Sunday, July 26, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Critters (1986)

Unfairly labelled a Gremlins clone upon release, Critters is a quirky horror film with a talented cast and groovy special effects.  It borrows from several movies but remains original and entertaining from start to finish.  At times it is a little creepy, at times it is certainly thrilling, and there's a lot of humor sprinkled throughout.  The plot finds a handful of alien furballs with lots of teeth terrorizing a likable family at their farm.  There are a pair of alien bounty hunters who can look like anyone hot on the trail of these borderline cute/decidedly vicious furballs.  The critters roll around and wreak havoc at the farm with glee, while the somewhat dimwitted and extremely destructive bounty hunters damn near ruin the entire town looking for them.  The humans caught in the mix include Scott Grimes (who recently nailed a decent part on the final season of Justified) as Brad, a mischievous young boy who digs firecrackers.  His mother and father are played by Dee Wallace Stone and Billy Green Bush, and they make the most of their parts.  There's also Don Keith Opper as the crazy guy who helps out at the farm and the always reliable M. Emmet Walsh as the baffled sheriff.  Those viewers who are expecting a bloody romp may be a bit disappointed with the minimal body count, but anyone expecting a lighthearted picture will be taken aback by the violence and language.  It's a kooky flick and it may be underrated simply because it's hard to determine exactly what audience the filmmakers were aiming for.  Critters is a bit too rough to be kiddie fare and many adults will find it too silly to enjoy.  However, those who like a zany creature feature and anyone who shares my enthusiasm for 80s horror movies will have a blast with this one. 

Final Grade: B+
Dee Wallace Stone shows some range, going from loving mother to
scared mother before finally arriving at angry mother/critter-slaying machine.

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