Review: Critters

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In this 1980's creature feature, a pair of intergalactic bounty hunters land on Earth to find and wipe out the Crites, an incredibly carnivorous alien species with surly attitudes.
 
 
 
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Written by James Orrell
 
 
Ah, the 80's! The variety in the horror genre has never had a greater period than this decades. Many of the films were popular at the time. Others became cult classics. Still there are others that are somewhere in between that tend to be overlooked when we think about that decade. Critters is most certainly in that category.
 
It may be easy to overlook Critters, but I highly suggest against it. As a big time sucker for creature features, Critters really just makes me smile every time I watch it. It's not the goriest of films. Nor is it the most suspenseful. But what it truly excels in is the fun factor.
 
At 86 minutes long, Critters wastes little time getting into the meat of things. The first thing that really stands out to me is the incredibly awesome puppetry work by the Chiodo Brothers. The designs of the Crites are basically little balls of fur, spines and teeth. And both through their design and the actual puppetry, you get to see just how mean the little bastards are. When they start to chomp, it's like furry piranhas. Yet at the same time, through closed captioning, you get to see their personalities and more often than not I was cracking up.
 
Watching one get angry at an E.T. doll for not answering him to the point he bites it's head off never gets old.
 
The acting is all solid. Dee Wallace is solid as the mother of the family under seige from the Crites. Terrance Mann owns the screen whenever he shows up as the bounty hunter Ug. But the two key actors that really make it work are Don Opper as Charlie and Scott Grimes as Brad, the son of the family. Charlie is the well meaning town drunk who has been convinced aliens were coming for years(and the lead of the entire series). He's incredibly likable and you can't help but wonder if aliens had actually visited him before.
 
Scott breaks the mold as being an actually useful and more importantly LIKABLE child. Too often a bad child actor kills the movie they are in. If Scott hadn't been talented, this entire film would be far more schlocky. Fortunately, he brought it.
 
Overall, Critters is a damn fun slice of 80's horror. People get eaten(including a very young Billy Zane), laughs are had, and all kinds of crap gets blown up by the bounty hunters and their big fucking cannons. What more can you ask for in a film like this? Check it out!

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