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The Critters Collection Blu-ray Review

Critters.jpg

All 4 Critters films finally come to Blu-ray.

When it comes to horror film franchises, the Critters series tends to be overlooked. Granted, none of the films are classics by any means, but they’re still fun B-Movie creature features nonetheless. Now that all 4 films have been released in a box set courtesy of Scream Factory, perhaps the franchise will find new fans. So, what’s this series all about and how does each film fare? Allow me to break it down film by film.

The first installment (which is simply known as “Critters”) finds a group of dangerous Crites escaping prison and landing on Earth. Two shape shifting bounty hunters are tasked with tracking them down in a small Kansas town known as Grover’s Bend. The bulk of the story focuses on the Brown family living on a farm (and the people around them) who encounter the murderous furballs. The family, townspeople and bounty hunters work together to try and stop them. This 1986 movie knows what it is and, as a result, it’s a fun blend of horror, comedy, and sci-fi. The Chiodo Brothers creature FX work is top notch here and is arguably the highlight of the whole film (and the series for that matter). “Critters” is also noteworthy for having a pretty stacked cast comprised of Dee Wallace, Billy Zane, M. Emmet Walsh, Lin Shaye, and Ethan Phillips.

“Critters 2: The Main Course” is a bit of a retread with some of the same cast returning. The story finds a character from the first film (no spoilers here) and the 2 bounty hunters heading back to Earth and Grover’s Bend to wipe out the hungry Crites. While the sequel is bigger and takes risks, it’s not as memorable as the first. Sure, there’s the cool giant rolling Crite ball sequence and, yes, this movie has Eddie Deezen, but the plot is light and there’s some really goofy moments (ala the restaurant scene). Still, it’s entertaining and it’s easily the best sequel thanks to the assured direction by Mick Garris.

“Critters 3” refreshingly takes the action elsewhere. This time around the story revolves around an LA apartment building being attacked by Crites (not the most exciting location admittedly). Aside from one character, this one has an all-new cast. In fact, this third installment has received a lot of attention for starring a young Leonardo DiCaprio in his big screen acting debut. In terms of the actual movie, it’s cheap, there’s barely a story to be had here, and some of the supporting characters like Frank are groan worthy. Despite all of that, there’s still enjoyment to be had especially when the Crites are on screen.

“Critters 4” takes the franchise to space and, as many folks know, that’s usually the death knell for a franchise which is certainly the case here. The character who has been in the previous 3 films returns here and is found with some Crites in a pod by a spaceship (the RSS Tesla) in the year 2045. As I’m sure you can guess, the Crites begin to wreak havoc on the crew. Despite the presence of a couple of supremely talented actors (Brad Dourif and Angela Bassett), this sequel suffers from a low, low budget, not enough Crites, and a script that wastes potential. It’s the weakest entry in the series to be sure.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: All 4 films are in 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? Never have the Critters movies looked this good. Not only is there such clarity to the picture, but the colors really pop. It’s nice to see all 4 films get stand-out transfers here.

Audio Track: The first film has a 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD MA track while the other 3 films have a 2.0 DTS-HD MA track. How do they sound? All of the tracks are crisp. Naturally the 5.1 track for the first film has the best quality but the 2.0 tracks don’t disappoint.

Extras:

Critters:

*Still gallery
* Theatrical trailer and TV spots.
* An alternate ending
* “Behind-The-Scenes Footage”- A look at practical FX tests and work.
* “For Brian: A Tribute To Screenwriter Brian Domonic Muir”- A 22 minute featurette and tribute to the late genre screenwriter.
* “They Bite! The Making Of Critters”- A lengthy 71 minute making of featurette that contains interviews, film clips, and many, many stories about how the project came about, the script, and so on.

* 2 story filled commentary tracks- One by Barry and Don Opper and the other by the 3 Chiodo brothers (the creature designers).

Critters 2:

* Theatrical trailer and TV spot.
* Still gallery.
* Additional scenes from the TV cut.
* “Behind The Scenes Footage”- A goofy 24 minute vintage narrated behind-the-scenes featurette.
* “The Main Coruse: The Making Of Critters 2”- Another in depth making of documentary. This one clocks in at 63 minutes. It’s always a treat to see Mick Garris interviewed.
* 2 commentary tracks once gain. One by Mick Garris and the other by the Chiodo brothers.

Critters 3:
* Trailer and promo.
* Still gallery
* “You Are What They Eat: The Making Of Critters 3”- The third making of documentary with the usual interviews, film clips, stories, and set footage.
* Commentary by Barry and Don Opper.

Critters 4:
* Trailer
* Still gallery
* “Space Madness: The Making Of Critters 4”- The fourth and final making of documentary.
* Commentary by director Rupert Harvey.

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November 28, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , ,

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