Critters Attack! (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

Critters fans have had slim pickings for a very long time, with lack of real printings of the original film on home media and new films coming together. Now in 2019 we finally got two new installments, but together they don’t really amount to much of a great “Critters” movie sadly. While “Critters Attack!” is waves better than “Critters: A New Binge” it’s still never as good as “Critters” parts one or two. It’s only an okay offering that’s right there beside “Critters 3.” That’s about as glowing as a recommendation that I can give it when all was said and done.

Drea is anxious to get in to a good college but is stuck making deliveries for a local sushi place while taking care of her little brother Phillip. After a meteor crashes on Earth, Drea’s co-worker is attacked while making a delivery and becomes food to the newborn Crites. They’re back, they’re hungry, and they’re as vicious as ever. Stuck with Trissy and Jack, two kids she’s stuck babysitting, Drea and Phillip discover a new type of Crite. Nicknamed Bianca, she’s a friendly female crite that might be the key to stopping the invasion of the hungry monsters. Along the way Dee, from the original film, is tracking the newly born Crites intent on eradicating them.

“Critters Attack!” offers up all of the Crite treats, but with none of the energy and absolutely none of the dark humor. The Crites are stuck in a movie and setting that doesn’t help advance what is a basically lethargic narrative. It’s tough to root for characters without much motivation we can empathize with, and writer Scott Lobdell, he never quite takes advantage of the premise. There’s no real callbacks to the original films save for Dee Wallace’s glorified cameo. Meanwhile we spend a good amount of the screen time following Drea as she struggles to make sense of the Crite invasion, all the while struggling to her brother and her new charges close by. There isn’t a lot of explanation as to what unfolds, either.

What was Bianca exactly? Was she a good Crite or just docile due to the circumstances? Are there others out there like her? Is the Crite species completely invading? Are there any bounty hunters on their tracks? As for anything beyond monster antics, you’ll leave relatively empty handed. Drea is a bland heroine, Phillip doesn’t have any actual chemistry with actress Tashiana Washington, and Trissy and Jack offer nothing to the narrative. Dee Wallace’s presence is also baffling, despite being literally the only wink wink we get to the original film. In either case, if you’re up for just Crite carnage and chomping, it’s a perfectly okay movie. But if you’re in to more fleshed out characters and better energy, you may as well revisit “Critters” one and two again.

Fantasia International Film Festival runs from July 11th to August 1st 2019.