Director: Bobby Miller
Cast: Tashiana Washington, Ava Preston, Dee Wallace
Release Date: July 23, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 4/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
In this continuation of the beloved 80s film series, a young townie must protect the kids she’s babysitting from an invasion of Crites – tiny, insatiable, carnivorous aliens – who’ve returned to capture a runaway royal of the species. Who will survive? And who will be eaten?
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
An all new entry in the beloved 80’s ‘Critters’ creature franchise, ‘Critters Attack!’ brings those mischievous Crites back to Earth for another serving. The film accompanies a young and hardworking local girl who hesitantly accepts a baby-sitting gig in the hopes of building key relationships that could assist her in getting accepted to the college of her dreams. But when she, along with her brother and the two kids in her charge find themselves confronted by the deadly Crites and become witness to what they’re capable of, they will have to work together and fight back with anything at their disposal in an attempt to protect themselves and their town from this deadly alien invasion.
Directed by Bobby Miller (The Cleanse) from a screenplay written by Scott Lobdell (Happy Death Day), Miller does a pretty capable job at the helm of ‘Critters Attack!’ guiding it along as best possible for the most part. The film’s cast is largely comprised of lesser known individuals and includes Tashiana Washington (Shaft 2019), Ava Preston (Shazam!), Jack Fulton (TV’s Shadowhunters), Jaeden Noel (TV’s Killjoys) and the most notable inclusion of course being the return of Dee Wallace to the franchise who starred in the original 1986 ‘Critters’ film. Some cast members offer better performances than others in each of their respective roles, but there’s no question that the creatures are definitely the real stars of the show here.
‘Critters Attack!’ sees the long-awaited return of the Crites in their first new movie since 1992’s ‘Critters 4’ (excluding the recent streaming series of course) and their return is somewhat of a mixed bag, although it’s certainly a definite improvement over the fourth installment. The film does have its share of faults and tends to fall victim to a few too many uninteresting characters and a bit too much focus on their personal issues, as well as a story that often feels like it’s somewhat unsure of what direction to take and finds itself jumping from one odd situation to another in an attempt to find new areas and situations to bring in the deadly little monsters. Not that more focus on the creatures by whatever means necessary is a terrible idea and the film probably could have benefited from far less focus on the key human characters. Although the film certainly isn’t without its positive elements either and its (re)creation of the creatures themselves and the practical means of crafting them are quite impressive, delivering a faithful and detailed representation that stays true to the original movies in nearly all of the prominent aspects of appearance, while also serving up its share of competent gore along the way. Even while much of the general story and other various elements within aren’t overly impressive, it still manages to be fairly fun in its own right if you can tough through some of the more painful moments of which there are undeniably a good few. Fortunately there are also some at least moderately rewarding sequences and bits sprinkled throughout and the creatures and gore alone will probably make most fans of the franchise want to at least give it a chance in order to make up their own minds.
Overall, ‘Critters Attack!’ has its charms and does a rather impressive job of faithfully bringing the Crites back to the screen (and by practical means) while delivering some solid blood and gore throughout, but also finds itself bogged down by the dull storylines revolving around the key human characters and a somewhat struggling story that often seems to wander all over the place. Dedicated fans of the ‘Critters’ franchise will probably want to at least try and check this one at some point in order to decide for themselves, although it certainly wouldn’t do any harm to rent the film before purchasing a copy of the Blu-ray just to be safe, unless of course you’re determined to have a complete collection. It’s far from perfect but it also gets some of the important things right and offers a good few solidly enjoyable scenes along the way; likely enough for many fans to at least have some degree of fun with it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Critters Attack!’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty great as a whole and offers a sharp, smooth and detailed presentation from start to finish with no notable faults or issues to be uncovered throughout. It holds up remarkably well even during the numerous darkly lit sequences, never resulting in anything onscreen becoming negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation that should more than satisfy those interested in checking out or purchasing the movie.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack serves up a smooth, clean and fairly impressive audio presentation throughout. It consistently takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send music, along with some action effects, nature activity and plenty more making their way throughout the various speakers quite regularly, and never allowing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a great 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that contributes some extra fun to the overall viewing experience and sounds great every step of the way.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Critters Attack!’ includes a few enjoyable extras. Included on the release is ‘A Scene Specific Audio Commentary with Bobby Miller and Marty Krite’ (running six minutes in length), in addition to a few Behind the Scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Engineering Gore: Designing Critters’ (running approximately 8 minutes), ‘Critters: An Out-Of-This-World Experience’ (approximately 7 minutes) and ‘The Critter Ball’ (2 minutes).