The people who made “Critters” evidently decided they’d had so much fun with part 1 that part 2 was just going to be exactly the same, only with more Critters; we get the same sort of jokes, the same sort of characters (with a large number of returning cast members) and the same sort of locations.
Charlie, the town drunk from part 1, has joined the interstellar bounty hunter team, despite them being shapeshifters while he’s a goofy looking redneck; although Ug has kept his Johnny Steele face, I guess because he liked it although it’s never really that clear. They’re called back to Earth because they missed two eggs the last time they were there, although the two eggs have now multiplied to be several boxes of eggs. Perhaps the eggs had eggs? Some of them are sold to a little old lady organising an Easter Egg hunt, and some of them are left near a nice incubating heater in the back of an “antique” store. Add in the return to town of Brad from part 1, visiting his grandmother, and you’ve got yourself a movie!
It’s a movie packed with “That Guy” and “That Gal” actors – Barry Corbin as the disgraced former sheriff (his delivery of “this town can kiss my ass!” is a classic), Eddie Deezen, Lin Shaye and Sam Anderson, among others. In one amazing bit, the bounty hunter who can’t choose a good face transforms into a Playboy centrefold, played by 80s scream queen Roxanne Kernohan…complete with the staple from the magazine in the middle of her chest. She was surprisingly funny, which means extra sadness when doing research for this review, as I found out she died at age 32 in a car accident. Of course, we got a few seconds of nudity before female-cut bounty hunter clothes just appear on her between scenes.
With about a minute of cuts for blood, this could easily be a PG family friendly monster movie. There’s a scene in a diner which is even more “Gremlins” than any scene from the first Critters movie, we see lots of amusing deaths (full of green goo rather than blood) and the comedy is nice and gentle, with the bounty hunter transforming jokes being particularly funny.
I don’t know if it’s worth going down this road, but it is kind-of lazy at times. In part 1, they were tracking down a bunch of Krites who were escaped criminals, smart enough to steal and fly a spaceship; but in part 2, it seems that all Krites are psychopathic eating machines with little intellect. Brad looks at a photo, but it’s just a still from the first movie, when he was hiding from his family no less. There’s way more critters than eggs, too, although it does give us the amazing visual of a huge ball of them moving down the hill into town, rolling over a guy and stripping the flesh from his bones instantly.
It’s not as bad as I’ve made out – it’s funny, with lots of good effects and while it’s not got the same love and attention spent on it as the first one did, it’s definitely worth spending time with. Perhaps don’t watch parts 1 and 2 so close together, though. For future Vin Diesel fans, this is an early scriptwriting effort for David Twohy, who’d go on to write and direct all the “Pitch Black” movies. Talking of which, I hope they do more of them.
Rating: thumbs up