Thursday, January 15, 2009

Film Review: CRITTERS 3: YOU ARE WHAT THEY EAT (1991, Kristine Peterson)

Stars: 3 of 5.
Running Time: 86 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Leonardo DiCaprio, Frances Bay, Don Keith Opper, Barry Opper (writer and brother of Don Keith), Terrence Mann.
Tag-lines: "First they destroyed a farm. Then they terrorised a town. Now they're ready to do some real damage!"
Best one-liner(s): "I still don't know what the hell is going on here." – "Ain't no rats, you can be sure of that!"

It's CRITTERS meets THE TOWERING INFERNO. When all else fails, move the franchise to the big city: BABE 2: PIG IN THE CITY, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN, LEPRECHAUN 5: LEPRECHAUN IN THE HOOD, THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN, HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK, GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH, CHILDREN OF THE CORN III: URBAN HARVEST, the list goes on. And if that fails, move it into SPACE. (More on that in a subsequent review).

I'm not gonna lie: CRITTERS 3: YOU ARE WHAT THEY EAT is a step down for the franchise, but not really for any particular reason other than "we made it all the way to CRITTERS 3." A jabbering, slavering Critter attached to a mop handle and getting smacked around every which way is still gold, it's just sort of lost its luster. Some of the magic's gone, and we're never gonna get it back, and that's part of growing up, it's part of life. Now, on to the film: I'll start with the bad. The child actors who haven't been nominated for three Oscars really suck. They do. And Ug (Terrence Mann), the fan-favorite bounty hunter, isn't around save for a cameo at the finale, tantalizing us to watch CRITTERS 4. Now, the good: Charlie (Don Keith Opper) is back in a big way, becoming to the CRITTERS series what Reggie the Ice Cream Man is to the PHANTASM films. There's Frances Bay (TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME, BLUE VELVET), the sweet old lady who always exudes depth and magical, alluring menace.

The Critters, as always, are up to no good: watching cooking shows, drinking dish soap to frantic MIDI music, eating baked beans, attacking bunny slippers, and throwing pies at each other. The people asked for Critter-related mayhem, and by gum, we got it.

Par for the course.

There's even bowling for Critters. And then there's Leo. Leo DiCaprio. He's a fine actor, even as a kid, and he uses his talents to emote lines such as "I...can't believe he's dead," and violently beat a Critter trapped in a towel while exclaiming "I hate you! I hate you!" He even gets shot in the neck by one of their spines.

Leo: "I...can't believe he's dead..."
Near the end, he gets to wear a pink and purple-striped wave t-shirt that is probably the most macabre thing in the movie.

The macabre tee-shirt.

Three stars. A must-see for CRITTERS fans and, as far as these things go, can you really expect anything more from a film entitled: CRITTERS 3: YOU ARE WHAT THEY EAT?

-Sean Gill


No comments: