CRITTERS 4 (1991)

For a movie called CRITTERS 4, there are very few of them in the film (2 for most of the film) and by the time that more arrive it’s far too late in the day to save this ponderous and dull entry into the series. 

What’s most interesting is that the tone is a complete 180 from the rest of the franchise, ditching the goofy fun to become too serious for it’s own good. This is even more bizarre considering that CRITTERS 3 and 4 were shot back to back (I know because I worked on both of them). 

The plot is a pastiche of the “best of” moments from all four ALIEN films by way of a Corman film from the late 80’s. 

A salvage ship stumbles across the collection pod established at the end of CRITTERS 3 that not only carries Charlie (Don Opper) in cryo-freeze, but the last two remaining Kryte eggs in the universe. 

Forced to take the find to a derelict spaceship until the Galactic government arrive to retrieve its precious cargo, the Captain (Anders Hove) lets curiosity get the better of him and allows the Krytes to escape and run rampant over the station. Oh, did I mention that coincidently, the station has a nuclear core that just happens to be about to explode. 

Extremely slow moving, the Critters themselves don’t even show up until 30 minutes in and when they do their appearances are kept to a minimum to make room for the clichéd sci-fi elements.Most of the deaths are anticlimactic mainly due to a musical score that works against the movie in more ways than you can imagine. If you’re going to rip-off ALIENS then you might as well go all the way and give us a pulse-pounding James Horner-esque score. Instead it has a score more a kin to Vangelis’ BLADE RUNNER, which makes the movie feel overly long even for being just 94 minutes in length. 

The only thing noteworthy is the caliber of acting which is better than most and includes not only Brad Dourif, but also a young Angela Bassett. The next year she would star in, not only MALCOLM X, but WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT and would rocket to the A-list.

MARCH 4, 2014


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