Critters 4 (1992)
Critters 4. This time, they're in space!
It picks up exactly where Critters 3 left off. That's to say that the closing scene from Critters 3 forms the introduction to Critters 4. Expert Crite-killer Charlie McFadden is about to destroy the final remaining Crite eggs when he's informed that destroying them would be unethical. Crites are now an endangered species and must be protected.
Unfortunately, whilst placing the eggs into stasis, Charlie is accidentally frozen himself. He spends the next few decades floating in space, only to be picked up by a salvage ship in the year 2045.
The crew of this ship are so similar to the inhabitants of the apartment block in Critters 3 that it's almost as though these films are written according to a template. There's the sexy but powerful woman, the grizzly yet caring sort, the absolute bastard (who you just know is going to get chewed to death at some point) and the plucky young scamp.
Critters 3 will possibly never be forgotten because, in that film, Leonardo DiCaprio played the plucky young scamp role. Critters 4 has no such curiosity credentials, so as such will probably only ever be watched by those who love The Horror Channel, those who own box-sets and those who run blogs on which they write at length about every single film they watch.
It's a shame, really. Critters 4 isn't essential viewing by any means. It's not good, it's not bad, and it's not at all “so bad it's good”. It just is. It's fitting that it's set in space, as it sort of just floats by. Along the way, though, there's certainly some fun to be had.
Most of the action takes place in a decrepit space station controlled by an irritating computer called Angela. Angela works on the curious logic that she should simply do the opposite of whatever those who don't have security access might say. So, throughout the film, characters say things like “Angela, don't open the door,” only for said door to slide defiantly open. “Exactly like my ex-wife,” quips one character.
What I liked about Critters 4 is that it's of the “working guy sci-fi” genre. What's “working guy sci-fi”? Well, I just made it up. But consider the astronaut – he's of peak physical and mental fitness and has a haircut to which you could set your watch. He's a maths expert who spends the majority of his day doing sit-ups and the rest of his time eating puréed banana.
My favourite sci-fi, though, send the sort of people into space who you might otherwise have expected to find in a bar with a neon beer sign in the window. They have long hair, a few days worth of stubble and talk with their mouths full. I'm not talking about Armageddon, because that film's ridiculous. I'm talking about Dead Star, Ice Pirates, Silent Running and – if you want a British take on this sub-sub-genre – Red Dwarf.
The main reason I stuck with and – yes – rather enjoyed Critters 4 was that it made me wonder when we might really find such people crewing spaceships.
When will space be democratised? That's just one of the many important questions that Critters 4 dares to ask.