Critters Attack! answers the old question of, “What is a good horror movie to start my kids on?” and that’s not a bad thing…
After the polarizing mixed reviews of the recent Critters series brought to us by Shudder, Critters Attack! is sure to follow suit. It’s almost impossible to tackle such a beloved and personal franchise from the past while putting your own spin on it and please everyone. For my money, the gang behind this most recent iteration of the cult classic creature feature did a wonderful job.
While babysitting for a college professor, 20-year-old Drea accidentally attracts the attention of aggressive alien critters when she takes in one of their exiled royals.
Right off the bat, I have no qualms about the fact that literally half of the people reading this will completely disagree with my opinion on this film. At the time of this review’s release, Critters Attack! Is sitting right on the knife-edge at a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Critters Attack! doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen time and time again. The filmmakers use all the same stereotypical plot points and story arcs we’ve seen seen a hundred times, and that’s why I loved it. I went into this film knowing that I was going to watch a Critters movie!
Critters Attack! purposely gives the audience exactly what one would expect in a new installment in this subgenre. Let’s face it, the original premise of this franchise was always supposed to be silly at best. I did keep waiting for the bounty hunters to make an appearance, but once I figured out that wasn’t going to be the focus of the movie, I sat back and enjoyed the laughs and over-the-top, well-timed kills that followed.
I loved seeing Dee Wallace (read our interview with her here) back with the Critters’ crowd as a loose iteration of the bounty hunter role as Aunt Dee, but I believe she is still Helen from the original. I really wished she had more screen time, because, let’s face it, Dee Wallace is always amazing.
The main characters, Drea (Tashiana Washington: Gimme Shelter 2013), and her little brother, Phillip (Jaeden Noel: The Expanse 2018), do a great job keeping this campy roller coaster ride of a space monster flick moving along throughout an appropriate 89 minute runtime.
Director Bobby Miller, who most recently did The Cleanse, (read my review here – I’m a huge fan), keeps the great cinematic look and feel of a big Hollywood film while working with a fraction of the budget. The quality of the cinematography is always something I notice. If you are going to make a film, even if it doesn’t have a strong plot, always make it look good. If something looks good on the screen, it pulls the audience in and lets them get on board with whatever story you are trying to get across.
Something I always enjoy when watching a movie in the theater compared to watching screeners at home is that I can experience other people watching. When I showed up at this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival, I got there just before the screening began and sat in the second row. There was a guy that sat in front of me who was clearly a superfan of the series. Watching him clutch his face, laugh out loud, and clap maniacally at the campy jokes and jumps made me realize that this film was made for people like him.
Watching this person’s joy and reactions to what was happening on the screen changed the way I looked at the film unfolding in front of me. We all have our critiques and opinions, but seeing that guy’s enjoyment of the material made me remember that everything isn’t made for me, but everything is made for someone, and that made me appreciate this movie more than if I was in my dark apartment, simply taking notes.
Werner Pretorius (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV series) did a fantastic job with the practical effects, bringing the Crites to life on the big screen and filling this movie with one part vivid, red human blood and one part green Critter ooze. Even though Critters Attack! has an R rating, I still feel like it’s tame enough to introduce it to a younger audience. I don’t have kids, so maybe give it a watch first to make sure it’s appropriate for your little goblins.
All in all, Critters Attack! is a wonderfully fun ride that sits well as its own little addition to the world of these teeth-laden fuzzballs. The film will release on July 23, 2019, so be sure to check it out for yourself, and let us know what you think!