Release Date: October 14, 1992
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Director: Rupert Harvey
Writers: Rupert Harvey & Barry Opper (Story), Joseph Lyle & David J. Schow (Screenplay)
Starring: Don Opper, Terrence Mann, Paul Whitmore, Anders Hove, Angela Bassett, Brad Dourif, Eric DaRe
WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW
In the early beginnings of “Guilty Pleasure Cinema Review,” I reviewed the 1986 classic, “Critters” the movie with the aliens that look like hairballs with red eyes and razor teeth and ate everything in sight. The “Critters” franchise is one of my favorite Horror/Sci-Fi franchises. Since the review, the franchise has had a rebirth with a miniseries on Shudder called “Critters: A New Binge” and a new movie coming out (or has been released by the time of this publication) called “Critters Attack!” In celebration of their return, I decided for this review to do one of their sequels. This is considered the worst of the original four movies by many fans, but I’m in the rare minority as it is my personal favorite. Yes, I think it’s even better than it’s predecessor which featured a teenage Leoardo Dicaprio. I’m of course talking about ‘Critters 4!”
“Critters 4” begins with the ending to 3 as bumbling bounty hunter Charlie (Don Opper) does a thorough inspection of the burned down apartment building looking for any remaining Krties. He discovers two eggs in the dryer. Charlie takes them out and gets ready to blast them. He then receives a distress signal from his friend and fellow bounty hunter Ug (Terrence Mann) who tells him it is illegal to destroy those eggs due to a intergalactic mandate. He instructs Charlie to place the eggs in a pod, which crashes down on him to be transported back. Charlie places the eggs as instructed by gets trapped inside the pod when the door closes on him and is gassed. The movie jumps forward to the year 2045. A small group of pirates discover the pod floating in space and acquire it. They are contacted by a galaxy conglomerate called TerraCorp claiming ownership of the pod and instruct the team to head to their station where they will be rewarded. When the team gets to the station, they find that it has been abandoned. As they wait for their payment, the captain of the group, Rick (Anders Hove) decides to rip off the pod after being humiliated by co-pilot Fran (Angela Bassett) in a memorable shower scene. After opening the pod door, Charlie awakens and the eggs have hatched unleashing the Krites which kill Rick. With the two fur-balls on the loose it’s up to Charlie and the rest of the team to either stop them or escape the station alive without their reward.
Like many reviews before “Critters 4” is truly a guilty pleasure movie. It’s another movie that would be played constantly on television and I thoroughly enjoy it. I get the criticisms of the movie for being cheap and having a boring plot. There’s a reasoning behind it which I’ll go into. The unbelievable cast of character actors keep this movie from being a complete waste.
If you’ve managed to check out the Shout Factory release of the entire Blu-Ray collection of the original four movies, they each come with their own little behind the scenes specials. In the documentary for 4 director and producer Rupert Harvey claimed that New Line Cinema gave them a combined budget for 3 and 4. Due to the team on 3 spending the most money out of that budget, there was very little left for 4 hence why they had to reuse scenes, lack of Critter monsters and other dollar store sets.
Regardless of the budget, what made this movie was the acting done by the mixed of new and veteran cast. Don Opper and Terrance Mann reprise their roles from the previous films. I was enthralled by Mann’s performance this time around with Ug as he went from being a bounty hunter to a corporate bureaucrat. His promotion into that ranking corrupts his mind as he is only concerned with his mission rather than what happened to his friend. Guess the old saying goes, “Power can corrupt someone!” Brad Dourif once again steals the spotlight as engineer, Al Bert. He is witty and a smart ass but knows his way of computers as evident when he tricks the computer of the abandoned station to give him full security clearance. He essentially becomes the de facto leader as the movie progresses which suits him well as he is the most experienced actor. My other favorite performance in the movie was Anders Hove as the captain Rick. He is a pain in the ass leader when it comes to the crew members always scheming to get more than what he is offered. The other cast members include Angela Bassett in his film debut as co-pilot Fran, Eric DaRe best known for playing Leo Johnson in “Twin Peaks” as Bernie, who is obsessed with getting access to the station pharmacy and Paul Whitmore as the apprentice, Ethan who sees Al Bert as a friend and mentor and gets the brute of Rick’s temper tantrums. There was a rumor from fans that suggested that Al Bert and Ethan may have had a “more than just friends” relationship. There’s some evidence displayed in the movie, but it’s as big of a mystery as Bigfoot.
The Chiodo Brothers return for one final time providing the Critters and the puppetry work. The Critters look just like they’ve always been except they are somewhat bigger in size than what they were in the previous movie. They are still ruthless and won’t let anyone stand in their way of reaching earth. There’s very little special effects in the movie. You’ll see a laser that shows up in a couple scenes. There’s very little blood and gore, but I do enjoy the first kill scene. It’s one of the more creative kills in the franchise. The lighting and the setting are ok as the various corridors would be use for a defensive strategy during the climax of the movie.
There’s plenty of flaws that this movie has including the repetitive computer that’s not up to date that gets on the nerves of the crew. I think it’s a failed attempt at adding comedy to a series that has comedic elements to it. Some of the sound design sounds distorted or frazzled like someone is playing on a broken synthesizer and the overall timeline of the story. I don’t think this movie needed to fast forward fifty years to get to where there at considering the advancement of technology and galactic lifeforms other than the Krites that appeared in the first movie.
I personally enjoy “Critters 4” more than “Critters 3”. It doesn’t stack up to the first two movies, but it’s good enough to satisfy your appetite for more Critters. While “Critters 4” is not the definitive conclusion to the franchise, it does close the chapter on the story line that was started from the first movie.
– All external space scenes and many sets are lifted from one of Don Opper’s earlier films, Android (1992)
– Filmed simultaneously with Critters 3 (1992) from February 1991 until July 1991.
– Critters 4 is the only Critters movie where the Critters are unable to shoot poison darts at their victims.
Too Much Coffee Again
You Got A Date Or Something?
Smells Like A Wet Sock
What’s That Chick’s Name?
Guess Angela Ain’t Going To College
Give It About A Month Before We All Glow In The Dark
Station Just Cut A Fart
I’ll Tell You What My Problem Is
I’m In Space Aren’t I?
Of Course I’m From Earth
Says You’re Expired
Man-eating Hairballs That You Do Not Believe In
That’s Not Normal
Stop Shooting The Gun In Here
You’re Not My Father
Where Are They?
Chill Out, Asshole
You Are The Stupidest Machine Ever