Critters (1986)
New Line Home Entertainment
Cast: Billy Green Bush, Dee Wallace Stone, Lin Shaye, M. Emmet Walsh, Terrence Mann

’Critters’ was a series of little horror/science fiction films that within 5 years spawned four feature films. It is the story of bloodthirsty little aliens looking very much like alien porcupine furballs landing on Earth with some bounty hunters right on their heels. The result is mayhem and destruction everywhere they – or the shape-shifting doppelgänger bountyhunters – show up. Spiced up with a good sense of humor, these films are always fun to watch and the 1986 original ’Critters’, is without a doubt the best film in the series. Filled with 80s hard rock music, hairdos and clothing, the film takes us right into the heart of America where the people of a small town just don’t know how to deal with these pint-sized critters that are eating people alive.

The origins of New Line Cinema lie in the horror genre, as we all know too well, and ’Critters’ was one of the films that helped build their reputation. ’Critters’ is presented on this DVD in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ration in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 TV sets. An optional full frame version is also included that slightly crops the image on the sides. The picture is meticulously clean and entirely free of defects or blemishes. Colors are vibrant, bringing out the best of the bright pink nail polish and clothes we get to see throughout, while still rendering flesh tones very natural. Blacks are deep and absolutely solid, never breaking up and rendering shadows that still have good image detail. There’s no edge-enhancement visible, and the compression has been handled perfectly, making sure the image definition remains fully intact at any time. While watching the film I almost had to ask myself if a film like ’Critters’ actually deserves to look THAT good, if you know what I mean.

A 5.1 channel Dolby Digital track is included on the release, accompanied by a Dolby Surround track. The tracks a very well reproduced with a wide frequency response and dynamic range. Surrounds are sued very aggressively in certain scenes, creating a very wide sound field. The DVD also contains English subtitles.

The movie’s theatrical trailer, as well as trailers for the other ’Critters’ DVDs are also included as the only extras on the disc.

I always had a blast with the ’Critters,’ back in the 80s and today. They are little films that don’t take themselves seriously at all and mock a good number of more serious science fiction and horror films. Fans of these flicks won’t find better versions than the ones that New Line is serving up here on DVD. Get it!