Critters 2: The Main Course (1988)

Critters 2: The Main Course (1988)

Get ready for seconds… they’re back!

Intergalactic bounty hunters Ug, Lee and Charlie are sent back to Earth because the Crite infestation had not been fully wiped out. The citizens of Grover’s Bend have mistaken a batch of Crite eggs for Easter eggs and it isn’t long before they hatch. The townspeople ignore the warnings of Bradley Brown, who survived the first Crite outbreak, as the creatures begin to run amok.

 

Unashamedly a Gremlins rip-off (something disputed by the director), the original Critters was a mildly entertaining sci-fi romp which introduced the world to the Crites – small, furry creatures with a set of razor-sharp teeth, an insatiable appetite for flesh, bad attitudes and potty-mouths. It received a theatrical release which was modestly successful but found its audience on home video, becoming a cult film in the process. And we all know that sequels are inevitable whenever the tills begin to ring so New Line churned out Critters 2: The Main Course a couple of years later.

Critters 2: The Main Course follows the conventional rules of a sequel down to a tee, continuing on the story from before. It’s virtually the same plot as the original, only we now know what the Crites are and we’ve already been introduced to a couple of characters brought back from the first one. So this allows the film to get right down to the action and there’s plenty of it this time around. No waiting around for characters to be introduced or events to unfold, this one gets down to the gooey stuff as soon as it is feasibly possible.

With a bigger budget and a larger scope, the action is allowed to move away from the confines of one farm location to encompass a whole town. The bigger scope of the story keeps things ticking away a little quicker than its predecessor and before you know it, all hell has broken loose as the Crites are free once again. There are times when this sequel comes off being too daft. The original wasn’t to be taken seriously but this one gets a bit too silly at times, throwing around plenty of in-jokes and gags which don’t really work. One of the faceless bounty hunters chooses the first form they see and for the benefits of the teenage audience, this bounty hunter chooses to transform into a Playboy centrefold (which also provides the necessary 80s nudity). A bit later, said bounty hunter then tries to transform into Freddy Kruger after seeing a poster advertising one of the Nightmare on Elm Street films. A bit of shameless cross-franchise promotion from New Line never goes amiss!

Once again the effects work from the Chiodo Brothers is top notch. Not just content with a handful of the little monsters in the first film, this sequel ups the ante and throws around hundreds of them. As deadly as they are, the Crites are so ridiculously cute in all of their fur ball glory. They don’t get as much screen time as the Gremlins might but they take full advantage of the scenes they’re in, particularly one in which they have taken over the local cafe. Their daft antics, foul-mouths and gluttonous attitude will win over many fans before the end of the film – and they’re supposed to be the bad guys! One new talent they’ve acquired is to form up into a giant ball and roll around the town like a massive bowling ball. In the best special effect of the film (and arguably the best moment of the film anyway), this giant ball rolls right over an unlucky guy who was running away from it, leaving a quivering mess of a fleshless-corpse on the ground in it’s wake. They never really look like anything more than puppets but their screen time has been increased since the original and that’s only a good thing.

Back to stop them are Scott Grimes, who has grown up a fair bit in two years and Terrence Mann and Don Keith Opper as Ug and Charlie, the two bounty hunters who appear in every one of these films. It’s nice to have a bit of continuity going on here as the actors all reprised their roles. It’s a pity that M. Emmet Walsh didn’t/couldn’t return as Marv as Barry Corbin steps up the obnoxiousness a couple of levels, chewing tobacco and swaggering around the screen like some low-rent cowboy.

 

If you liked the original, then you’ll no doubt like this too. Despite the silliness levels being raised, Critters 2: The Main Course does everything an 80s horror sequel should do – more monsters, more blood, more boobs and more action. You can’t really go wrong!

 

 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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