Sunday, 5 August 2012

Critters 3

"Critters 3" (1991, Kristine Peterson, New Line Cinema) is the third installment in the "Critters" fanchise, and takes the story out of Grover's Bend and instead into an unnamed city, in the tenement house of our main characters.

Also, this was Leondardo DiCaprio's film debut! Long before he was running around on the Titanic saving rich red-haired women from iceberg-induced-doom, he was running around a tenement block saving people from spiky-alien-pirhana-hamsters-of-doom!

Some kids bump into what they think is a raving lunatic, but is actually Charlie (Don Keith Opper),...-so they were right- who warns them of the Crites.

The critters manage to lay some crazy-Crite eggs under the car of Clifford (John Calvin), an uninterested and unmotivated father, who has lost his wife some years before and is evidently in depression. He has two children; teenager, Annie (Aimee Brooks) who is distressed at her father's behaviour and is trying to shake it out of him, and her young brother Johnny (Christian & Joseph Cousins; a movie trick of the trade to use identical twins for young parts as children tend to be tired or grumpy after a long day).

The family drive home to their building where all of their fellow tenents are slowly leaving due to caretaker, Frank (Geoffrey Blake) and owner Briggs (William Dennis Hunt) refusing to fix anything so that they can sell to a land developer without having to pay the tenents relocation fees. Briggs and his stepson, Josh (DiCaprio) arrive to push the tenents further by turning off the power and cutting the phone lines. Josh is against this plan however, and soon joins the side of the tenents.

The Crites hatch and attack the building, and Charlie shows up to save the day again! With the help of a telephone repair woman, Marcia (Katherine Cortez), an overweight lady, Rosalie (Diane Bellamy) and an elderly couple, the Menges (Frances Bay and Bill Zuckert) and the kids he battles the Crites.

The action is again, quite gruesome and funny. The Critters develop little evil personalities and have some fun with the tenents and the washing up liquid. Not as good as the first two, but when has a 'blah blah 3' ever been? But the plot is more centralised and the characters are more developed than before. Charlie is entertaining as the hero of the piece. His interesting space and junk gadgets are peculiar but suited to the film.

I appreciated the scene with Marcia dangling from the telephone wire; "No! No! No!... Yes! Yes! Yes!"

And DiCaprio's really sweet as a teen actor. The other child actors are also very good, especially the little twin boys portraying Johnny (such cute little kids!)

The pace is good, the gore is funny and plentiful and the overall story is centralised enough to keep moving without becoming complicated.

All in all, a valiant comedy horror sequel with a lead in for a direct follow on in "Critters 4". Only thing that was missing was more from Ug who only appears as a cameo at the tail end!

[Picture: as marked]