bigger payoff. Unfortunately it seemed that the critics disagreed and the film missed making back it’s budget in the US market. However, thirty years later, this film might just be a diamond in the rough.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
The first film is by far one of my favorites. To me, it is one of the best underrated scifi/horror films of it’s time and I have yet to tire of it. When the sequel arrived, I was on board without question.
Obviously inspired by Gremlins this time around, Critters 2 is far less serious than it’s predecessor, infusing more humor with the ravenous beasties. Additionally, Since Gremlins had already cornered the Christmas Market, it only made sense that Critters find it’s own to destroy. The holiday under attack, none other than Easter itself. Mistaken for Easter Eggs, the Crite eggs left over from the last film (although somehow they multiplied) are awoken by unsuspecting children who get them from Brads Grandmother (who was conspicuously absent from the last film but knows all about the events that occurred.)
There is a fun ongoing joke in this one that deals with Bounty Hunter Lee, as the story progresses it soon becomes clear that Lee can not control his shape-shifting ability and continuously takes the form of other characters, including a humorous bit with a playboy centerfold. It is these bits of levity that make for some of the silliness but never completely overpower the sheer fun of the film.
Much like the first film, the practical effects in this one keeps it a timeless cult classic. Forgoing the CGI trend once again, Mick Garris and team manage to create a film that really stands the test of time. The Critters are once again puppets that honestly seem much more frightening and dangerous than their predecessors in the first entry. This time, however, they reveal another ability, they can now team up and form a giant version effectively building into a giant furry death ball full of teeth and claws. It is epic and man is it memorable.
Acting wise, everyone in the film is on task. Once again there is not a weak member among them and, while the film is a little sillier than the last, the actors portray their roles as if they were in a AAA film. Mick Garris’ direction is nothing short of legendary in the b-movie realm and this is certainly among his best. This film also marks David Twohy’s first credit as a writer and it really shows the talent that only gets better from here.
Much like the last film, there is an interesting Star Trek connection in this one as well. The role of Nana is played by Herta Ware who also happens to play Picard’s Grandmother in the STNG episode Where No One Has Gone Before. So, in a way, Lt Malloy of The Orville and Captain Picard of the Enterprise are cousins.
All in all, this is a pretty solid sequel, despite not quite matching up with the timeline of the first one, and one that really holds up to the first one in terms of action and special effects while managing to take it’s own path in the Critters Universe. Even though it was panned by the critics back in 1988, it has withstood the test of time and remains one of my favorite films to this day.
OK, where do I get this movie?
Like I said last time, you can get all four in a box set for around $20 so if you are in for a B-movie night that starts at the high point, this is absolutely the set for you. Just be warned, the Hungry Heifer theme will be in your head for days.
Late To The Game 5/14/2020
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
For more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here. and, If you dig Music, I have a semi regular series called Stand Out Albums that covers some of my favorite records I have come across in life.
As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!