Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Critters: Bounty Hunter (2014)

Do you know what I love? I love Krites. You know, the amazing little aliens that never get tired of eating. Oh, and I also love the humans who have to fight them off, desperately struggling to survive the onslaught of the cute little bottomless pits as they roll after them, all teeth and quills. Yes, that's right, I called them cute. Fuck you, they're totally cute!

Just because something might eat you alive doesn't mean it can't be cute. Dogs can eat you too.

For that matter, I also love the actors that help bring these films to life. Don Keith Opper, Scott Grimes, Dee Wallace, Terrence Mann, M. Emmet Walsh, Lin Shaye, and poor doomed Billy Zane. Hell, I even love how Angela Bassett and Brad Dourif inexplicably showed up in the final film. And before that Leonardo Dicaprio made his cinematic debut in the third film. Award winning actors starred in Critters movies. I love that. But wait...wasn't I supposed to be talking about shark movie? Well, yes, I was. I tried repeatedly to write about a certain film that John Squires jokingly made me aware of (followed by an immediate apology for doing that to me). Why am I not talking about that movie?

I mean, clearly it's the sort of shitty movie you all love to see me tear into.
The truth is that I don't know if I can write a long drawn-out review of Dickshark. The most I can manage as a review for it is this: it's a fucking terrible waste and I am incredibly sad that I gave up 2 and half hours of my life to watch it, followed by then taking a week to attempt making a review of it happen. Maybe one day I will go back and tear it apart, but not right now. I am tired of talking about things that bring me terrible pain for the time being. So, today we're going to talk about Critters. We're talking about it not just because I love the series as a whole, but because there was a small overlooked entry into it that I personally feel deserves attention. A fan film about the other alien race from those films, the bounty hunters.

I do wonder if Lee there is capable of proper speech though, as they tend to usually just say "kill Krites" a lot.
Now, as a race we don't know much about the mysterious bounty hunters. We know Ug and Lee are dedicated to their work, but seem to be very different personality-wise. Ug is more thoughtful and even seems rather caring, while Lee is rather single-minded and borderline obsessive yet seemingly unable to settle on a proper form. That leads towards the main thing we know about them: they're shapeshifters. They have no real face of their own, tending to take faces they find comfortable. In the case of what we see in the films, one can assume that it's fairly normal for them to settle on one face and keep it as Ug does. There are repeated instances where it's noted Lee has a hard time settling on a singular appearance. Perhaps Lee is simply too picky?

Or maybe Lee just wanted a form that Ug would drool over? These two could be hard to read most of the time.
Bearing all of this in mind, our film today is about a bounty hunter who works for the same folks they do and is of the same race as they are. We're not given any sort of name for our protagonist here, but since the filmmaker Jordan Downey plays the part, we'll call him Jordie. The story kicks off as we're dropped somewhere on Earth in the aftermath of a Krite attack on a house. Jordie and his talking gun show up to hunt down any Krites still lingering around the premises, as that tends to be the bounty hunter M.O.  in the Critters series. You know, except for that one time it wasn't and everything went very badly as a result.

Because someone thought ripping off the ending heel-turn from Alien 3 was a great idea.
Inside he finds things in fairly rough shape, but sees evidence that the residents here fought back as there is a dead Krite underneath a bookshelf. It makes me wonder if some other people who lived here might've escaped. It's really cool to think about that, you know? He takes a tuft of fur from the dead Krite and inserts it into the gun to help scan the area for Krite activity. The gun confirms there is one remaining. Hearing a raspy growl from upstairs, he figures out where the remaining Krite is lurking. He ascends the stairs and finds it has been up there eating a dead woman, meaning he wasn't able to save her in time. That's a shame.

On the bright side though, she never has to worry about cleaning this mess up.
He looks towards the kitchen area, which lets us see the dinner table looks like it was being used by a few people prior to the attack, meaning I was right about my theory of there likely being some escaped survivors. I can only assume they went for help, possibly that they were even the dead woman's kids. He checks out the ransacked food in the kitchen as the gun comments on how Pasta-Roni is commonly associated with high blood pressure, which prompts our hero to shut it up.

