Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stephen Herek|
|Produced by||Robert Shaye|
|Written by||Stephen Herek
Don Keith Opper
|Music by||David Newman|
|Edited by||Larry Bock|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|April 11, 1986|
|Box office||$13,167,232 (US)|
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 the directorial debut of Stephen Herek who co-wrote it alongside 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, 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.
The film begins on a prison set on an asteroid, from which a group of 'Crites' are set to be transported to another station. When the Crites kill two guards and injure three, hijack a ship from the station, and escape, the commander of the station hires two shape-changing bounty hunters to pursue them.
On Earth, the Brown family are living in a rural Kansas town: the father, Jay; the mother, Helen; the teenage daughter, April; and the son, Brad, who keeps company with mechanic Charlie McFadden. When he and Brad are outside,shooting off homemade fireworks and playing with Brad's slingshot. Charlie accidentally hits Brad's sister with a slingshot pellet, and Brad assumes the blame on himself to protect his friend ( one of his apparent only friends thought the movie) Charlie. When later on the roof, Brad mistakes the Crites' spaceship for a meteorite. The ship thereafter lands, causing the ground to shake. Investigating, Jay discovers Brad in a tree, and takes him into the investigation.
Devouring the majority of a steer, the Crites are interrupted by Jay and Brad's discovery of the carcass. The Crites thereafter consume a police officer, and later approach the farm and cut its electrical connection. To explore this, Jay, Helen, and Brad go to the circuit breaker where Jay is attacked by one of the Critters. The Critters reveal they can shoot small metal darts laced with a fast acting poison that tranquilizes their targets, rendering the limb or the body temporarily numb or useless, and hit Jay in the right leg with one as his family struggles to pull him out of the basement. In the barn, April is attempting sexual intercourse with her boyfriend Steve when he is killed by the Crites, which Brad then kills one of them by tricking it into eating a cherry bomb firecracker he had in his pocket. Meanwhile the two bounty hunters search the town, causing a ruckus at the town church, and then the local bowling alley and are later recruited by Brad. The Critters return to their ship when the bounty hunters arrive, with their leader having kidnapped April, and start the ship up to fly away and escape the bounty hunters as well as firing the ships weapons to destroy the family's house out of pure malice; only then do they realize that Charlie and Brad were able to get April out of the ship before it took off and Brad has thrown a homemade bomb into the ship, to which Charlie made his bottle of whiskey into a firebomb and threw that into the ship, causing a fire which lights off both the homemade bomb and the additional fuel the ship was carrying, the explosion supposedly killing all the Critters. The bounty hunters leave in their ship after giving Brad a hand held device that they say to "call them" by, and also by which the family's house is restored. At the very end, Critter eggs can be seen in the barn inside a chickens nest that seem to be ready to hatch.
- Dee Wallace-Stone as Helen Brown
- M. Emmet Walsh as Harv
- Billy Green Bush as Jay Brown
- Scott Grimes as Brad Brown
- Nadine Van der Velde as April Brown
- Don Keith Opper as Charlie McFadden
- Billy Zane as Steve Elliot
- Ethan Phillips as Jeff Barnes
- Terrence Mann as Ug/Johnny Steele
- Jeremy Lawrence as Reverend Miller/Preacher
- Lin Shaye as Sally
- Corey Burton as the voice of the Crites/Critters
- Adele Malis-Morey as Woman #1
- Patrick McAreavy as Dr. Critter
Warner Bros. have announced their plans to produce a web series based on the Critters franchise. 
- "Critters". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2011-03-29.
- "Critters". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "DVD Stalk: Asylum, Masters of Horror, Critters, and Region Free Horror Highlights". dvdtalk.com.
- Excerpt from interview with Stephen Herek, Critters UK VHS liner notes (Cinema Club edition)
- "Critters". rottentomatoes.com. 11 April 1986.
- Brian Gallagher. "‘Static Shock’ and ‘Critters’ Digital Series in Development". MovieWeb.