Okay, having covered the first two films I feel it is my duty to keep going to the bitter end. So, without delay I present to you Critters 3: You Are What You Eat.
Today’s Key Movie:
Leaving Grover’s Bend, we follow the Crites to the city were they terrorize a family of three who cross paths with the furry creatures at a rest stop. They soon team up with (a slightly insane) Charlie (from the previous films) who is determined to rid the world of this alien pest.
Why this movie?
I love the Critters series, even the lesser sequels. Call me a sadist, but there is something fun about killer little furry creatures from space who terrorize small towns and families. So, after the incredible first film and the delightful sequel, I was excited when a third entry made it to video in the early 90’s. Sadly, not all sequels are created equal and this one certainly does not live up to expectations.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
I don’t hate this film but there is something seriously lacking in it that was in the first two. In many ways it feels like it was made to be the pilot to a failed Critters tv series. Not a good pilot, just a failed one. I have to admit though, I would have eaten up a Critters tv show at that age. (no pun intended.)
This time around the film plays like a really well produced B movie that settled for secondary actors and the least expensive star from the previous entries. I understand wanting to leave Grover’s Bend, I mean one town can only take so much, but the move to the big city just didn’t work as planned. We are introduced to a family who recently lost the matriarch leaving two kids and a husband listless and clearly unhappy. While we are meant to feel bad for them, all they manage to convey is a sense of boredom and listlessness that is frustrating at best. Gone is the sense of urgency (and intelligence) from the characters in the first film, instead we get a bunch of people who really feel like they would rather be somewhere else.
It takes nearly thirty minutes of tedious setup, compounded with the machinations of a skeezy maintenance man, before we actually get any action from the title creatures. I get the need for setup up the story but there is something to be said for pacing. Ironically it is the Skeezy Maintenance man that has the honor of being the first meal and, once that happens, things start to really move. Just kidding, it literally goes right back to an attempt at a sappy story about a family who has recently lost their mother with a grandfather who believes in aliens. Once the Critters do make themselves known they seem far more interested in crazy antics than eating people, even participating in some silly slapstick humor that does not fit the creatures that we saw in the last two films.
I am not sure that Director Kristine Peterson bothered to even watch the previous films as this really doesn’t feel like it is even in the same universe as the other two. While the last film infused humor, this one just manages to infuse boredom and bad acting, even the critters themselves seem to be phoning it in. of course, Critters 3 has all the ‘big city apartment’ tropes, Evil Landlords, crazy neighbors, conspiracy theories and even deadbeat dads, which only manages to make it that much worse. It’s only ties to the original two movies happens to be Charlie the bounty hunter and a brief appearance of Ug from the previous films. Ironically, the best actor in this film is Leonardo Dicaprio in his first movie role. While he was far from the Leo we have today skill wise, there are hints of the actor he will become hidden deeply in his small roll.
All in all, this is a bad sequel to what could have been a fantastically fun franchise. As Judd Crandall says ‘Sometimes Dead is Better’. Sadly, there is still another…
OK, where do I get this movie?
I can not recommend buying this one on it’s own but, like I said before, 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. By the time you get to this one you will probably be either really tired or just drunk so you likely wont mind just how bad it is.
Late To The Game 5/21/2020
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