After releasing in 1986, Critters went on to receive mostly positive reviews and even managed to make some money at the box office. All of this considered it seemed fairly obvious that a sequel would be made and what do you know, two years later Critters: The Main Course or Critters 2 was here.
The real question is, how well does it hold up against the original?
And the answer is, pretty damn well actually.
The film starts out in space on a desolate planet where human Charlie McFadden and the shape shifting bounty hunters Ug and Lee are searching for a vicious, worm-like creature. After successfully killing the beast, they depart the planet. Soon afterwards, they receive a new assignment by a rather strange but inventive looking alien who’s apparently head of the High Council. He tells them that the Crites (Critters) are still on Earth and must be destroyed.
This is the part where I spoil the ending/cliff-hanger of the first movie in which it turns out that the Critters have left some eggs in the Brown’s barn. Oh and Charlie ends up going with the bounty hunters, why they decide to bring him with them isn’t really explained, I just assume that he held a gun to their heads or something.
Knowing this, they set a course for Earth. Noticing Charlie brooding, Ug inquires what’s wrong. Charlie states his reluctance to going back after two years and asks whether they would leave him there which leads Ug to reassure Charley that they consider him to be a bounty hunter.
Back on Earth, Brad Brown is back in town and visiting his grandmother as word gets around the town fast implying he became well known after the events of the first film two years previous. We’re then introduced to Quigley who’s some kind of seller of old useless junk or something. He’s lead to the old brown barn by Wesley who attempts to sell him the Critter eggs thinking them to be European Easter eggs; I’m not making that up. Wesley helps old man Quigley shift the eggs back to his house only to have Quigley refuse to pay money for them which leads Wesley to take some beer and a couple of Playboy’s as payment.
It’s not long before it becomes apparent that the whole town thinks that Brad is insane and that he made up the whole story about the Critters. He’s asked about the event by Meagan who’s an aspiring journalist and Brad’s love interest for the movie. This only leads brad to say that he made the whole story up as some big prank but it’s fairly obvious even he isn’t convinced by that.
It’s Easter so the whole town is readying an Easter egg hunt for the children. Brad’s Grandmother hears that ole Quigley has a couple of dozen of eggs for sale so she buys a whole lot and somehow can’t see that they’re obviously not chocolate eggs. Anyway, poor Quigley meets his end as soon as he meets the Critters, quite gruesome indeed.
The hunt is all ready to go and all seems well until the eggs begin to hatch. The towns Sheriff has been roped into playing the part of the Easter bunny and is wandering outside when suddenly a group of tiny furry balls roll into his costume through a hole and eat his stomach. He crashes through the church window where everyone is waiting and dies in a bloody mess. No one believes it was the Critters, thinking it was a farming accident but it’s not long before the Crites begin to terrorize the town and grow in large numbers.
Late to the party like last time, the bounty hunters arrive. Ug still with the face of Johnny Steele, Charlie and Lee who’s yet to transform, well that is until he comes across a Playboy…. That’s right, he transforms into a Playboy model and they all make their way to the town; cannon guns at the ready.
After saving Brad, his grandmother, Meagan and some other people from the Critters, we get a pretty damn awesome scene in which the bounty hunters storm a small fast food restaurant full of Critters.
I particularly like this scene because it really captures the gore, comedy and tone of the original movie perfectly. My favourite part has to be when a Critter gets the top of its hair blown off which leaves it bald, the Critter then looks into a mirror and says “Bitchin!”.
After failing to contain the Critters the townspeople barricade themselves in the church as the bounty hunters attempt to think of a plan. Lee and Charley are wandering outside when Lee comes across a life sized cut out of Freddy Krueger and begins to transform, only for Charley to hold the Playboy up and have him transform back to the model. I always thought it would have been so cool if Lee had transformed into Freddy, it’s still a cool scene none the less though.
Lee carelessly walks into a dark alleyway where he/she is ambushed and devoured by the Crites. Ug runs to save his partner but finds only an arm remaining which leads him to scream in pain and revert back to his alien form.
With Ug in a deep depression it’s up to Brad to devise a plan to save everybody and he does just that. They lead the Critters to a burger shop in an attempt to blow them up but fail. The Crites then come together into a large ball and begin heading to the church where the children are waiting out of harm’s way. The Effects here are really quite impressive and we even see someone get run over by the ball of Critters which leads them to be instantly devoured, it’s awesome.
Just before they reach the church, Charlie flies directly into them with Ug’s spaceship, seemingly destroying the Critters and sacrificing himself while truly becoming a bounty hunter. Ug then takes on Charlie’s facial features in honour of his bravery and kind of disrespectfully suggests that he will become Charlie now. Also, since when can the bounty hunters just transform into whomever they want when they want? I thought they had to at least see the person or an image of them to do so. It is later revealed the next day as Brad begins to depart that Charlie survived by using a parachute and stays on Earth, becoming sheriff of the town. Looking quite disappointed by this Ug departs in a new spacecraft, still wearing the guise of Charlie. It’s actually a really unintentionally funny scene, as Ug doesn’t say anything to Charlie and just flies into the air towards the spaceship.
So Brad says goodbye to Charlie and kisses Meagan as his Grandmother stands uncomfortably close by and that’s it for Critters 2.
Critters: The Main Course is a whole load of fun from beginning to end; there are lots of memorable moments and scenes throughout. The movie slows down somewhat during the final act but picks up with the brilliant ball of Critters near the end. Unlike most horror sequels Critters 2 doesn’t deteriorate when it comes to quality, in fact it improves on many of the aspects of the original. The Critters are in a much larger number and are not confined to a single farm but instead have free roam of an entire town to cause chaos in. Also, Critters 2 increases the level of gore and there are some awesome practical gore effects used which is to be expected from a movie from this era. The acting is believable, the story is fun and the characters are likeable; if you enjoyed the first movie then you’ll likely enjoy this too.
Critters 2: The Main Course