Movie Review: Critters (1986)

Synopsis: A group of vicious aliens know as Crites escape a prison and crash land on a Kansas farm. They are stalked by two alien bounty hunters who cause just as much damage.

Who's in it? The movie stars Dee Wallace, M Emmet Walsh, Billy Green Bush, Scott Grimes and Nadine Van der Velde.


Review: We started having a family movie night on Tuesdays, mostly as a way to convince our daughter she doesn't need to go to martial arts classes five nights per week. She's 13 and gaining an interest in horror movies so I picked this one out.

Describing this as a horror film might be a little inaccurate. I would say it is much more of a science fiction comedy than anything else. However, it had been a while since I had seen this movie myself and it was as good as I remembered.

I think the thing I liked most about this was how the Crites were able to keep a relatively low profile, stalking a single family and keeping them isolated from the rest of the town. In fact, I'm not so sure anyone would have ever figured out they were there had it not been for the bounty hunters (Terrance Mann and a variety of other actors due to the other bounty hunter's shape-shifting abilities) drawing attention.

The Crites were also more menacing than I remembered. Both their fierceness and their ability to fire off poisoned darts were things that made them as evil as any other horror movie monster I've seen, and they managed to pull off some intense moments' despite of the 1980s special effects.

I do feel like there could have been a little more emotion from that farm family. The daughter (Van der Velde) saw her boyfriend (Billy Zane) get killed by one of the creatures and had largely forgotten about him by the end of the movie (I think his body might have still been in his barn). Plus, even during some of the more intense moments, the mom (Wallace) just seemed to be a little too calm. It also might have just been me. Sinc this is a comedy, I never thought any of them were in any real danger either.

Final Opinion: Some of the special effects haven't survived the test of time but the overall movie is still worth taking the time to watch. Again, it's not much of a horror movie but it's a decent and relatively family friendly science fiction film that is still entertaining.

My Grade: B

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