Where do they come up with this stuff?

Take the heartwarming story of Batteries Not Included, that of a slumlord trying to evict low-income residents while they deal with an alien oddity – and take out the heartwarming. That’s Critters 3.

Unlike the playful two films prior, Critters 3 looks and feels frazzled. It’s mean-spirited and cheap, built on a foundation of crass human behavior. The promise of Crites invading Los Angeles doesn’t come to fruition; they invade one lonely building instead.

This goes against the franchise, which pits the average small town against these hungry, toothy beings. In the hunt for something new, Critters 3 settles on the opposite, the thing residents of Critters feared – Los Angeles big city types.

Containment to a singular building is indicative of the minuscule production value. A shrunken cast and a few minutes of stock footage indicates the same. The eventual rambunctious antics don’t come until past the hour mark as the Crites smash pies into each other’s faces. Everywhere else, Critters 3 settles on hoary violence, and not to the comic degree that Critters and Critters 2 balanced delicately.

Critters 3 is an odd historical anomaly for landing Leondardo DiCaprio in his first screen role

Critters 3 tries. One kill is intercut with a Julia Child broadcast where she discusses removing the bones; the victim is only heard behind a closed door. With a garbage can, a few Crites take a shot to the face to the sound of bowling pins falling. Note Critters 2 had a similar gag.

The biggest loss to Critters 3 is not doing anything with this setting. It’s there for budgetary reasons, somewhat ironically for the same reasons the characters remain in this slum. In the closing moments, after the characters fought their way to the roof, they begin calling out to the city. No one hears them. No one sees the fire spreading through the apartment complex either. Critters 3 almost squeezes in a statement on how society ignores its poor. Then, it’s time for more gore and a direct sequel set-up.

Those who die in Critters 3 deserve to (insofar as such a script draws the obvious villains). It’s a small body count, tiny for a movie like this, yet somehow feels crasser than the other Critters with triple the monster murder. That’s a sign something is off, leaving Critters 3 an odd historical anomaly for landing Leondardo DiCaprio in his first screen role. No, he doesn’t get eaten. Critters 3 doesn’t get that right either.

Video

Definitely sourced from a dated master, the lack of resolution keeps Critters 3 akin to the DVD release. Thick, unnatural grain obscures fine detail. In close, everything smears as if layered with some light digital filter. If so, the only effect is causing a mess rather than controlling the film stock.

Color improves. Star Aimee Brooks wears a hyper-neon shirt for much of Critters 3. Saturation pulls those pinks out in full and in excess. Early scenes near a forested area feature a background of tall grass, deeply green, and trouble for the lower resolution material. All of those blades mush together.

While the first half takes place in well-lit rooms and halls, things dim when the power is cut. That necessitates black levels picking up their end. They do. Depth holds to a general consistency, falling only a handful of times. Critters 3 earns its depth.

Audio

A so-so DTS-HD track produces an imprecise split between the two available channels. Listen as the RV tracks across the screen in the early portion of the movie. Separation isn’t distinct or clear. Later scenes hardly employ the discrete channels at all.

Age doesn’t sour the material, keeping fidelity firm. Environments do play a role, especially as the cast scrunches into an attic area. Reverb comes through messily. The schlocky score poses no challenge.

Extras

Barry and Don Opper, producer and co-star in that order, provide the commentary track. You Are What They Eat runs for 26-minutes, a fun look at how the project came to be, along with the direct sequel. Trailers and stills come in last.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Critters 3
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Movie

The fall is hard for Critters 3, a dismal cash-in sequel that does nothing with its new setting, characters, or monsters.

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