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November 1, 2021

A Binge too Far #19: Horror Reservoir

Frame from Critters Attack! (2019)


Becoming a successful actor is a trap! Whereas when you start your career on small independent films you shoot a protagonist role in 2-3 weeks and the critics love your performance, while when you become part of the system and employed in big-budget films it takes that amount of times to shoot a merely bit-part and the critics will hate your guts. Not that this advice to aspiring young actors has anything to do with the present article, but I couldn’t come up with any more relevant introduction.


Critters Attack! (2019)

Critters Attack!


Unable to entertain Trissy (TV actress Ava Preston), Jake (TV actor Jack Fulton), and Phillip (TV actor Jaeden Noel), their babysitter Drea (Tashiana Washington) takes them to the nearby park, where they discover a good (and white) Critter which they take back home with them. The problem however is that myriad of bad (and black) Critters have also landed in the area, and they are causing mayhem with their three rows of teeth and arrow-throwing backs. Dee (franchise favorite and overall horror icon Dee Wallace) will come to the rescue.


On the wake of the box-office success of the Gremlins duo (1984 – 1990), the Critters franchise (1986 – ongoing) proved to be the best competitor of sorts and its cult following is huge up to this day. However, the last we heard of from Crites (as the monsters are called in the film by many of the main characters) was back in 1992. That is until Critters: A New Binge (2019) was released to not too much acclaim (I haven’t seen it, but from what I heard it’s pretty bad). This was quickly followed by the feature under review, which although it did not cause a stir either, it is quite enjoyable.


For a film called Critters Attack, a few words about the attacks should be written, and be assured that those are well-staged, in a ‘don’t show too much’ kind of thriller way, an approach that was most likely taken due to budgetary reasons, but it works aesthetically in spades (The attacks are also quite gory, resulting in the film’s R-rating, whereas all the previous installments were rated PG-13). A Critters film should also be about Small Town, America, and this is indeed the set-up here too, and although it delivers exactly what we wanted as fans, I couldn’t help but wonder how cool it would be to see our favorite monsters in a metropolis one day. Hein de Vos’ cinematography is dark and very appropriate with the film’s thriller tone. Plus, all your favorite gags are here and then some. A winner that is highly recommended.


The rebirth of the franchise was announced by the SyFy Channel (whom it sounds like that would be interested in making more installments, much to our pleasure) in October 2018 and this first film started principal photography (in secret, no less) on February 2019. A trailer was made available a couple of months later, and the film itself was made available online on July 2019.


Apostle (2018) poster



Set in 1905, this is about Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens, mostly known for his TV work) who lands on a secluded Welsh village, the habitants of which have kidnapped his sister (Elen Rhys, also mostly known for her TV work) and demand money for her return. The male lead soon discovers that the village’s history is built upon superstition, religious dogmatism and fanaticism, violence, corruption, hypocrisy, and what’s more, the prevailing cult may be hiding some literal monsters as well.


Writer/director Gareth Evans (who also produced with Ed Talfan and Aram Tertzakian) invested in atmosphere and as a result he managed to deliver a slow burn masterpiece that becomes even greater when one considers the tricky aspect that it is in fact a period piece. Premiering at the Fantastic Fest in September 2018, it then quickly (approximately a month later) ended on Netflix, where it can now be appreciated by everybody, as indeed it does.




My views on censorship and religion are very similar. If your religion does not allow you to do something, this is fine. If your religion does not allow me to do something, then you can both fuck off. Same applies to censorship of any kind. If you are offended by something you’re watching or you simply think that you shouldn’t be watching it because it is inappropriate, then this is fine. If you are offended because I watch something and you think that I shouldn’t be watching it, then you can fuck off.

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