I don’t know what was in the water during the ’80s, but I think they have to put it back in. It was a Golden Age for fun films, particularly in the horror and sci-fi genres. One of the sub-genres that came from horror and sci-fi was the little creature feature: films featuring funny, violent creatures that you could hug or run for your life from at the same time, like Gremlins, Munchies, Ghoulies, Troll, The Gate, and Hobgoblins.
But there is one little creature feature franchise that did it the longest, and even had a mini-binge series on the horror streaming service Shudder: Critters: A New Binge. Today we continue our quest to see if this franchise was deserving of that streaming series with Critters 2: The Main Course, aka The Critters Ruin Easter.
Movie: Critters 2: The Main Course (1988)
Plot: 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.
Killer: The hatched spawn of the original Crites that landed on Earth.
Critique: Sequels usually run into trouble when they try to expand an original film’s universe a little too much. Sometimes the plot is force-fed a bit more depth to give the sequel some relevance so the audience isn’t left wondering why they didn’t just re-watch the original. Sometimes the sequel changes up the setting to give the series some new shots to play with. Sometimes there’s a back-story involved.
Critters 2 does none of these things, which is why, as a sequel, it works. The film takes place a few years after the original, so the characters that return have some time to grow up, get their ears pierced, and get sober in space. That and an uptick in the gore and body count (which is always a good thing for a scifi-horror franchise) are the only things that really change from the original to the sequel. Oh, sorry. The space warden changes shape, but is still named the same. That is really the only thing that I agonize over when watching Critters 2.
The acting is still over the top, the critters special effects are still sometimes goofy, and the franchise is still compared to Gremlins, but guess what? It’s still a fun, goofy scifi-horror flick, and not mearly as off the wall of a sequel as Gremlins 2: The New Batch.
Scene of Awesomeness: The bounty hunters blowing up a burger joint infested by Critters doing their best impersonation of Gremlins has the best action sequence, so let’s go with that.
Scene of Ridiculousness: We go past the 4th wall to… I don’t even know what wall depth, when Brad picks up a picture of him and Charlie that happens to be a film still from the first Critters. Who took the damn picture?!
Body Count: 6 humans, 1 dog, and countless cows confirmed
1 dog eaten alive
4 people generically eaten alive
1 Easter Bunny eaten alive in his costume
An unknown amount of cows
1 run over by a giant Critter ball (Awesomely Overkill Award )
One pair of breasts. In a PG-13 movie! gotta love the ’80s envelope.
Actors/Actresses of Note: Scott Grimes is back as Brad, now with a prerequisite ’80s ear piercing, along with Lin Shaye. We also have Don Keith Opper, since this is the only franchise that gave him a reoccurring role. Tom Hodges joins the cast this time around as bully Wesley, since he did such a good job in a similar role in Revenge of the Nerds 2. Then we have child horror actress Lindsay Parker, who also played a little girl in Flowers in the Attic and Shocker. Sam Anderson was the principal that banged Forrest Gump’s mom in Forrest Gump, and Barry Corbin has been in everything. Pretty noteworthy cast for the Critters franchise… again.
Quote: “Kinda like a ‘Jimmy Olsen’ with breasts.” – Brad