Critters 4 DVD review

"Every movie series that begins in space must end in space." That was written by, uh, well me. But let's face it; if your monster comes from space, you surely have to realize that they're going to send them back after three entries, right? If it can happen to "Leprechaun" it can happen to the "Critters."

Actually overlapping with "Critters 3," Charlie the bounty hunter (Don Keith Opper yet again) places the final two Crite eggs in a retrieval pod. Managing to get himself stuck inside, Charlie is put into a state of hibernation until the year 2045. Now onboard a ship owned by the Terracor Company, Charlie and a small band of people must fend off a strain of fast-breeding Crites and make it off the ship before its reactor explodes.

Unlike the third film, this one at least has some recognizable faces. Brad Douriff would of course be a major player in "Lord of the Rings," but he also is the voice of Chucky in the "Childs Play" series. Angela Bassett would win an Academy Award for "What's Love Got to Do With It." Either way, you can't imagine why they're here in a direct-to-video sequel as bad as this.

Rupert Harvey, who produced both "Critters" and "Critters 3", finally gets to step behind the camera, but since no one has a clue what they're doing, it doesn't matter. The big twist at the end involving Ug (Terrance Man) makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and even after four movies, we still have no idea where these little monsters come from. Sure, they came from space, but are there a planet full of them? Are they mutants? Where exactly did they learn the word "bitchin'?"

A depressingly large segment of the movie is made up stock footage from "Android." Basically, if it occurs in outer space, they didn't make it for this movie. That wasn't enough as the final shot of the series is taken from "Critters 2." This is also the only movie in the series to try and play like a true horror movie, but with the most embarrassing soundtracks in the history of modern cinema, you hardly feel the threat.

"Critters 4" fails to add anything to franchise, and even though it's directly connected to the third (they were shot back to back), since that one made no sense, they dig themselves in deeper here. Every set is cheaply made, the title creatures only actually kill two people on screen the entire movie, and it just drags along without any sense of pacing. Toss in a computer ripped off of "Alien" and you have a complete disaster. (* out of *****)

If you watch it in either widescreen or in pan & scan (on the same disc), you won't see much. Out of the four discs, this one looks the worst. Heavy grain obscures the actors more than a few times and compression is really noticeable in a few scenes. Fine detail is completely lost due to both problems. The dark interiors are kept that way by the usually flawless black levels, but that's about the only positive to come out of this disc. (**)

This fourth movie in the series uses the rear speakers slightly more than the previous one, but since the third didn't use them at all, that doesn't say much. There are a few echo effects once in a while and the spaceships move around the field effectively, but almost everything is centered as it was before. It's not surprising since the movie went directly to both VHS and laserdisc, but you can always expect more. (***)

Trailers for all four films are included. That's it. Now, since I have time, who designed this cover art? All they did was take the same photo of a Critter, paste it in four different places, and popped a moon in front of them. You've got a great art design department New Line. (*)

It wouldn't be surprising if this were planned to make a theatrical run. It's likely that after the studio seen the finished product, they thought better of it. This is a sad finish to a series that started off on fire. Not even a current resurrection could salvage this series now.

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