Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Film Review: CRITTERS 2: THE MAIN COURSE (1988, Mick Garris)

Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 93 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Terrence Mann, Don Keith Opper, Sam Anderson, Eddie Deezen, David Twohy (writer of WATERWORLD and G.I. JANE), Eddie Deezen (LASERBLAST, MIDNIGHT MADNESS, GREASE, WARGAMES).
Tag-lines: "Get ready for seconds... they're back," "The most illegal aliens of all are back -- and they're hungrier than ever," ""Critters 1" got your blood pumping... This time they want more than a taste," and "It's Everyone's Turn For Seconds."
Best one-liner(s): "What is this bullshit? Them man-eating dust mops got us roped up tighter than a blue-ribbon bull and all you folks can do is stand here and play kick-the-can with some punk kid! "

CRITTERS 2: THE MAIN COURSE is a pretty solid flick, and the first feature from horror director Mick Garris. Not to deride the man, but this was probably his high-water mark (THE STAND? The 'Hand of God' in THE STAND?! THE SHINING remake!?!). Now it's difficult enough to make an 80's creature feature that isn't entirely terrible, and CRITTERS managed to pull that off; but it's a near-IMPOSSIBLE task to make a sequel worth its salt. But that's exactly what Garris has done here. He learned a lot from Steven Spielberg, story editing on AMAZING STORIES and documenting THE GOONIES and TEMPLE OF DOOM, and those lessons are certainly on display here (I believe they were lost by the time THE STAND rolled around).

Lean, mean, and with an awesome subtitle (THE MAIN COURSE), CRITTERS 2 delivers. And like another quadrilogy involving appalling, deadly orbs (the PHANTASM series), much of the success is dependent on the continuity and returning cast members from the first title. Action, suspense, character, and bizarre visuals are heaped on in B-movie portions, and it manages to have some elements that make the sequel a distinct entity (i.e., the notorious Playboy model- complete with staple- transformation, the ginormous rolling ball of a thousand critters). Toss in an excellent sympathetic performance from Sam Anderson (Bernard on TV's LOST), a cameo from 80's uber-nerd Eddie Deezen, extra points for getting a 'PG-13' on what I feel would be marked a hard 'R' by today's pansies, and you have a film that is basically as good as a film called CRITTERS 2: THE MAIN COURSE could possibly be.

-Sean Gill


Also see: CRITTERS 1 Review.

No comments: