[Remember This?] Even Leonardo DiCaprio Can’t Save ‘Critters 3′!

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There’s something about franchise installments that take their antagonists out of the rural confines in which we got to know them and transport the action to the big city… they kinda suck. Jason Takes Manhattan is easily the biggest offender, I love it because it has Jason but it’s not a “good movie” by any stretch of the imagination. Oddly enough this principle kind of applies to Scream 3 (Woodsboro and whatever college Sidney went to in the sequel weren’t exactly urban), which has organic big city “touches” like the Ripley’s museum and Jay and Silent Bob.

This law is exemplified by Criters 3. We got familiar with the Crites in Grover’s Bend in the pretty-good first two films, but director Kristine Peterson dreamed bigger and dared to bring the creatures into the big city. That’s all good and admirable, unfortunately she forgot to bring any real sense of momentum or urgency. If you can disappoint an eager kid (me) who loved the first two films (and saw Critters 2 twice in theaters), then you haven’t really brought your a-game.

The film is notable for being the big screen debut of Leonardo DiCaprio, but it’s unbearably slack and chintzy. Darkly lit and lazy, the action in the apartment complex is so static the camera barely moves. It also doesn’t help that the tone is off. Leaning ever so slightly more in the comedic direction inherent to the series (a decision I get and empathize with, after all this is Critters we’re talking about), Critters 3 offers the revelatory hindsight that the first two films were actually tonal tightrope acts of a relatively high order. The overuse of Don Keith Opper’s Charlie MacFadden doesn’t do the film any favors either.

You only need to take a look at the shot at 1:14 in this trailer, Crites lazily tossed in the air after a trash can is rolled in their direction, to get a feel for where you should set your expectations for this film. To make matters worse, Critters 3 is pretty much bloodless with an insanely low body count. Oddly enough this leaves me with a desire to check out Critters 4, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen, to see if it improves matters at all.

 
  • zigwardScissorHands

    For reasons I cannot explain or understand in any way Critters 3 is my favorite of the franchise. I know its not great and I know 1 and 2 are far better movies but for some reason I am entertained the most by 3.

  • bambi_lives8980

    I like all of the Critters movies a lot! I distinctly remember every one of them from my childhood and being scared shitless/tired from laughing with every installment. As much as I like the first one, because I saw it first, the second one is my favorite as it has the most action, BOOBS!, and the most Crites. The order of my favorites is like this – 2, 1, 3, and 4. The third movie is enjoyable because it’s so silly. I can remember seeing it on TV a long ass time ago, and when the lights went out in the apartment building, the electricity in my actual house went out! I was young and kinda freaked out but mostly pissed because I didn’t get to finish the movie until I found it for rent. Picked em up when they were all released on DVD a few years ago, and watched 3 because after Leo got famous I remembered that he was in this movie. he wasn’t so bad in the role!

    Now the fourth movie, while having Brad Dourif in it and one pretty damned gruesome crite kill in particular, is pretty dismal and boring. It has its moments, mostly thanks to Brad Dourif but is easily the worst in the series. Always wanted to see a Critters 5, which I heard was in development a year or two after they filmed the 3rd and 4th movies back to back, but due to low rentals it was cancelled and the project shelved. A remake if in the right hands could possibly be alright, but truthfully I wouldn’t want to chance it. Critters was always the ultimate Gremlins rip off, way better than the Ghoulies or Munchie movies.

  • MovieGeek

    I oddly enjoy Critters 3. It’s nowhere near as fun as the first two but I still like it.

    4 on the other hand I dislike. Not enough critter action.

  • sweetooth

    I dunno, I always dug Critters 3. Part 2 is definately my fave, but I gotta say, having watched all 4 back to back when I bought the 4 pack, the Critters series is actually a pretty solid franchise with a good ongoing story and it continues to follow the same character all the way through (CHarlie) which is always a plus.

    As far as this being the least bloody, I do recall some decently gruesome half eaten corpses, but don’t really recall how it stacks up to the others, but the hilarious thing is that on my Canadian DVD the Canadian censors rated Critters 3 18A! I mean, do they even watch these movies before they rate them? How does a US PG-13 throughout the franchise translate into multiple different ratings for the Canadian releases (PG, 14A and 18A respectively)???

  • crieff405

    “The overuse of Don Keith Opper’s Charlie MacFadden doesn’t do the film any favors either.”

    He’s barely in this movie. One scene at the beginning, and a few scenes at the end! Get out of here!

    This one is my least favourite, but I do like how it leads into Part 4. It’s also anachronistic, with Charlie saying Critters took place in “1984″…Derp!

    TRIVIA: The young girl in this, Aimee Lee Chadwick or something, was in an episode of EERIE INDIANA where she played an astral projection of the younger version of an old lady, who was the actress who played Brad Brown’s Grandma in Critters 2.