‘This time everyone is on the menu’
Critters Attack! is a 2019 American comedy horror feature film directed by Bobby Miller (The Cleanse). It was produced by Adam Friedlander and Armand Leo (Tremors franchise). The movie stars Dee Wallace – who was in the original Critters – Tashiana Washington, Ava Preston, Jack Fulton, Jaeden Noel and Vash Singh.
Twenty-year-old Drea (Tashiana Washington) reluctantly takes a job babysitting for a professor of a college she hopes to attend.
Struggling to entertain the professor’s children Trissy (Ava Preston) and Jake (Jack Fulton), along with her own little brother Phillip (Jaeden Noel), Drea takes them on a hike, unaware that mysterious alien critters have crash-landed and started devouring every living thing they encounter…
Surprisingly unamusing for a supposed comedy-horror outing and definitely betraying its TV movie origins, Critters Attack! is a decidedly unwelcome and belated addition to what was a previously enjoyable franchise. It plays like a Disney channel kids movie via Stranger Things and there is a plodding half-hour in before we finally see a “cute” Crite, ala’ Gremlins. Some dodgy puppets turn up as we go along, however, the emphasis still remains largely on juvenile angst and not the alien beasties the audience expects to see.
Inexplicably, Critters Attack! was shown at the London FrightFest in August 2019. Cripes, why? Critters Attack! isn’t even decent Syfy channel material, let alone worthy of a film festival date. It’s obviously aimed firmly at kids. Kids at home.
The finale is poorly lit (a common problem with many recent movies) presumably to cover up the lacklustre special effects. Even the welcome presence of Dee Wallace can’t obviate the blandness. It’s hardly spoiler worthy to say that badly-played bagpipes save the day. Comedy bagpipes scenes are obviously hilarious, after all.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES & MANIA
” …outside of bits and pieces, the humour is mostly absent. A Critters movie should be hilarious silly fun, but its human characters suck the fun out of the proceeding […] suffers from a bland cast of characters, poor pacing and, most significantly, a lack of campy fun.” Bloody Disgusting
“As a reboot, lore is cast aside. Monsters here. Gore there. People run. Repeat. Other than adding a Crite queen, Critters Attack isn’t keen on differentiating itself. For the rushed climax, an idea from Critters 2 is reused (again with the nostalgia), without the vibrant energy of that ‘80s gem.” DoBlu
“Outside of the solid craftsmanship, Critters Attack! coasts along listlessly for the majority, and even in its more outlandish third act, can’t do much to rouse anything beyond passing flecks of amusement. It’s not good, because of course, it isn’t, but worst of all, Critters Attack! is depressingly low on charm.” Flickering Myth
” …Critters Attack! feels cheap. The actual monster action feels oddly minimal, and the whole film never shakes off that Syfy channel sense of low-budget drudgery. Also, we spend an inordinate amount of time with the human protagonists, often listening to their tragic backstories as soft music plays in the background.” Goomba Stomp
” …the film is sadly lacking the original’s sense of anarchic fun or its sense of urgency. In fact, so lacking is the film in suspense or thrills that you wonder if everyone making it was on tranquilisers. Sorry Critters Attack – I was looking forward to seeing you and you have disappointed me.” House of Mortal Cinema
“It isn’t the scary fun of the originals, nor is it the outrageously stupid though effective humor of Critters: A New Binge. Critters Attack! is a by the numbers horror-comedy that doesn’t do either well, and fails to build much suspense throughout because of it. I’d wait to feast on this one until it’s streaming somewhere…” Killer Horror Critic
“Though well-played, there’s a mite too much business about Drea’s educational aspirations – when we’re all really here for alien furball massacres, which are trotted out via old school gloopy physical effects (there’s an 80s pastiche electronic score too and even the titles have a VHS look).” The Kim Newman Web Site
” …mostly inspires indifference and disappointment […] Critters Attack just doesn’t have that certain charm of the earlier productions: sure, maybe some of that stems from nostalgia-tinted glasses, but I genuinely believe even the worst of the original movies had a little heart and soul that’s lacking here.” Oh, the Horror!
“There’s a lot of serious back story – some of it literally spelt out by assorted characters – and earnest character development from writer Scott Lobdell and director Bobby Miller, none of which is remotely interesting. The writing, acting and directing just isn’t up to the level where you might actually care about any of these characters, all of whom feel one-dimensional and clichéd, and the film constantly plods when it should be running.” The Reprobate
“Every now and then a little amusement trickles out in the festivities from seeing a hapless sap get preyed upon and turned into a meal, or to see a critter burst into green gloop. Within the movie’s tonal limits, it can’t get especially nasty and its humor is plain bad, but with a project like this, it’s the little things.” RogerEbert.com
“Balancing the tone of a film like this can be a challenge, as one wants to make sure that there is a genuine sense of danger, but never so much that we forget to have fun. Miller and his cast are totally game for the challenge, delivering performances that accentuate the lunacy of the material without stepping over the line to camp.” Screen Anarchy
“Barely attempts building character arcs, as nothing about any of them is remotely unique. Exploits feminism by use of a female alien savior and an outcast lead, but any social point is lost in what is ultimately mundane and unoriginal.” Splatter Critic
Critters Attack! was rated ‘R’ by the MPAA for “bloody creature violence.”
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment released Critters Attack! on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital on July 23rd, 2019.
Image credits: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.