Fun fact! The first Critters was written long before the Gremlins movie came out. So, if you’re thinking that they were just cashing in on the “small puppet is also a monster and is killing people” movie craze that defined the mid-1980s, you’re wrong. And there were many of those movies (like Critters, Gremlins, Ghoulies, Hobgoblins, and Police Academy).
Fast forward to present day, where there are now two ways to consume your favorite puppet-based monsters. The Shudder channel has a Critters series. SyFy also made a movie, which has one strong piece of cred Shudder does not: Dee Wallace. In her signature role as a “parent of a child being menaced by something,” (see also, Cujo) Wallace returns for Critters Attack! as a bounty hunter.
If there’s a formula for these movies, Critters Attack! follows it to a T. A small town. Young, relatable protagonists. Critters filmed in such a way that you don’t see the puppeteer under a log or a rolling hill.
Critters Attack! didn’t do much to deviate from the formula, and that’s OK. Sometimes you just want your monster movie to feature the creatures just tearing people apart. The movie excels at this, at the Krites rip apart victim after unsuspecting victim. The family featured in this film adopts a Critter, which is both adorable and terrifying.
Wallace, however, is the real draw for me. Armed and dangerous, she’s ready to blast the Krites straight to hell. And when you consider she’s basically playing the same character as in the 1980s movie, it means none of her family survived. Which kind of casts the first movie in a new light.
If there’s one consistency in the Critters movie, it’s the strength of the actors. A LOT of solid actors appeared in the Critters series. Broadway actor Terrence Mann starred in four Critters movies. Leonardo DiCaprio was in Critters 3. Angela Basset and Brad Dourif were in Critters 4.
Critters Attack! is a movie that exists. It gets points for delivering a relatable protagonist, and it’s a good excuse to see Dee Wallace go full Sarah Connor. It’s a fun nostalgia romp. If you liked the original movies, this is worth your time.
Critters Attack!: Three Worfs Heads