*. Hey! You know that batch of alien eggs they revealed at the end of Critters? Well, you’re never going to guess what happened . . .
*. OK, you probably don’t need to guess what happened. You knew what was going to happen. And in Critters 2 it happens. This is Critters 2: The New Batch. Or The Main Course. Whatever.
*. But don’t give up hope. It’s really not as bad as it sounds. Much like Critters, it’s a formulaic ’80s horror-comedy that puts enough of a spin on the material to at least hold one’s attention for almost 90 minutes. Note I didn’t say that it’s interesting. I don’t think it rises to that level. But it does hold your attention.
*. So the herd of Critters actually looks pretty neat. The way the one shape-shifting alien bounty hunter turns into a Playboy centerfold is worth an eyeroll at its cheesiness. And the giant Critterball at the end is inspired. That’s a lot more than I was expecting.
*. I’ve read lengthy accounts online seeking to explain the Critters (or Krites). Which is weird since they don’t seem to be presented in any consistent way. They eat absolutely everything, which made me wonder why they were even bothering going after humans. The way they seem to reproduce like Tribbles is never explained. In Critters 4 Charlie says the eggs take six months to hatch, but that can’t be right on the evidence here. In the first movie a giant Critter appears, but that’s the only time we see one of them. Just as the Critterball would be dropped in the next two movies and only reappear in Critters Attack! For the most part though they just seem like pests. Why were they being sent to a prison asteroid at the beginning of the first movie then? None of this adds up for me.
*. Gone are the stars from the first film: Dee Wallace and M. Emmet Walsh. Though Walsh’s character is still here, being played by another actor. Instead we have to get by with the return of Scott Grimes (Brad), Terrence Mann (Ug), and Don Kieth Opper (Charlie).
*. Horror aficionado Mick Garris has the helm in his feature debut. He was a fan of Critters and said he wanted to make a sequel that was scarier. It isn’t, and I’m not even sure where it tries to be. It seemed to me to be trying to be funnier. Also debuting is David Twohy with his first script credit. He went on to write The Fugitive, Waterworld, and G.I. Jane, before writing and directing all of The Chronicles of Riddick films (to date).
*. The last film in the franchise to have a theatrical release. From here things would really drop off with Critters 3 and 4 (a diptych filmed simultaneously). But hate on them all you want, these little furballs did keep rolling.