Friday, April 17, 2015

Review: Critters 4 (1992)

Finally, our journey has reached its end. This, sadly, is the last Critters film and it has been a wild ride. We've seen the Crites invade a small farm, an Easter gathering, and an apartment building, so where next will the little quilled terrors roll? Well, as we saw last time, our final installment throws them back where they came from.

At least there aren't any leprechauns about.

Yes, when it comes to any series like this, you can always tell when they're running out of ideas. Granted, many fans would likely eat up the same thing over and over again, regardless of how repetitive it can be. My love of Jason Voorhees and his exploits in killing teenagers seems proof of this. And just like Jason, the Crites have been blasted into space. It seems a little odd though, as it's not exactly a new idea. I mean, they're aliens. They came from space. This kinda feels like we've gone in a loop back to the beginning of the first film where they were still in space. But, in a way, you could also say that brings us full circle.

It's funny because they roll into balls, which are circular in shape. Comedy.
Honestly, I can't really defend this. It's clear they wanted to do something different because they thought the whole "aliens killing people on Earth" was getting stale, so they set out to change the setting to a space station where the Crites could come from anywhere at any time, making the whole thing very claustrophobic and...this is literally the plot of the Alien movies. It's like they lumped them all together into one giant B-movie. Well, at least it has to be better than Alien 3 or Alien Resurrection. Let's go where pretty much every filmmaker has gone before as we delve into the finale of the Critters saga.

"This is really going to hurt..."
Right where we left off last time, Charlie is ordered to place the last two remaining Crite eggs into the space capsule sent by the intergalactic council (i.e. his space bosses) because the Crites are nearly extinct and need to be preserved. Because when I think of majestic creatures that need protecting, I think of the living garbage disposals who really like the taste of the people of Grover's Bend. Charlie is understandably a bit unsure of this whole "saving the Crites" concept, but his old buddy Ug talks him into putting the eggs in the capsule. But, sadly for Charlie, he gets stuck inside as well and ends up being put in cryosleep along with the eggs as they're all blasted into space.

SPAAAAAAAAAACE!!!
Thankfully for us, this means we get to enjoy the presence of Don Keith Opper one last time, which helps quite a bit. That's something all the other bad Alien rip-offs don't have. Fast forward to the year 2045, a future where Michael Bay has been outlawed, bacon grows on trees, and The Simpsons still hasn't gone off the air. And in this time period, Charlie's pod gets found by a salvage ship...which is extremely similar to the first Alien film. I think I could probably write an entire article complaining about the things lifted from the Alien franchise for this film, but I'll try to keep that to a minimum. Anywho, we're introduced to the crew of the ship which includes:
  • Captain Rick, who is clearly going to die very early as he is an unlikable douchebag.
  • Fran, who is basically Zoe from Firefly.
  • Bernie, the guy who seems nice enough except for his drug habit that will likely come back to bite him.
  • Ethan, the young 90s actor who is totally not Jonathan Brandis.
  • Al Bert, who is Brad Dourif trying not to come off as the villain of the film (which is always hard for him).
You know what they say. "You just can't keep a Good Guy down."
 They end reporting the pod to the Terracorp Council, which is what the intergalactic council is now, as it has their old logo all over it. They get sent to nearby station owned by the council where the computer, Angela, welcomes them to the gradually falling apart station. To add fun to the party, they also learn that she only responds to orders that are the opposite of what you actually want her to do. That won't get annoying at all. But hey, isn't this supposed to be about Crites murdering people? Why yes, it is! And good old Captain Rick thinks so too, as he volunteers to die first. He gets greedy/curious about what's inside the capsule, thus he opens it up. Good news, Charlie is loose to make us all smile. Better news, Captain Rick gets eaten by baby Crites.

This is what happens when you keep you keep flapping your gums. Crite dentistry.
Thus, the crew get to meet Charlie, who is clearly the most handsome man in 2045, and they get to deal with the knowledge that vicious little creatures that like eating people are loose on the station. They take it pretty well. Surprisingly, no one really cares that Rick is dead. Now, do you remember when I said this movie rips off the Alien movies heavily? Well, that's not all they rip-off, as Charlie and Ethan end up in a giant garbage compactor. And since R2-D2 isn't around to let them out, Bernie lets them out instead. I like Bernie. He's probably going to get eaten, isn't he?

Yep. Either that or the Crite is about to cross a line Bernie is definitely not down with.
Bernie, as you may recall me mentioning earlier, has a bit of a drug problem. Because of this he goes off on his own to clear out the pharmacy on the station. As a result, he's now left alone when a Crite shows up to nom on his bits. Just say no to stupidity, kids. It's the worst drug of all. While all this has been going on, Al Bert has been getting acquainted with Angela, because it seems like a better idea than getting eaten. Charlie manages to find a gun, which he uses to try killing a Crite. Sadly, he misses and ends up screwing them by deactivating the ship. Lovely. But hey, there's still one bullet left. I'm sure that will come up at some point. Ug shows up not long after with some armed goons, revealing he's now a corporate crony and basically breaking poor Charlie's heart that his only remaining friend is a huge dick now. Ug and his men kill Al Bert, then threatening to kill Fran next if the Crites aren't given to them.

I blame the haircut. Ug turned evil as soon as he abandoned his 80s hair metal look.
Not Jonthan Brandis leads the guards to the Crites, locking them inside so they get eaten, and Charlie is forced to kill Ug when he threatens the kid. Charlie, Fran, and Ethan all board the council ship, bailing on the station before it explodes. Then they head to Earth, bringing our story to an end. A very predictable and boring end. Seriously, the whole Ug being evil bit is literally pulled straight from Alien 3, for fuck's sake.

It was just as stupid and a waste of an interesting character there too.
The final verdict? Ehhhhhh. Really, it's pretty awful. As an ending to the only series that came close to emulating the Gremlins formula, it's extremely lame. The plot was a generic mish-mash of various science fiction movie tropes with characters who are mostly forgettable take-offs of better characters from other films. The only character who really carries any sort of emotional value in the film is Charlie, who feels wasted in this contrived turd of a plot. Hell, they had Brad Dourif and barely used him. Looking at the final product, it's easily the worst film in the entire series and a really terrible way to end things.

"This movie was so bad that my buddy went bald as result. His wife left him, job offers stopped coming in...it was terrible."
Critters, as a series, was all about having fun with the concept. It never completely took itself seriously and offered some really great entertainment. This movie though? It's the boil on the ass of the series. Sure, the film had some great special effects, but that's really the only compliment I can give it. It's a forgettable experience that never gets talked about by fans, with good reason. I can't recommend it unless you are just looking for some decent gore scenes and are a fan of seeing small creatures killing people. Even then, I am really hesitant to tell anyone to watch it. It's just not very good. I still love you though, Mr. Opper. You'll always be the tops with me, sir. So, until Scott Grimes and Leonardo DiCaprio come together to make a much better sequel where Brad and Josh fight some Crites, I'll be here trying to get the feeling back in my ass. Later days, bleeders!

"Now we break for lunch."

No comments:

Post a Comment