Film information
Directed by Stephen Herek
Produced by Rupert Harvey
Barry Opper
Robert Shaye
Sara Risher
Written by Domonic Muir
Stephen Herek
Don Keith Opper
Starring Dee Wallace
M. Emmet Walsh
Scott Grimes
Billy Green Bush
Music David Newman
Cinematography Tim Suhrstedt
Editing Larry Bock
Distributor New Line Cinema
Release information
Release date(s) April 11, 1986 (USA)
Running time 82 minutes
Budget $2.000.000
Worldwide Gross $13.167.232 (USA)
MPAA Rating PG-13
Preceded by
Followed by Critters 2: The Main Course

Critters is a 1986 American horror comedy film and the first installment of the Critters franchise. It was directed by Stephen Herek, produced by Rupert Harvey, Barry Opper, Robert Shaye and Sara Risher. The film is about a family menaced by eight porcupine sized creatures who arrive at their farm in search of food.


The film begins on a prison asteroid in outer space. A group of unseen creatures known as Krites set to be transported to another station. When the seemingly intelligent creatures cause an explosion that kills two guards and injures three, hijack a ship away from the station, and escape, the leader of the station hires two transforming bounty hunters to hunt the Krites down.

Meanwhile, on Earth, we are introduced to the Brown family, living in a rural Kansas town: the father, Jay; the mother, Helen; the teenage daughter, April; and the trouble-making son, Brad. Brad often hangs out with dopey mechanic, Charlie McFadden. When he and Brad are outside, Charlie accidentally hits Brad's sister with a slingshot pellet, and Brad, not wanting his friend to get into trouble, passes the blame on himself. He is grounded, but sneaks out onto the roof. While on the roof Brad sees what appears to be a comet streaking the sky, falling somewhere in the distance.

The comet, which in actuality is the Krites's ship, lands, causing the ground to shake and alarming Jay and his wife. Walking outside to investigate, Jay discovers Brad in a tree, who says he was thrown clear out of his window by the earthquake. Jay, obviously not believing this, takes his son along with him to find the comet. At the landing site, the Krites survey the damage, and set out for food.

Devouring the majority of a steer, the Krites are interrupted upon Jay and Brad's discovery of the cattle's carcass. Then the Crites attack and eat a police officer. Shortly afterward, the Critters make their way toward the farm and manage to cut the power. Jay, Helen and Brad go to the circuit breaker where Jay is attacked by one of the Critters. Then out in the barn, April is making out and trying to engage in sexual intercourse with her boyfriend Steve when one of the Critters attacks them and kills Steve. Brad saves her by feeding a lit stick of dynamite to the Critter, killing it. The family manages to evade the Critters and get into the house. Meanwhile the two bounty hunters, having already landed on Earth, travel from pillar to post in the town looking for the Critters. When Brad goes for help, he manages to bring the bounty hunters to his home. The Critters return to their ship when the bounty hunters arrive, with their large leader having kidnapped April, Charlie then lights a homemade bomb with a molotov cocktail created from the whiskey he is always carrying and saves her.

The Critters lift off, and blast the Brown's house into pieces. Their ship explodes, supposedly killing all the Critters. The bounty hunters leave in their ship after giving Brad a strange, remote-like device. The Brown's house is repaired in less than a minute, with a push of a button on the remote control. At the very end, the camera zooms into the barn, where Critter eggs can be seen.


  • Dee Wallace Stone as Helen Brown
  • Scott Grimes as Brad Brown
  • M. Emmet Walsh as Harv
  • Billy Green Bush as Jay Brown
  • Nadine Van der Velde as April Brown
  • Don Keith Opper as Charlie McFadden
  • Billy Zane as Steve Elliot
  • Ethan Phillips as Jeff Barnes
  • Terrence Mann as Johnny Steele / Ug
  • Jeremy Lawrence as Reverend Miller
  • Lin Shaye as Sally
  • Michael Lee Gogin as Warden Zanti
  • Art Frankel as Ed


According to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 57% of reviewers gave Critters a positive review.

Similarities with GremlinsEdit

Critters widely believed to have been inspired by the success of the 1984 film Gremlins, Herek has refuted this in interviews, pointing out that the script was written by Domonic Muir long before Gremlins went into production and subsequently underwent rewrites to reduce the apparent similarities between Critters and Gremlins.



Critters 1986 TV trailer

Critters 1986 TV trailer

Critters (1986) trailer

Critters (1986) trailer

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