Critters 2

The original Critters was a decent little monster movie—the little monsters being round, furry cantaloupe-sized creatures who terrorized a small town and finally were blown away with the help of bounty hunters from space. There is, naturally, a sequel, not surprisingly titled Critters 2.

As this one begins, the red-headed farm boy (Scott Grimes) who helped vanquish the critters in the first film is returning to the burg of Grover’s Bend, Kan., where it all happened. The locals eye him warily; to them, he’s the Boy Who Cried Critter, and brought a lot of unwanted publicity to the town. At that moment, someone uncovers a batch of funny-looking eggs stashed in a corner of a barn, and, well, you can put two and two together.

This film has some perverse jokes, such as the fact that it’s Easter, and the monster eggs are placed out at an egg hunt. Their first victim is the new sheriff, who is felled while dressed in a Peter Cottontail outfit. This act of bunnycide is followed by more terror from the critters, including an all-out assault on the local fast-food joint.

Luckily, the same space bounty hunters are in the vicinity, and willing to lend a hand. But it still comes down to the young hero’s tenacity in fighting the “man-eatin’ dust-mops” to save the day.

Critters 2 was directed by Mick Garris, who was involved in Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” TV series. Garris emphasizes the humor here, and there are a couple of funny moments, but there aren’t many flavorful additions to the first movie (although the giant critter, formed when all the little guys Velcro themselves together, is unusual).

The best character is still the Earth-born schmuck (Don Opper) who now flies with the bounty hunters; he’s a morose type who philosophically explains his wandering ways by saying, “I gotta go where the cosmic winds blow me.” That’s the spirit that distinguishes man from critter.

First published in the Herald, May 5, 1988

Garris wrote the script with future Pitch Black director David Twohy, so I wonder if it’s better than I thought at the time.

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