Critters (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stephen Herek
Produced by Robert Shaye
Written by Stephen Herek
Domonic Muir
Don Keith Opper
Starring Dee Wallace-Stone
M. Emmet Walsh
Billy Green Bush
Scott Grimes
Nadine Van der Velde
Don Keith Opper
Music by David Newman
Cinematography Tim Suhrstedt
Editing by Larry Bock
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates April 11, 1986
Running time 82 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2 million
Box office $13,167,232 (US)[1]

Critters is a 1986 cult comedy horror science fiction film starring Dee Wallace-Stone, M. Emmet Walsh, Billy Green Bush and Scott Grimes. It was directed by Stephen Herek and written by Herek, Domonic Muir (story) and Don Keith Opper (additional scenes). It is the first film in the Critters series. Although widely believed to have been inspired by the success of Joe Dante's 1984 film Gremlins,[2][3][4] Herek has refuted this in interviews, pointing out that the script was written by Muir long before Gremlins went into production and subsequently underwent rewrites to reduce the apparent similarities between the two films.[5]


The film begins on a prison asteroid in outer space. A group of unseen creatures known as Crites are set to be transported to another station. When the seemingly intelligent creatures cause an explosion that kills two guards and injures three, hijack a ship away from the station, and escape, the leader of the station hires two transforming bounty hunters to hunt the "Critters" down.

Meanwhile, on Earth, we are introduced to the Brown family, living in a rural Kansas town: the father, Jay; the mother, Helen; the teenage daughter, April; and the trouble-making son, Brad. Brad often hangs out with dopey mechanic, Charlie McFadden. When he and Brad are outside, Charlie accidentally hits Brad's sister with a slingshot pellet, and Brad, not wanting his friend to get into trouble, passes the blame on himself. He is grounded, but sneaks out onto the roof. While on the roof Brad sees what appears to be a comet streaking the sky, falling somewhere in the distance.

The comet, which in actuality is the Crite's ship, lands, causing the ground to shake and alarming Jay and his wife. Walking outside to investigate, Jay discovers Brad in a tree, who says he was thrown clear out of his window by the earthquake. Jay, obviously not believing this, takes his son along with him to find the comet. At the landing site, the Critters survey the damage, and set out for food.

Devouring the majority of a steer, the Crites are interrupted upon Jay and Brad's discovery of the cattle's carcass. Then the Crites attack and eat a police officer. Shortly afterward, the Critters make their way toward the farm and manage to cut the power. Jay, Helen and Brad go to the circuit breaker where Jay is attacked by one of the Critters. Then out in the barn, April is making out and trying to engage in sexual intercourse with her boyfriend Steve when one of the Critters attacks them and kills Steve. Brad saves her by feeding a lit stick of dynamite to the Critter, killing it. The family manages to evade the Critters and get into the house. Meanwhile the two bounty hunters, having already landed on Earth, travel from pillar to post in the town looking for the Critters. When Brad goes for help, he manages to bring the bounty hunters to his home. The Critters return to their ship when the bounty hunters arrive, with their large leader having kidnapped April, Charlie then lights a homemade bomb with a molotov cocktail created from the whiskey he is always carrying and saves her.

The Critters lift off, and blast the Brown's house into pieces. Their ship explodes, supposedly killing all the Critters. The bounty hunters leave in their ship after giving Brad a strange, remote-like device. The Brown's house is repaired in less than a minute, with a push of a button on the remote control. At the very end, the camera zooms into the barn, where Critter eggs can be seen.



The film was released theatrically in the United States by New Line Cinema in April 1986. It turned out to be a modest hit for the company, grossing $13,167,232 at the box office.[1]

The film was released on VHS and laserdisc by RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video the same year. In September 1997, New Line Home Video re-released the film on VHS.

In 2003, New Line Home Entertainment released the film on DVD. The film was re-released in a set containing all 4 Critters films on DVD by Warner Bros. in 2010.

In December 2011. It was announced a retrospective, never before seen documentary for the first film is currently in pre-production. The documentary will explore the origins of "Critters" as well as cast & crew interviews and more..[citation needed]


According to Rotten Tomatoes, 57% of reviewers gave the film a positive review.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Critters". Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  2. ^ "Critters". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  3. ^ Critters, Critters 2, Critters 3 & Critters 4
  4. ^ DVD Stalk: Asylum, Masters of Horror, Critters, and Region Free Horror Highlights
  5. ^ Excerpt from interview with Stephen Herek, Critters UK VHS liner notes (Cinema Club edition)
  6. ^

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