Sunday, September 2, 2012
Critters 2 (1988)
I love a good sequel, and there's quite a few that even is better than the original: Maniac Cop 2, Hellraiser 2, Children of the Corn 2, Warlock 2, Halloween 2 (yes, and I'm not gonna join a debate about it), Psycho 2 (a film on the same level of quality as the first one) etc. Yesterday I watched Critters and kinda liked it, but today I sat down and watched the sequel, Critters 2: The Main Course, and found out that it's actually a damn fine and fun sequel and superior compared to the original. What makes a good sequel? When it comes to this form of genre cinema I think the budget plays a big part of the creativity. Sometimes the sequels gets less money, but here it feels like New Line Cinema believed in the projected and gave the Opper's and director Mick Garris both a lot of love and freedom to create something out of the ordinary.
Charlie (Don Keith Opper), the village idiot from the first movie is now an intergalactic bounty hunter together with Ug (Terrence Mann). They thought the Critters was dead and extinct, but some eggs has survived and now they're ready to hatch! At the same time Brad travels back to his old home town to visit his grandma, but soon he realizes that something is wrong and the space monsters he's been trying to forget is back and they're even more hungry! Lucky for him he gets some help from Charlie and Ug... and the whole town is now ready to kick some Critters-butt! If they survive...
In cinemas Critters 2 seemed to be a flop, but it must have made a big buck on home video - remember it spawned two more sequels, direct to video. It's a pity, because Critters 2 is a lot better than the first one. It also feels more adult, which I like: more blood, some nudity and a fun orgy of monsters and special effects. It has a more epic feel to it, more characters involved and a whole town under siege at the end. Mick Garris knew how to boost the production values without forgetting interesting characters we cares about. Scott Grimes is back as Brad, and here he's two years older and with more character. He's not just the annoying boy, he's more a of a hero and a proper sidekick to Charlie and Ug (and Zanti, the third bounty hunter who transforms into a naked woman in a memorable sequence). The only thing I feel is odd - and somehow fresh - is the little, almost non-existent, love story between Brad and Megan, it's very visible that she's like 6-7 years older than him...
The comedy is also darker and the script is filled with fun and somewhat macabre ideas. The easter bunny sequence, from when they places the "eggs" outside the church to when the poor bunny comes crashing through the church window is brilliant, cheesy and loving filmmaking. It's the suburbia of John Waters mixed with the dark, family-friendly splatter of Gremlins. Yeah, Gremlins. Critters 2 is a lot closer to that movie than the first movie, which is good. It was during that time in the
when movies for young adults could be a bit bloodier, a bit more extreme. Not
so damn wimpy and correct. We've seen some similar quality productions
recently, J.J. Abrams Super 8 and Joe Dante's underrated The Hole for example,
but except those it's hardly anything worth mentioning. US
Like every good monster movie it ends spectacular. Critters 2 brings all the artillery with an awesome sequence starring one big mother of a Critters, put together by every other Critter around. I didn't remember it to be so effective, but it looks cool and the creative special effects helps a lot. If I was allowed to make a sequel would want to see even more big Critter-piles eating humans while rolling over them!
Even if I wish I could, I can't complain about this movie. It's made with a lot of love and creativity and with a fine cast of actors who seems to care about what they're doing and not just cashing in the paycheck. Can't say that about every movie I've seen. Recommended and if you haven't seen this one since it came it, give it a new try! I'm sure you won't regret it.