Critters 3 (1991)
WRITERS: Story by Rupert Harvey and Barry Opper
Screenplay by David J. Schow
DIRECTOR: Kristine Peterson
STARRING: Aimee Brooks as Annie
John Calvin as Clifford
Katherine Cortez as Marcia
Leonardo DiCaprio as Josh
Geoffrey Blake as Frank
Diana Bellamy as Rosalie
William Dennis Hunt as Briggs
Frances Bay as Mrs. Menges
Bill Zuckert as Mr. Menges
Don Opper as Charlie
QUICK CUT: A wicked landlord tries to clear out a building, when an infestion of creatures seems poised to do the job for him.
Annie - A young woman who doesn’t want her dad to take a new job to pay bills after her mom passes away, that will take him away from home for the entire week. She’s clever, protective of her family, and oh yeah, she has a fear of heights.
Josh - A boy that Annie meets who coincidentally stumbles back into her life when the Crites appear. He’s wreckless and confident, like most teenage boys.
Charlie - The alien bounty hunter has fallen on hard times and is stuck hiding in holes looking for Crites.
Frankie - A scummy handiman helping to drive people out of the building for Mr. Briggs.
Mr Briggs - The landlord more interesting in destroying the building to build a new mall. That says all you need to know about him.
TRISK ANALYSIS: Welcome back, Triskelions! Happy April Fool's Day! I have no tricks for you this year, you lucky dogs, but we are returning to the Critters franchise this vaguely Eastery day, and diving into Critters 3. AKA, the One With Leonardo DiCaprio. So let's just dive right in and see if he puts in a doesn't win the Oscar level performance here!
The movie drives into the credits with a family trying to return from a vacation around the country or something, but they get a flat. Cliff pulls them into a rest stop to do some repairs, and the kids go off and play.
Johnny goes running off and stumbles into Josh, both of which are soon soon joined by Annie so they play some frisbee. Unfortunately it sails off into the woods which Josh said not to go play in...so he goes in and everyone follows. Don't go down there...let ME go down there!!
They also reveal that some of the odd camera angles are someone or something watching them, but it makes no sense. If it’s a Crite, and it’s supposed to be, the kids CLEARLY should have seen it, but fine.
Anywho, they go to retrieve the frisbee, with a really awkward shot of trying to reach it with a stick when you could CLEARLY use your hands or walk to it...but then exploding out of the dirt for SOME reason comes our favourite bounty hunter, Charlie.
I feel like we, and the kids, walked into a more interesting story, and I'd rather be watching that. Charlie warns them that Something is coming, and he comes off as the same sort of loon he was seen as in the first movie. Character development, everyone!!
And oh for fuck's sake, Charlie dives into a flashback using a solid two minutes of reusable footage from the first movie. Don't show us the better movie in your shitty sequel!
Charlie gives Johnny a chrome crystal and says if it ever glows green, danger is near. "Green?" "Yeah, green, if it glowed blue we might be sued by the Tolkein estate."
Meanwhile, the lurking Crite cam has crawled up into the family's truck and joins them for their trip to the city. Once they arrive, it escapes into the apartment building.
Oh, also, Josh stole a magic tech bullet from Charlie which I am positive will not play any part in the plots going forward,.
We spend some time meeting the quirky characters in the building, most notably Frankie the handyman who isn't fixing shit. Since he's actually working for the landlord trying to force everyone out of the building so he can build a mall in its place. Also, Frankie wishes he was Andrew Dice Clay.
After a lot of characters milling about and talking, and Frankie plotting in the basement, he is finally attacked by a Crite.
I want to say that 34 minutes is ENTIRELY too long for our first death in a Critters movie...but the first movie’s came in at 30 minutes. Is this really any worse? I think the first movie at least had a constant building tension, and the alien bounty hunters lurking around as a threat in their own right, this is just taking a LONG time to get anywhere.
We then learn that the landlord trying to pull a Scooby Doo and move everyone out is...JOSH'S FATHER. For fuck's sake, even Charles Dickens would be ashamed of that coincidence.
Meanwhile, the kids visit Mr. Menges, who vaguely recalls the first two m...the Grover’s Bend incidents, and digs out some papers, including a headline that is so grammatically awful, it makes me angry.
He also manages to give some more previous movie backstory without flashbacking, so thank you for that. Also, YAY calling out the bunny suit kill from the last movie.
Down in the basement, one of the other tenants is looking for Frank, finds a lot of blood instead, and the Crites find her. She runs off, somehow gets tangled in a rope, and somehow keeps them at bay until Annie finds and helps her. The Crites sure did get wussified.
I love when people get physical with the Crites. It a) helps make them real, and when they get tossed around, it's always a blast, and a good moment of lightheartedness. This time out, Annie gets one chewing on a mop, and she smacks it back and forth to great effect.
The Crites escape the basement, skewer Annie's dad and he goes all woozy, and the humans book it upstairs to safety. And to stop them we get a great moment of CRITTER BOWLING.
