Awfully Good: Critters 3

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Everyone has to start somewhere and before THE GREAT GATSBY and before TITANIC, Leonardo DiCaprio‘s first movie was…

Critters 3 (1991)

Director: Kristine Peterson
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Aimee Brooks, Frances Bay

A family moves in to a new apartment complex that has a serious infestation of hungry space rodents.

The only real reason to watch CRITTERS 3 is to see a young Leonardo DiCaprio in his first movie role. (Although “young” is a relative term since he was already 17 when this was shot.) Aside from the novelty of seeing future Jack Dawson wrestle with carnivorous dust bunnies, there’s not much else worthwhile in this schlocky B-movie sequel. Even if you like CRITTERS, the first two films are undoubtedly better offerings. Plus the original film features golden god and DiCaprio-nemesis Billy Zane.

A digital projection of what Leonardo DiCaprio will look like at age 50.

In case you’re not familiar with the title creatures, Critters are a group of evil pint-sized space aliens that escape from an intergalactic prison, land on Earth,and proceed to eat their way through the planet’s populace. They’re essentially a sci-fi ripoff of GREMLINS in execution, although the design and special effects work by the Chiodo Brothers of KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE fame is a lot of fun. (The “Crites” themselves are kind of funny, but not featured enough to be as memorable as Gizmo and friends.) And with rows of spiky teeth and the ability to roll in to balls like a hedgehog and shoot quills like a porcupine, they can be effective little suckers—given the right movie. Here, in a third film where the stakes should be increasingly higher, they prove to only be a slight nuisance for a handful of people.

“Hi, I’m here for the blood orgy.”

But on to the important stuff! Dreamy-eyed Leo plays Josh, a teenage smartass with an overbearing stepfather whose completely random inclusion in the story is even questioned by the other characters. His big arc involves him yelling “I wish you were dead!” to his stepdad and then accidentally locking him in to a room filled with Critters. New Dad is immediately eviscerated and Leo must live with the guilt for the rest of the film… or at least until he meets a cute girl and forgets all about his troubles. Other characters include the grandmother from HAPPY GILMORE, a brother and sister who are on their own after their dad gets drugged by a Critter quill, and a hero lady whose job repairing telephones makes her above the law. (“I can do anything. I work for the phone company!”) Goofy alien bounty hunter Charlie from the first two films also shows up briefly to save the day and introduce a rapid fire montage of the previous CRITTER installments that will ironically make zero sense if you’ve never seen them.

The only thing Leonardo DiCaprio wants more than an Oscar… a Sega Game Gear.

I will say this: CRITTERS 3 doesn’t take itself too seriously, which at least keeps it from being a chore to watch. There are a bunch of head-scratching moments that exemplify this, such as:
– The Critters taking a break from their rampage to watch Julia Child make a chicken on TV
– Our hero using a garbage can to knock over the Critters as footage and sound effects from a real life bowling match is interspersed
– The Critters taking turns eating baked beans, deviled eggs and dishwashing detergent in order to have a farting contest

And even though all the Critter attacks are essentially people pretending to fight stuffed animals, the filmmakers embrace this, making for some truly ridiculous scenes.

Fun Fact: In addition to being vicious face eaters, Critters are also violently racist.

The best of Leonardo DiCaprio and more.

Critter bowling, Critter farting and Critter attacks!

Hope you like fur.

Do we have your curiosity AND your attention? Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • There’s a reference or flashback to a previous CRITTERS movie
  • Young Leonardo DiCaprio curses
  • Someone calls Leo “sport”
  • A Critter spins in to a ball

Double shot if:

  • A Critter farts

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.


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