Director: Mick Garris
I may be in the minority here, but I prefer Critters 2 to the first film. Maybe it's because I saw this film first. Maybe it's because the film had a larger budget and could pull off more elaborate effects and more humour. Maybe it's because, as a young boy, I saw Roxanne Kernohan's huge breasts burst forth from a leather suit and this turned me into a life-long breast man. Regardless, I like Critters 2.
After the first film ended with a shot of Krite eggs left in the barn, a sequel was only inevitable. The Brown family has moved out of Grover's Bend to escape the scrutiny and ridicule of their neighbors. However, Brad Brown (Scott Grimes reprising his role) returns to his hometown to visit with his Grandmother for Easter. Little does he suspect that a batch of Krite eggs have been discovered and placed carelessly close to a stove. Inadvertent incubation occurs, and soon a new generation of carnivorous alien furballs hatch. With the help of his old pals the Alien Bounty Hunters (plus Charlie), Brad helps fend off the hungry jaws of the Krites from devouring all of Grover's Bend.
Rating: 4 / 5 Baby Krites
IS IT SHOCKING?
While I suggested that the original Critters was shocking in so far as it was surprisingly violent for a PG-13 creature film, Critters 2 certainly upped the ante in terms of violence but also sexual content. The Krites get a lot more screen time, and their designs are much improved from the first film. They also pull off several more bloody kills. The one everyone remembers is the death of the town Sheriff. Not the lovable Sheriff Harv from the first film (now played by Barry Corbin). No, the Krites tangle with the new Sheriff (David Ursin) who is roped into playing the Eater Bunny at a church function. Unfortunately, he can't get the zipper of his bunny suit to close and a bunch of baby Krites hop in and chow down. While we don't see the actual eating, when next we see the Sheriff his body (still in the bunny suit) charges through a church window and sprawls out bloody and dead for all the traumatized parishioners to see.
What do we tell the kids? I know! T'was a farm accident!
Other people end up on the menu as well, leaving behind bloody corpses. While we see the Krites bite into people here and there, most of the shocking violence is seen in their aftermath. In the film's final set piece, the Krites form together into a giant ball of fur and hungry mouths. Several townsfolk get run over and, well, let's just say they won't be having open-casket funerals.
Not only did they take the shirt of his back but the skin as well!
I can point back to Critters 2 as a moment in my life, if not the moment, when I realized I was going to be obsessed with breasts for the rest of my adult life. And we have Roxanne Kernohan to thank for that. In Critters 2, as in the first film, Ug and Lee are Alien Bounty Hunters with the ability to shapeshift. Ug (Terrance Mann) has a preferred look, but Lee can't decide on a form and is constantly replicating the people he sees. When they arrive on Earth in Critters 2, Lee finds the image of a nude centerfold. Suddenly, Lee starts to transform. His chest begins to swell and expand. Slowly, two large, full, glorious, gravity-defying breasts tear through his leather outfit. When the camera pulls back Lee has turned into a blond bombshell: nude model Roxanne Kernohan. And she's got a big techno-cannon with a barrel that extends when she activates it (suggestive!). You don't see a lot of full-frontal breasts in PG-13 films these days, but that scene awoke something in me at an early age. I still find the whole transformation scene quite engrossing. *ahem*
Unfortunately, Roxanne Kernohan doesn't stay topless for long. Slipping into a very revealing leather outfit, she goes about killing Krites. Then, to completely screw with prepubescent boys everywhere, she transforms again. She goes from this:
IS IT SURREAL?
Critters offers a lot more interesting visuals than its predecessor, such as the giant ball of Krites and more shape-shifting effects, but it's still pretty standard stuff. The choice to trade in Roxanne Kernohan for Eddie Deezen is pretty surreal, I guess.
IS IT SILLY?
Boy howdy! In order to justify some more scenes of violence and breasts, the Krites had to become more kid-friendly. They began their slide from vicious furballs to ridiculous goofballs. Much like the Gremlins in Joe Dante's 1984 film, the Krites get up to all sorts of wacky puppet hi-jinks. They munch on telephone wires, they invade a burger joint, and they eat hamburger patties. They fall into deep fryers and get the tops of their heads singed bald, to which one Krite exclaims, "Bitchin!" after scoping out his new bald dome in the mirror. For the tone of this film, however, the silliness works. In order to get mileage out of the Krites for a sequel, you have to go over-the-top by necessity. And I still maintain that the Krites are far more interesting in design and character than any of the other Gremlins ripoffs (I'm calling you out Ghoulies!)