Usually, a horror franchise waits for a few sequels before it really takes a turn for the ridiculous. The films will throw in some telepathy (Friday the 13th, Halloween) or maybe plop the monster icon into the army (Child’s Play). It all leads to the eventual “In Space” sequel, which is usually the beginning of the end of the franchise. Jason Voorhees, the leprechaun, even Pinhead ended up in space.
When it comes to the Critters franchise, they’ve already dealt with that theme. The critters are from space, so it’s hard to really jump the shark from there (although, they did later on by sending the critters back into space, but that’s another review.)
Luckily, Critters 2 found a way not only to make the story of man-eating space porcupines being chased by intergalactic bounty hunters (or as we would call them, cosmic exterminators) that much more ridiculous, but to drag a holiday that is rarely touched down to our level: Easter.
In Critters 2, we find out that those weird, scaly, green eggs that we saw at the end of the first movie weren’t just put there as a cliff-hanger. Those space eggs had plans for a whole movie to be made about them. Because of course they would. The critters are a Rated R version (or, should be considering violence and nudity. High-five, 80s) of gremlins and a little less underground than munchies, so it makes sense that the Critters franchise would get a sequel first.
The critters are back after a couple of idiots raid an abandoned barn and find a pile of weird-looking eggs. Since it’s almost Easter, they believe the eggs are worth some money and bring them back to the town of Grover’s Bend, where they hatch (and resurrect their hunger, wocka wocka) and begin the extermination of all life on Earth by eating everything in sight.
The bounty hunters Ug and (wait for it, we finally get the second bounty hunter’s name…) Lee are back with Charlie (played by Don Keith Opper whose claim to fame is being in all 4 Critters films.) Brad (played by Scott Grimes) is back, now sporting an earring because that’s all you needed to be cool and rebellious in the late 80s when you lived in the Midwest. Sheriff Harv is back, but sadly M. Emmet Walsh is not. Neither is Billy Zane, but that’s because he died in the first film.
While it may seem impossible for a Critters sequel to be better (or worse, considering your tastes), Critters 2 came close. There are still ridiculous translation captions, iconic traditions that are put on its head, and plenty of gags. There are even breasts in this one, to go with the theme of Spring and Easter. There is also a lot more blood. Or bloody skeletons after a critters feeding frenzy.
What Critters 2 does not have that the original did, however, is the element of surprise. The beauty of the original Critters film is that it was darker version of Gremlins, a pleasant surprise that is lost in the sequel. The only surprise we get is when Lee looks at an issue of Playboy and morphs into a playmate, literally busting out of her outfit, saying, “Kill crites,” and walking toward town buck-naked with a blaster.
I give Critters 2 3 out of 5 dead Easter bunnies. Add a dead Easter Bunny if you “get” the ridiculousness of the Critters franchise.