It may be hard to believe but the first Critters film was released in 1986. Although thought to be a rip-off of the far more successful Gremlins which came out in 1984 it transpires that the script featuring the angry carnivorous alien creatures known as Krites who could roll themselves in to spiky spiteful balls had been in circulation for a while before Gremlins even went into production.
Spawning 4 sequels between 1988 and 1992, the 3rd of which stars Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio, 2019’s Critters Attack! brings back the horrific hedgehogs for part 5 part proving a good horror creation never really dies.
Opening with a sinister light in the sky signifying the crash landing of 2 small spacecraft’s we are then introduced to Drea (Shaft’s Tashiana Washington) a spunky twenty something whose dream is to go to the same college that her dearly departed mother went to.
Stuck delivering sushi she picks up work as a baby sitter for one of the college professors in an attempt to get a foot in the academic door. Taking her younger brother Phillip (Jaeden Noel) along to the home of Trissy and Jake Fulton (Ava Preston and Jack Fulton),her first time in charge of the children seems to be going badly until she finds herself suggesting a walk in the woods to relive the boredom.
Once in the wild the foursome discover an unusual white fur ball creature that appears to be a female Critter. Taking it with them they head for the ranger station to find out what it is and where it came from unaware that the male of the species has already started devouring the local populace and is hungry for more.
Like all modern reboots Critters Attack! plays a duel game attempting with all its might to appeal to audiences old and new. The retro music and references to previous instalments including the legendary Dee Wallace appearance (sadly not playing her original Critters character) give fans of the franchise a glow of glee while the modern setting, young cast and cute female Krite attempt to lure in uninitiated horror fans.
Where it works is that director Bobby Miller is well aware of how silly the situation is and plays the violence and gore more for laughs than scares which is a wise decision.
Fundamentally unless you have a severe phobia of tiny spiky space creatures the Krite’s are not scary in the slightest and this is enhanced by the puppetry and special effects which don’t seem to be trying that hard to be realistic.
Thankfully Critters Attack features plenty of Critters attacking and this coupled with the engaging cast create an overall entertaining experience. Critters Attack! is dumb fun and it knows it and as long as you do too then I am sure you will enjoy it.