Taglines: The battle began in another galaxy. It’s about to end in the Brown’s backyard.
The film begins on a prison set on an asteroid, from which a group of ‘Critters’ are set to be transported to another station. When the Critters 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 April with a slingshot pellet, and Brad assumes the blame on himself to protect his friend (one of his apparent only friends throughout the movie). When on the roof later, Brad mistakes the Critters’ spaceship for a meteorite. The ship thereafter lands, causing the ground to shake. Investigating, Jay discovers Brad in a tree, and allows him to come along.
Devouring the majority of a cow, the Critters are interrupted by Jay and Brad’s discovery of the carcass. The Critters thereafter consume a police officer, and later approach the farm and cut its electrical connection. Jay, Helen, and Brad go to check the circuit breaker, and Jay is attacked by one of the Critters.
The Critters reveal they can shoot quills laced with a fast acting venom that tranquilizes their targets, rendering the limb or 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 Critters, and 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. They are later recruited by Brad.
Critters is a 1986 American science fiction comedy horror film starring Dee Wallace, 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), with creature effects by the The Chiodo Brothers.
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.
Directed by: Stephen Herek
Starring: Dee Wallace, M. Emmet Walsh, Billy Green Bush, Scott Grimes, Nadine Van der Velde, Don Keith Opper, Billy Zane, Lin Shaye
Screenplay by: Domonic Muir
Production Design by: Gregg Fonseca
Cinematography by: Tim Suhrstedt
Film Editing by: Larry Bock
Set Decoration by: Anne H. Ahrens
Art Direction by: Philip Dean Foreman
Music by: David Newman
Distributed by: New Line Cinema
Release Date: April 11, 1986