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John’s Horror Corner: Critters Attack! (2019), these man-eating Crites truly disappoint in this horribly written and toothless sequel.

September 7, 2019

MY CALL: Tied for the worst in the franchise (with Critters 3). I may love bad movies, but I regret spending money on this. MORE MOVIES LIKE Critters Attack!: Critters (1986), Critters 2 (1988), maybe skip Critters 3 (1991), then Critters 4 (1992), Critters: A New Binge (2019), Gremlins (1984), Ghoulies 2 (1988), Tremors (1990) and Grabbers (2012).

FRANCHISE SIDEBAR: A batch of critters escaped a maximum security “prison asteroid” and were followed to Earth by shape-shifting intergalactic bounty hunters in Critters (1986). They thought the crite threat was eradicated and Kansas local Charlie (Don Keith Opper; Critters 1-4) joined the ranks of the bounty hunters. But remember how part 1 ended with a clutch of eggs? Well, after yet another deliciously cheesy Sci-Fi spaceship opening, the alien bounty hunters received orders to return to Earth and eliminate the remaining monsters in Critters 2 (1988). However, they clearly didn’t complete the mission successfully because in Critters 3 (1991) we actually begin again near Grover’s Bend, Kansas where this all started, and end up in Los Angeles, where Charlie is ordered to preserve the last of the crite eggs and accidently transports himself (with the eggs) into outer space for Critters 4 (1992), which takes place in 2045. However, Critters: A New Binge (2019) seems to represent some other timeline in which the eggs at the end of Critters 3 (1991) were not, in fact, the last of their kind. So perhaps New Binge was more a sequel to follow parts 1-2. Moreover, Critters Attack! Seems to pick up right after parts 1-2 since we see the bald crite and the one missing an eye. So, like the Halloween franchise, this may be yet another alternative timeline.

Now, shortly after the release of Critters: A New Binge (2019), director Bobby Miller (The Cleanse) presents perhaps yet another alternate timeline/universe. 20-year-old Drea (Tashiana Washington; Shaft) is babysitting Trissy (Ava Preston) and Jake (Jack Fulton) along with her own little brother Phillip (Jaeden Noel). For some inane reason they end up going on a hike and stumble across some crites that have crash-landed on Earth. In no way ripping off Gremlins (1984) any more than did the 1986 original, they find a cute white-haired crite that seems like a friendly Gizmo critter. Later we see the franchise favorite bald and eye-scarred crites.

This feels every bit as much TV-quality as A New Binge (also 2019), and every bit as hokey. Slimy baby crites emerge from a victim’s bloody insides, pop out and become full-grown adults in seconds; and the critter puppets aren’t any better than they were 30 years ago. Not that they aren’t fine as they are and pleasantly familiar as such. The attack, feeding and gore scenes could have been pulled from the 80s—but again, it’s on par with franchise quality. However, the writing is as bad as I’ve ever suffered for a Critters movie.

In a wacky turn of events, returning to the franchise as a different character we find Dee Wallace (The HowlingThe Lords of SalemCritters, The Hills Have Eyes) as some sort of alien surveillance operative hiding in the suburbs as an old cat lady. Turns out she’s apparently a crite bounty hunter—another element that felt shoehorned into the script. Between Dee bounty hunter and the reprising scarred-up crites, we now have multiple loose links to the 1986-1988 storyline, but still zero effort to actually connect them.

Overall, there’s just not enough gore, almost no rended flesh wounds and a lousy attempt at a critterball. This is tied for the weakest entry in the franchise (Critters 3). Well, there is some creature-killing gore in the final 10 minutes with gooey splish-splash exploding crite gore, but that’s it. The finale isn’t baaaaaad, but I miss the flesh-stripped bones and torn latex wounds of the 80s.

Overall, this flick is just plain bad. And I’m fearful that our streaming era will facilitate subsequent unchecked low-quality sequels much like the 90s video era. Oh well, there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes. But as much as I often enjoy bad movies, I regret this purchase. There, I said it.

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