Welcome back to the Critters Retrospective. Critters 2 was released in 1988 and was directed by Mick Garris, who also directed other horror movies like Sleepwalkers and Psycho IV, to name a couple. This ends the 80’s portion of the series, as the next installment was released in 1991. So does C2 leave the 80’s with a bang? Let’s find out.
Two years have passed since the events of Critters 1. The Brown family moved out of Grover’s Bend, and their former home has not been bought since. Chris Grimes reprises his role as Bradley Brown, who returns to Grover’s Bend to visit his grandmother for the Easter holiday. Brad’s grandma runs a daycare, and is involved with an Easter egg scavenger hunt for the children. Meanwhile, local thug Wesley finds Critter eggs on the former Brown property and makes a trade with local antiques owner Mr. Quigley. As you can probably guess, Brad’s grandma sees the eggs at Quigley’s antique shop and buys half of his stock for the egg hunt.
During all of this, the bounty hunters from Part 1 (along with local goof Charlie, who left with the hunters to become one of them) are informed that there are still Crites on earth and must be eradicated. So the bounty hunters make their way back to finish what they started two years ago. Before they arrive on Earth however, the Critters hatch from their eggs and once again wreak havoc in Grover’s Bend. Can the small town survive another Critter rampage?
Critters 2 has its ups and downs. While I wasn’t overly bothered by its lighter tone and the fact that there was much more comedy thrown in compared to Critters 1, I sort of wish they stuck to a more serious vibe. Don’t get me wrong, I love movies like Army of Darkness for example, where there’s plenty of comedy. But at the same time, when I want to watch horror, I prefer the humor to be few and far between. If I want to laugh, I’ll put on a comedy.
The acting was a little sub-par to me. The returning cast of Scott Grimes, Terrence Mann and Keith Opper did as good a job as before. And Mann’s hair is even more glorious than before, I might add. As for the rest of the cast, it’s not like they were terrible or anything, but there was just something off about their performances. Maybe it’s their dialogue or the direction or something. For the most part, they still did ok with what they had to work with.
The Critters themselves were more or less the same, though their eyes were a deeper shade of red than before. The movie adhered to the rule of the largest Critter being the leader, as later in the movie the bounty hunter Ug posed as one of them and convinced the rest to roll right into a trap set for them. Probably the biggest change is the introduction of their ability to form one giant ball of Critters. At one point they rolled over a person and instantly devoured him, which seeing a shaking skeleton left in their wake was kind of a nice touch.
There really wasn’t a lot in the way of gore. You see an arm on the ground here, a guy’s decimated face there, but not much more than that. The practical effects overall though were well done given the movie’s smaller budget of 4.5 million. Though the movie wasn’t without its flaws. For example, after two years, why did it take so long for the Crite eggs to hatch? What possessed Wesley to go digging through the hay in the Brown barn where he found the eggs? Hell, what was he doing there in the first place? Well, I guess Grover’s Bend IS a small town, and there’s not a whole lot of things to do there. Maybe it was inevitable that someone would go snooping around there eventually. One last flaw to mention. During some of the scenes of Critters rolling around, the wires that guide some of them around are quite visible, almost embarrassingly so. If you watch this movie, I suggest a game of “spot the wires”.
Despite the negatives I mentioned, Critters 2 was still a very fun time. According to IMDB, it didn’t quite make its money back, so I’m sort of surprised two more sequels came about after it. It’s a fine complement to Critters 1, and it ends the Grover’s Bend part of the series about as good as you can expect. The first two movies in the series can and should be watched back to back, as they have connections other than the Critters and the bounty hunters. The third and fourth can be watched by themselves, but I’ll be getting to those two soon enough. Rest in peace, my lovelies.
Macabre Rating: 3 out of 5 tombstones.