I never saw the first Critters movie. In fact, the only exposure to the franchise I had up until this point was actually seeing about 5 minutes of Critters 2 about 18 years ago. I would normally joke about how not having seen the first movie means I’m going to be missing out on so much but this movie actually is a direct sequel and the first third of the film is mostly referencing the first movie. Unfortunately, this one wasn’t compelling enough to make me actually want to go back and watch the first film so I can know what I’m missing out on.
At the end of the first movie, the titular critters had been destroyed but we see they laid eggs in the family’s barn. We pick up where that left off as Brad, the hero kid from the first film, is coming back into town to visit his grandmother since his family moved sometime between movies. It has been at least a could years since the events of Critters but the eggs are still unhatched because I guess they need heat and plot convenience in order to fully form. The alien bounty hunters from the first movie are contacted and told that they didn’t kill all the Crites, the critters actual race, and now they have to go back. Also they have Brad’s friend with them that I guess decided to become a galactic bounty hunter last movie. If it seems like I am saying the phrase “last movie” a lot, it is because the movie is obsessed with following up on everything from the first film before getting to the point where people fight balls of hungry fur.
Once the movie really gets going on its own story instead of having to go over everything from the last movie, it is a decently fun romp. It’s almost entirely a Gremlins rip-off but the monsters are alien instead of mystical. The movie takes place on Easter instead of Christmas and the critters themselves are semi-cute, destructive, insatiable things that need to be drawn together into one place so they can be destroyed. So yeah, Gremlins. The critters end up being a little more bloodthirsty since they actually want to eat all the meat they can find including humans but still are too adorable of a design to feel threatening. Also, alien bounty hunters that are also shapeshifters. I’ll give them that as a thing that doesn’t have a Gremlins analogue.
When Critters 2 isn’t doing its best Gremlins impersonation it ends up falling pretty flat. All the recap stuff ends up boring because you either already know most of what they’re saying or you never saw the first film and don’t care about how the old sheriff is doing since you have no attachment to the character. The shapeshifting aspect of the bounty hunters is used interestingly precisely once and is mostly there as an excuse to have the exact amount of bare breasts you can have and still get a PG-13 rating. Hell, the fact that there are badass alien bounty hunters at all means that the whole “plucky kid hero” trope doesn’t matter as Brad sits around waiting for someone better than him to save the town. It’s like they pulled all the elements from Gremlins but didn’t know why they worked so well together.
Critters 2 is mostly a light, goofy horror comedy but it can’t deliver on anything well enough to make it interesting. Maybe it’s just because I didn’t see the first film but I was more bored than entertained during this. I’d give it a 2.5 out of 5. It’s not that its bad it just isn’t at all noteworthy.
Favorite part of the movie: All the little critters rolling around as one giant ball of fur and teeth at the end. Probably why it’s on the poster.
Least favorite part: The car ride where Brad needs to exposition about things before saying he doesn’t want to talk about it.