People think the third one was awful, but this one is pretty much on the same level neither are very good, but both are enjoyable enough. What really hurt this one, though, was its huge scope and seemingly endless potential being completely wasted. The Critters franchise finally returned to space where it truly began, and nothing is expanded on or furthered in terms of development. You would think going back to space, maybe we'd get to see more of the galactic council and how it works, and more of the galaxy overall, but nope. We get nothing. The action is confined to a space station which, don't get me wrong, is a great environment, but it could've been more varied.
The characters are all fairly archetypal: Rick, the asshole; Bernie, the lazy pill popper; Albert, the stern father figure; Fran, the independent female; Ethan, the rebellious teenager. The cast does a good job with the material, especially Brad Dourif and Angela Bassett, but there isn't a whole lot to work with in the first place. None of the characters get enough time to develop except for maybe Charlie. Rick and Bernie are the only victims from the main cast that are killed by the Krites, which is a bit of a letdown and outright predictable. Speaking of characters, let's talk about one of the worst decisions in cinema history.
Ug. Not only did Ug turn into a bad guy seemingly out of the blue, but he was killed on top of it. After being a hero in the first two and still considered a friend to Charlie in the third movie, here he is an outright villain, commanding a pair of Stormtroopers, shouting orders angrily, hitting a woman, killing Albert without hesitation or remorse, and threatening to kill everyone including Charlie just to get the last few Krite eggs. Compare that to the Ug in the first two, who never raised his voice apart from grieving over Lee, risked his life on numerous occasions to save Brad and the others, and opened a line for the humans to contact him in case of more Krite incidents. The difference in personality is completely shocking, and the worst part is that there's no explanation for it other than "people change." The writers seriously couldn't have given some development to Ug and Charlie over this? This is such a huge moment and it's given no justice, especially when Charlie is finally forced to shoot Ug right in the head to save Ethan (albeit that's a great character moment for Charlie). I read on a Critters fan site that according to Don Opper, the plan was always to turn Ug into a bad guy, but I can't find the source anymore and that just sounds bizarre all around. Losing Lee could've taken away Ug's moral compass, maybe, but to leave that completely to the fans' imagination was a little shitty.
As for the Krites themselves, they were probably the biggest letdown. There was only two of them. TWO. They probably had about 5 minutes of screen time in the whole movie, and that's sad when they're the titular characters. The box art and trailers advertised a new breed of Krite, and there very well could have been with one of the advanced machines on the spaceship, but nothing was done with that. We got the normal Krites, so there was quite a bit of false advertising going on there with whoever was in charge of promoting this.
One blatant inconsistency is how long it takes the Krite eggs to hatch. In the third movie, they hatch pretty much within a couple hours, if that. However, in this one, Charlie says they take six months to incubate. Clearly something got mixed up between the scripts. To add to the handy list of cons for this movie, the spaceship the characters dock at is abandoned when they get there, despite being in full operation when they're told that's where they need to go to drop off the eggs. This is also never explained, and it's very irritating because it could've been an interesting subplot.
The atmosphere of the spaceship itself was very eerie and claustrophobic, which aided heavily in keeping the movie from veering off into total dullard territory. The movie itself was dark and not at all like the far more humorous third outing, and I appreciated getting back to a more horror base instead of comedy. But despite the tone being right, there wasn't much else that was. Charlie was the best part of the movie, maturing and making the difficult decisions, and it was nice to see Ug again (until it becomes clear he's not a good guy anymore).
Overall, this is a big step down from Critters, but oddly enough, I can enjoy this more than Critters 2 depending on the day; same with Critters 3. I wouldn't go in expecting anything fantastic, and don't believe what you read on the back of the VHSDVD case, but it's definitely not an abysmal movie. You'll probably come out of it with a lot more questions than you went in with, though.
Review by Bag_of_Cancer from the Internet Movie Database.