Meanwhile, Mister Briggs is poking around and cuts the phone lines and power to increase panic, because he's eeeevil.
They poke around the building trying to find his tenants, and Josh just wants to go wait in the car. Briggs asks his stepson, "You're not a crybaby, are ya sport?" "Only if it will it help me get an Oscar!"
Josh wishes Briggs was dead, and faster than you can say WISH GRANTED! he gets eaten by some Crites.
Everyone holes up in the Menges' apartment to regroup and plan and arm up. Annie notices a crawlspace up in the ceiling, and they lead everyone up there in hopes of finding a way up to the roof.
Down in the basement, the bleached Crite, I think, heats up and catches stuff on fire. Because this movie needed ANOTHER plot complication.
Everyone gets into the crawlspace as the Crites invade, and are blocked out. So the fuzzballs decide to have some fun in the kitchen and grab a bite to eat. Because it is not properly a Critters movie until they have just caused some random chaos.
Oh, we also learn as the people crawl around inside the building, that Annie is afraid of heights. Because that's a plot point we needed.
Also also! They reach the door to the roof, and it's locked! Ah ha ha. Sucks to be you guys.
Fortunately, Marcia finds a grate she kicks out and uses her phone maintenance worker gear to try and climb down to get some help. She ends up slipping and dangling from a wire for the rest of the movie.
Annie decides to get help, and confronts the fear of heights she literally just developed as she climbs down the ladder down the elevator shaft.
She runs into a Crite that screams for help like it's trying to shatter a glass. The movie remembers the Crites are intelligent and communicate, and they announce that Blackie needs help.
Blackie?? THAT'S RACIST!!
That's when Charlie bursts back into the movie, by the Critters tradition of exploding a door and killing a few Crites along the way.,
They head back upstairs and regroup with the rest at the locked door to the roof. And of course the Crites follow because otherwise we wouldn't have much of a final act.
In all this commotion and fight with the invading space porcupines, the door to the roof gets blasted open, so now they can stand up there as the rest of their home burns.
Everyone thinks they’re safe, but a Critter that Josh bashed and they thought was dead, climbs up for a little bit of payback.
Johnny stands right on the roof edge and watches as the Critter spins up for a Sonic charge. Charlie dives in, taking the hit, and goes off the roof. Johnny gets spooked and backs right up off the ledge, which has Annie rush over and grab him, confronting her fear more definitively this time.
Also, continuing their attempt at character arcs, their dad comes over and helps, after being shown as a jerk all movie long.
In a wild bit of serendipity, we find that Charlie managed to grab a flagpole, saving himself. Charlie is one of THE luckiest sumbitches in all of moviedom. The flagpole breaks off the building, he lands on Clifford's truck, and the Crite is impaled on a tv antenna in the process.
And let's be honest, this is the end of the movie, even with eight minutes left. It drags on for all that time as everyone recovers and sits around in shock, taking the night in.
The only other thing of note is Charlie crawling through the burnt up wreckage of the building, finding a few more Crites, and getting a message from Ugg Boots. So he does put in an appearance, and directly sets up Critters 4 with a to be continued.
Video: It looks pretty good, all things told. Its maybe the tiniest bit of rough around the edges, but only barely.
Audio: Pretty good, with a nice mix, and I felt some good stuff whooshing by my head.
Body Count: Ahhh now this is more like it. I’ve missed a good body count, even if most are puppets.
1 - Frank gets eaten at almost 34 minutes
2 - A critter gets bleached.
3 - Another gets smacked around on a mop.
4-7 - Critter bowling!
8 - Josh's stepfather gets gnawed on.
9 - At least one critter dies when Charlie makes his entrance
10 - Charlie blasts one as they make way to the elevator.
11 - Leo bashes a critter good.
12 - A critter gets axed by granny.
13 - Another gets blasted by Charlie
14 - Critter gets impaled on an antenna
Best Corpse: Well, I can’t vote for Critter Bowling, because that’s puppets. Which doesn’t leave much choice. I’ll give the nod to Frankie, because we got to see it, and some aftermath.
Blood Type - B-: Quite a bit of blood here and there, but as is usual with this series, many of the points awarded are for the Critters themselves. Not as good as previous movies, but still good.
Drink Up! Every time a Critter bites someone
Movie Review: This movie is pretty well panned, and I will admit, it’s not great. It’s the worst of the serie so far. But I did not hate it. It had a perfectly good story of trying to survive the night, and most things made sense. It had some fun bits, and good, memorable characters. I do wish they’d lean more towards letting the Crites bring the humour. Spreading it around the cast makes the movies too funny. There could be a better balance struck. Three out of five chrome crystals
Entertainment Value: It’s a blast seeing a young Leo, that’s for sure. And even in this, he’s got skills on display. In fact, I’d say he’s trying TOO hard, giving TOO much at times. He is quite literally too good for this movie at times. I love Frankie, and he keeps the long slot until the fun begins entertaining. There’s some good laughs, and fun here and there, almost to the movie’s detrement, as I said before. Still, there’s enough good times here. Three out of five bags of flour.