Movie Review 59 – Critters 4 (1992)

Angela Bassett steals the show in Critters 4, or as I like to call it “Criters in Space”.

Departing from the suburban terror scenarios of the first, and second Critters movies, which then went urban in Critters 3, this installation in the series not only takes place in outer space, but in the future as well. Starting to sound familiar? But there is more than just a tinge of similarity to the original Alien movie as this is all about critters being picked up in space while still cryogenically frozen in their egg state, hatching, and then running amok and killing the crew members one at a time. We start off still on Earth in contemporary times, with good old Charlie (vagrant turned Critter bounty hunter from the preceding Critter movies) about to destroy the last Critter eggs off the face of the Earth. He then gets a message from the aliens that released the Critters in the first place that those eggs are the last vestiges of the Critter species in the entire universe. He is ordered to place the last remaining eggs in an interstellar cargo ship that arrives on command and he himself gets locked in with them as it embarks on a journey into space.

Jump ahead 50 odd years and a space faring salvage team picks up the cargo box floating aimlessly in space. The crew is ordered not to open the box by their ‘company’ superiors and ordered to go to a remote space station instead. Eventually, greed and stupidity on the part of the salvage crew captain first frees the now hatched Critters and soon following that, Charlie himself. Once again we have Charlie and the good guys vs the bad guys vs the Critters.

I don’t want to go into details but again there is a lot of “Alien” movie scene and concept borrowing going on here. While there are a few fun moments, this is also easily the darkest movie in the franchise with little of the fluff and the distinct lack of children in the mix this time around. On the contrary, the adult content is amped up to the point where we have all but revealing shower scene with Angela that clearly puts this into a more mature category. No cute gremlins rip-off here. Aside from the talented miss Bassett, genre aficionados will enjoy the inclusion of Brad Dourif in the cast.

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