Well, here we are. The final installment of the Critters Retrospective. It’s been a lot of fun re-watching these movies after so many years, even with the glaring flaws I pointed out. And it’s been just as fun talking about them. Well, let’s talk about Critters 4. As I mentioned last review, this was shot back-to-back with part 3. Despite this, A new director stepped in to helm the last movie. This time, Rupert Harvey was chosen to direct. According to IMDB, Critters 4 is the only movie Harvey actually directed (he also produced C4 and co-wrote this movie’s story with Don Opper). He was mainly a producer for a number of movies, including Critters 1 and 3. So he’s familiar with the movies, but does that mean this movie will work? Let’s see…
So, the movie begins right where the credits of part 3 begin, and because of this my telling you to watch through the credits last review was probably unnecessary. Charlie has in front of him the last two Crite eggs left in existence. How this information is known, and why the Intergalactic Council didn’t send more competent bounty hunters to claim the eggs isn’t clear. Ug appears in a transmission and tells Charlie not to destroy the eggs but to place them in a specimen collection pod that eventually crashes through the building into the basement where Charlie is. If you recall, in Critters the bounty hunters were ordered to exterminate the Crites. Apparently between then and now a law was passed “prohibiting the termination of a species to the point of extinction”. So the transmission ends, and Charlie crawls into the pod and places the eggs inside. Unfortunately, the pod closes with him inside, and takes off into space for reclamation.
Even more unfortunate is that the pod gets lost in space, and Charlie is stuck in stasis for 53 YEARS before finally getting picked up by a wreckage collecting team. Yep, everyone we’ve rooted for in the previous movies are either old or long dead. You gotta feel for poor Charlie. Anyway, some things have changed in the 53 years. The Intergalactic Council has disbanded, and now a company called Terracor is a driving force in the galaxy. Ug is a part of the company, now going by Counselor Tetra. Upon learning that the salvage team has the pod, Tetra persuades the team to go to a nearby Terracor station to acquire the pod from them. Anyway, to sum things up as best I can, the salvage team arrive to find the station abandoned. And during their wait, salvage team Captain Rick manages to open the pod, freeing both Charlie and the freshly hatched Crites. The Crites escape and do what they do best, kill and eat.
Well, this isn’t the strongest entry in the series, but I do enjoy it a little more than part 3. It has a few things going for it that appeal to me. For starters, this may be the most serious of the bunch. Very little in the way of goofiness happens. Charlie is still Charlie, but the comedic level that you’ve come to expect from him is pretty much gone. I personally liked that though, I wish the rest were more like it.
Also, this movie has the most impressive casting of all the movies. We have names like Brad Dourif, Angela Bassett, and one of my all-time favorite vampires from Subspecies, Anders Hove. So needless to say, the performances are a step up from the previous movies. Effects are usual
Critters fare, and apparently the space scenes are taken mostly from another movie called Android. I haven’t Seen Android, so I can’t confirm if that’s true or not. If anyone has seen it and Critters 4, let me know if it’s true.
The Critters themselves aren’t really that different from any of their other appearances. But this time around they don’t really demonstrate any new special abilities, and they don’t even use their spines to incapacitate people. Despite this, they manage to cause a few deaths and their usual chaos.
I think the most disappointing part of the movie is the change that has come over Ug. When he and Charlie finally meet face to face after so many years, Ug is very cold towards Charlie, and the reunion is not what we really wanted to see. However, from a story standpoint, I actually am ok with this. People can change, even after only a couple of years. Charlie hasn’t seen Ug for 53 years, and that is a loooong time for someone to become a completely different person. Nevertheless, seeing Charlie and Ug’s friendship gone was a little depressing.
Critters 4 as a whole doesn’t have a whole lot going for it. But a strong cast, darker tone, and the tension between Charlie and Ug near the end certainly helps make this a much more tolerable movie to watch.
Macabre Rating: 2.5 out of 5 tombstones
Well, this concludes the Critters Retrospective. I hope you enjoyed reading, and I hope I’ve either encouraged you to watch this series, or to watch it again if, like me, you haven’t seen them in a long time. Until next time, rest in peace. 🙂