Critters 2: The Main Course isn’t my favorite installment in my beloved Critters franchise, but it holds a status with me as being very “special”.
You see, back in the day, the Sci-Fi Channel and the USA Network would rerun the Critters movies into the ground. I swear, they ran those movies almost as much as Tremors. However, for whatever reason, they practically never ran Critters 2. I saw Critters, Critters 3 and Critters 4 about a dozen times each before I ever managed to see Critters 2. And even then, I only ever saw the flick a couple times (before it was graciously released on DVD in 2003 with the rest of the series). So I always viewed Critters 2 as being the “rarest” movie of the series because of this. Doubtful anybody else feels this way, but it’s always what comes to mind whenever I sit down to watch this one.
It’s been two years since the crites (otherwise known as “critters”) attacked Grover’s Bend, and Charlie (Don Opper) has spent that time in outer space with Ug (Terrence Mann) and Lee (Gregory Patrick) as a bounty hunter. However, the trio return to Earth when they learn that not all the critters are dead.
Meanwhile, Brad (Scott Grimes) returns to Grover’s Bend after two years of self-exile to visit his grandmother (Herta Ware) for Easter. But grandma’s come across some very “exotic” Easter Eggs, and when these eggs hatch, something much hungrier than a bunny pops out. As the critters multiply by the hundreds and devour the small Midwestern town, Charlie and the bounty hunters may not be enough to stop them.
Critters 2 is probably the strongest sequel of the franchise, as Critters 3 got too carried away with the goofy humor and Critters 4 barely had the killer fuzzballs in it at all. This one, though, keeps a tone somewhat closer to that of the original and features more returning characters than any of the later films.
Speaking of returning characters, we have the hero of the series, Charlie, finally stepping up and becoming the bumbling bounty hunter we’ll recognize him as from now on. While his buffoonery isn’t exactly hilarious, there’s something about Charlie that makes him an endearing character (afraid I couldn’t tell you what, exactly). I’ve always liked Ug more, though, and this sadly represents his last major role in the series; his participation in the following two films will shrink to nothing but mere cameos. Likewise, Lee meets his/her/its end in this film, so we’ve gotta say goodbye to that hangeron, too. Meanwhile, Steve from American Dad reprises his role as Brad and delivers a fine performance as a more relatable hero character. Lastly, ex-Sheriff Harv returns, but this time played by Barry Corbin rather than M. Emmet Walsh. I never noticed the transition when I was a kid, so I doubt you’ll really care.
On a side note, keep your eyes (or maybe your ears) open for Eddie Deezen in a supporting role as the manager of a fast food restaurant as well as one of Lee’s many guises. Perhaps you’ll recognize him better as Mandark from Dexter’s Laboratory. His voice is unmistakable.
Definitely Deezen’s best science fiction film since… uh… Laserblast?
Having only ever seen the TV version of Critters 2 until the DVD release in 2003, I was pretty shocked at what I saw. This movie has a lot of boobs for something that’s rated PG-13. One of Lee’s guises is a busty Playboy model (Roxanne Kernohan) who doesn’t seem comfortable wearing a shirt. I can’t remember the last PG-13 movie I saw with nudity in it. Crazy.
As for the Critters, well, we all know that they were conceived as a means to ride the wave of Gremlins popularity; no one can argue that. Critters 2, however, drives the point home just in case you couldn’t figure it out. The Critters now have more scenes involving “mischief” as they tear up restaurants in all sorts of silly ways, accompanied by sight gags, slapstick and plenty of cartoon sound effects. The Critters also develop the ability to speak broken English, too, only adding to their status as Gremlins clones.
There’s also that scene where the Easter Bunny gets his dick chomped off and crashes through the window of a church during service. That was pretty funny, too.
And yet, despite the influx of mirth and merriment, Critters 2 still packs enough gore and violence to somewhat offset this. Victims are picked clean, right down to the bone, as are cattle and whatever else gets in their way. The finale is plenty of fun, as the Critters join together to form a giant ball that ravenously mows people down, reducing them to gory skeletons within seconds.
While Critters was far from a serious horror film, Critters 2 starts the series down a more humorous path that a lot of fans didn’t exactly cotton to. I know that Critters 3, the supposedly “funniest” installment in the series, is my least favorite. As it stands, Critters 2 is still a worthy sequel, just the last worthy one in the series.
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