I am 90% sure I saw her profile on OKCupid back in my dating days.

Finally, after that last horror movie fiasco, I finally got the movie I was thinking that I was looking for. The one where things come all out of the toilets and chaos ensues. Woo.

(Watches movie)

Arrested Development: Brand new season starts Sunday, May 26 only on Netflix!
Now where's my money Howard?

Well damn, this one isn't the one about the monsters that crawl out of commodes, this is honestly a giant let down for me. Oh well, when in Rome write reviews.

Critters is a 1986 attempt by New Line Cinema to cash in on the enormous success of 1984's "Gremlins". Needless to say it wasn't nearly as good as the Dante/Spielberg combo, but it is not without a certain level of 80's charm. In the film, a prison asteroid is hauling some sort of alien criminal across space, when there is a jail break, because if there wasn't one, it would be a quick and boring movie about the bureaucratic details of a space penal colony. A "Space Shawshank Redemption"...OK maybe I just sold myself on that idea. You guys read it here, I am calling that idea right now. "You either get busy hyper living at the speed of light while all your loved ones on Earth age at a faster rate than you do the the Laws of General Relativity, or you get busy dieing..."

Hell. Yes.

OK Ron. You owe me for the plug and for this one. Oscar. Bait.

So in "Critters" we have the escaped prisoners escaping, and some random bounty hunters giving chase. Somehow they know for a fact that the evil aliens will land on Earth, so they take up disguises. 80's disguises. With big hair. And shoulder pads.

The evil aliens land first, right next to a farm, where in a family of people you kind of want to get killed live. The kid is obsessed with explosives. The daughter is a whore. The mom, well there is nothing directly wrong with her, but I think she is drinking on the side, just a hunch. A mentally challenged helper around around yelling about aliens, and the dad might be Mitt Romney, but I can't be sure. Also, Billy Zane is there, and he is the first to die, so the movie gets some extra points for that.

The aliens turn out not to look like the poster, but instead to look like a cross between a Langoleer and a hand puppet, which makes perfect sense considering the budget restrictions 80's New Line put on it's films and the fact that they were actually hand puppets. Except when they roll, then they are Tribbles. Eventually the whole thing devolves into a fire fight, and everyone lives happily ever after, until the sequel, in which case things probably get bad again, I assume.

All in all, "Critters" isn't a bad movie, in fact, it was a fairly OK movie for the most part. It manages to pull a decent amount of suspense out of an absurd premise, and you can tell that the whole movie really didn't take anything seriously. I am torn by it's sci-fi/horror/comedy combo though. On the one hand, I do think that, if handled as just a horror movie, the concept is scary enough to be legitimately frightening, however, I understand that they really weren't going for "scary" with "Critters". I think, if I were to distill the problems the movie has down to it's core, it is that it tries to do too much and doesn't end up doing any one thing well. Is there a sci-fi plot? Yes. Does it make sense? No. Is there a horror plot? Yes. Is it scary? No. Is there comedy? Yes. Is it funny? Not really. The movie stretches itself too thin and ends up suffering for it.

Had the film makers dropped one of the genres, and went horror comedy, or scifi horror, or scifi comedy, the movie would have been stronger for the focus, which, if you look at "Gremlins" is exactly what Joe Dante did. Do we know what the Gremlins are? No, but let's be honest here, they are aliens. There is some planet out there where everyone looks like a mutant cockroach, but, because the movie never mentions it, we never think about it. It just isn't important as too how they got here, so much as they are here. The movie becomes a horror comedy and can focus on those two facets, and is a better movie for it. Had "Critters" dropped the alien thing, or justified it with a meteor crash or something, overall the story could have worked much better.

What we have instead is still a fun movie, but a fun movie that is, truth be told, pretty terrible. That isn't a bad thing, however, because it wears its terribleness as a badge of honor in a way that was lost at the end of the 80's. The whole movie is silly, pointless, and poorly thought out, but will keep you laughing and smiling throughout precisely because of that. Put it on late at night, drink, laugh at the stupid parts and enjoy the good ones, because they really don't make movies like this anymore.

Oh, and by the way...

Found it...

Rating - C- (but a good C. A bouncy C)
Carla Kepler
5/23/2013 08:03:40 am

Funny.I don't remember if I saw this one or not.


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