Critters (1986)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Alien Film, Creature Film, Horror Comedy, Sci-Fi Horror  |   Release Date - Apr 11, 1986 (USA)  |   Run Time - 86 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Robert Firsching

This pleasant, old-fashioned diversion posits eight hungry little furballs called Crites snatching a spaceship and escaping from their prison planet. They come to Earth, landing in a small Kansas town and pursued by a pair of shape-shifting bounty hunters. One takes the guise of a famous rock star named Johnny Steele (Terrence Mann of A Chorus Line), while the other snatches various guises from the people he meets. Meanwhile, the Crites are eating everything in sight and terrorizing a farmer's family. And a wholesome family it is, too, with mischievous son Brad (Scott Grimes of Night Life), precocious daughter April (Nadine Van Der Velde), and perfect housewife Helen (Dee Wallace of The Howling). Don Opper is funny as the semi-retarded handyman Charlie, who is always hearing aliens through the fillings in his teeth, and Blood Simple's M. Emmet Walsh is in fine form as the town sheriff. An interesting kiddie-oriented ploy has the bounty hunters almost as destructive as the Crites until they are befriended by young Grimes. Kids will enjoy the Crites, well designed to be both fearsome and cute by the Chiodo Brothers, who would go on to make the fun, silly Killer Klowns From Outer Space, while adults will groove on the nifty transformation effects by R. Christopher Biggs and the 1950s monster-movie ambience. Look for a young Billy Zane as Van Der Velde's doomed boyfriend, and a funny exchange between a hungry Crite and a toy ET. There were three sequels, none directed by Herek, who went on to 101 Dalmatians.