"Damn gun and its constant nagging. I'll eat gluten if I want to, dammit!"
The Krite makes a break for it while he's distracted, but it doesn't go without catching Jordie's attention as he shoots at the little bastard, destroying some furniture. He cautiously follows the direction it rolled, entering the living room where we get a rather amusing reference to Ug's actor, Terrence Mann, as it looks like an episode of The Dresden Files is on the television. I can dig it.

Now I just kind of want to go watch some Dresden Files episodes again.
He goes down the next short hallway and enters the bedroom at the end, carefully inspecting it for signs of very bitey life, as he then approaches the bathroom where we get another beautiful reference to the first Critters film as he points his gun at the closed toilet. He continues looking around, eventually coming to an open hamper that appears to have something Krite-like in it...then is surprised as the Krite it on the shelf behind him, leaping at him. The Krite bites into his shoulder and they tussle, as Jordie drops his gun.

I wonder if shapeshifters taste like clay. Food for thought.
Jordie manages to pull the Krite off of him, throwing the creature aside as he grabs at his neck. He seems to be largely okay, which I have to assume is due to the Krite biting into his armour and not his exposed skin. Not the brightest move on the Krite's part, but neither is attacking a bounty hunter solo. It does the Krite equivalent of a roar as it rolls at him to attack again, but it doesn't go quite as well as was hoped. Jordie quickly grabs it, resulting in it saying "Oh fuck" right before Jordie rams a knife straight through it's mouth, pinning it's now dead carcass to the wall.

In retrospect, getting the seasoned veteran bounty hunter's attention before attacking was probably a stupid idea.
The gun then chimes in, declaring that known Krite life on Earth is once more exterminated and remarks that maybe next time the hunter will utilize his transformation capabilities. They then exit to go get further orders from the galactic council. But wait, what's this? The camera zooms through the house to a basket full of Krite eggs. Uh oh, that's probably going to be a problem. Oh wait, no it isn't, because Jordie didn't really leave as he shows up as the eggs start to hatch, blowing them all to shit.

There's not enough bleach in the state to get those sheets clean now.
Jordie declares "kill more Krites" as the film ends, leading into the credits and a short cover of the song "Power of the Night" from the first Critters film. Hearing that cover honestly sent chills up my spine too. So, what did I think of this fan film? I fucking loved it. It was pitch perfect in every way and honestly had better quality to it than most of the Critters films it pays homage to. The love for the franchise shines through from beginning to end, making it a true treat for any fan to pore over. The practical effects work was also excellently done, making me wish Hollywood cared more about keeping that tradition alive.

I don't even want to think about CGI Krites.
The thing that really stood out here is the talent of Jordan Downey, who I think may be a better director than some others who rake in far too much cash. I hope to hear more from him and I also hope that one day we will get more lovingly crafted Critters film work, whether it be from other fans like himself or from a hopefully talented studio hired filmmaker. Really, I think they should just hire Jordan here to make a new movie. Especially if they can get Don Keith Opper and Scott Grimes on board. The world can always use more Critters. Later days, bleeders!

Now, who wants a hug?

2 comments:

  1. Nice review.

    About Lee in Critters 2, i read the script and it says Lee is androgynous and called he/she/it at first in the script as he/she/it wasn't happy about being in male forms in the original. Yet needed a beautiful form as Lee was fascinated by Charlie's playboy magazine then was trying to aim at the covergirl but Chuck thought his face was gonna be taken so Chuck unfolded the centerfold then Lee changes into the centerfold on purpose and after that sexy transformation, "she" feels "her" body and face with a surprise jaw then after pulling the staple out (in the script which was filmed but a part of it was cut out of the theatrical cut but put back in the extended tv cut) as she says "body fits" which meant Lee needed a beautiful female form the whole time and Charlie was totally in love with her as he says "body fit indeed" all smiling. Yet while she is satisfied with the form, however that nerdy guy pissed her off when the nerd bitched at her with Ug and Chuck for restaurant damage as she got so mad she accidentally turns on her transformation power and turned into the nerd by accident then when not being in the right self Lee thought turning into Freddy would scare the krites but Charlie restored her to the right self.

    Check out the deleted scenes even the one scene Mick Garris regret cutting out being the body fit scene:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GU7QXisW-DM&t=529s

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    1. Wow, that's so cool to learn! Thanks for sharing, because it's great to see there was a lot more to Lee's choices than what we initially saw.

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