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The Critters Collection: Critters 3 Blu-ray Review

Written by ZigZag

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

The Critters Collection Blu Ray Poster

Directed by Kristine Peterson
Written by David J. Schow
1991, 85 minutes, Rated PG-13

Starring:
Aimee Brooks as Annie
Leonardo DiCaprio as Josh
Don Opper as Charlie McFadden
John Calvin as Clifford
Katherine Cortez as Marcia
Geoffrey Blake as Frank
Frances Bay as Mrs. Menges

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Review:

Annie is returning home from the Grand Canyon with her father and little brother, Johnny, when their camper gets a flat tire. They pull over to a rest area where Annie meets Josh, a teen her age who is helpful with entertaining little Johnny. They hit it off, but soon their families head their separate ways, but fate has a way of bringing them back together. It seems Josh’s dad is the landlord of Annie’s apartment building, and a not very nice man who plans to evict all the tenants in order to erect a new shopping center.

Back home, Annie hangs out with Mr. and Mrs. Menges, an elderly couple that live upstairs. Her dad is a bit of a dud who works for the railroad and is always going away on business. The building is full of quirky characters, including Frank, the superintendent who is a real louse. The Critters eggs have stowed themselves away in the basement and soon a new outbreak of monsters is underway. Josh’s dad shows up to make life miserable for the tenants by cutting their power and phone lines against Josh’s wishes. Following a run in with the little creatures, Josh reunites with Annie as they hide out in the upstairs apartment with her family and a handful of neighbors. The Critters are closing in and it is only a matter of time before they break in and feed.

Critters and Critters 2 were successful endeavors, so it was only a matter of time before further sequels were considered. Producers Barry Opper and Rupert Harvey returned to the studio and pitched an idea of filming two movies back to back. The plan was approved and Critters 3 was underway with Critters 4 being prepped to follow immediately after. Screenwriter David J. Schow (Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III) was hired to pen both films and the end result couldn’t be more different. One picture is set in an apartment building while the other takes place in outer space – but more on that later. Switching the location of the premise to an urban environment is both a blessing and a curse, as the ideas are somehow both fresh and familiar at the same time. “The old dark house” scenario is new to the franchise but the script hits all of the clichés and quickly grows tedious.

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The budget for Critters 3 was smaller than its predecessors, so there were tighter restrictions on the production, namely the number of Critters available. Fewer creatures force a more intimate setting and this works to the film’s advantage, but feels like a step down in the wake of the scope of Critters 2. Franchise continuity is maintained with the appearance of Charlie McFadden (Don Opper), serving as a Critter bounty hunter who comes to save the day. The cast of unknowns does a fine job, with Aimee Brooks stepping in to the role of youthful protagonist. Making his big-screen debut is future Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio (Shudder Island), who plays the conflicted Josh. He shows a lot of promise in the role and remains likeable throughout the picture.

The Chiodo brothers return once again for Critters detail, but with limited gags this time. By having fewer resources to work with, they create more unique-looking creatures. Director Kristine Peterson (Body Chemistry) makes the most of the material and keeps things moving at a decent pace, but the script isn’t great and her options are limited. This is the weakest entry in the franchise, but it has its moments that work really well. The film ends with a scene playing under the closing credits that ends with a “To Be Continued” title card. It’s fun seeing the Critters back on screen, but this film merely puts them through their paces and offers little new or exciting.

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Grades:

Movie: Twostars The Critters Collection Blu Ray Cover
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