Making its worldwide premiere at the Fantasia Festival after an almost 30-year absence, the Critters franchise returns with its fifth installment Critters Attack!, directed by Bobby Millers with screenplay by Scott Lobdell. If you are a newcomer to the franchise, you may be unprepared for the vicious yet somewhat adorable alien invaders called the Krites, but by the end of Critters Attack! you can’t help but feel eager for a sequel.
From the onset of the opening scene, Critters Attack! gives off an 80s B Movie vibe, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the film seems to pay homage to its predecessors and other classic alien invasion movies. Despite its low production value, there is a charm and entertainment allure to be had especially when it comes to the practical effects and the design of the Krites.
Critters Attack! revolves around Drea (Tashiana Washington), a seemingly hard-working young woman hoping for admission into her dream college, and her younger brother Phillip (Jaeden Noel), a mere teenager who genuinely believes that aliens exist, as they struggle to move on after the death of their mother two years prior to the events of the films. A meteor shower falling over the earth spotted by Phillip marks the arrival of the Krites landing in their small hometown. We learn this as the Krites make quick work of their first victim, a co-worker of Drea out on a Sushi delivery. As the Krites kill off unsuspecting townfolks, Drea, Phillip, and the two kids she is babysitting must band together with an unlikely ally — a friendly female Krite — to save their town.
Without revealing major plot details, Critters Attack! is simple and outright predictable. Accompanying this simplicity is questionable dialogue fitting of a B Movie, as the delivery of the lines from the cast is hilarious yet awkward. There will be several times where you feel like you’ve had enough but just can’t help but continue watching the ridiculousness unfold. It is easy to tell that the film pokes fun at the sci-fi horror tropes it treads on but the unnatural dialogue can still make a person cringe.
Of course, returning fans won’t really care about the script, which is fair because the Krites are enough reason to watch this movie. If you have seen Gremlins, you know what to expect when it comes to the nature of the film, yet the Krites are still amazing in action. For instance, they traverse by rolling into balls like Sonic the Hedgehog to travel faster and are able to jump directly up to your face despite being less than two feet tall.
The practical effects of the Krites and the gore they ensue are very appreciated in an age where CGI creatures dominate a lot of current horror creature films. Often times I was left in awe wondering how they created a certain effect or how long it took to make certain physical aspects of the creatures.
Overall, Critters Attack! is a well-done B Movie that serves as a great jumping-on point for newcomers and a perfect revival of a long-time franchise written off by many. Though the dialogue and production might deter some viewers, the entertaining Krites will keep the rest from turning away. For those waiting for the fifth installment of the Critters franchise, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Critters Attack! on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital on July 23 and later on the SyFy channel this October.