Kristine Peterson. Starring:
William Dennis Hunt,
Don Keith Opper,
José Luis Valansuela,
Frances Bay. Music by:
David C. Williams.
The strange and starving creatures come back to town. Their clan is multiplying rapidly as they search for another helping of unsuspecting humans. First, they destroy a farm, then they sink their jaws into a neighboring town. Now, the critters have moved into an enormous urban tenement, in search of the treat they like best...people.
The Crites are back for the third time, and this time they're terrorizing an apartment building in Topeka, Kansas (although it really does look like Los Angeles) instead of Grovers Bend. This might disappoint some fans, but it's not a horrible change. Really, what else could've been done in Grovers Bend? I feel the change of setting was a bit refreshing.
We're introduced to the main characters: Clifford, the widowed father; Annie, the daughter and main protagonist; and Johnny, the son (who adds nothing to the film overall). They're returning from a trip to the Grand Canyon when a flat tire forces them to pull over at a rest stop. There we meet the young Josh, his "evil" stepfather, and the likable Charlie, who fans will recognize right away as he's the only returning cast member from the first two movies, unfortunately. Charlie gives the lowdown on why he's screwing around in the woods to the heroes, treating us to a nice trailer-like flashback of the first two movies. As the heroes are called back to their vehicles, Charlie gives Johnny a crystal he apparently was given to by some friends (obviously referencing Ug & Lee, the two bounty hunters he used to travel with) that glows green whenever trouble is near, which is never truly explained. It sort of sucks because the crystal is a semi-interesting element that comes out of nowhere and then is just left alone. Anyway, as we leave the rest stop, it's shown that there are a few Crite eggs stuck underneath our heroes' RV.
Clifford and his kids make it home to their rundown apartment building, introducing us to some characters with wasted potential that spout one- liners like they were back in 4th grade â€“ Frank, the obnoxious maintenance man; Marsha, the friend of the heroes; Rosalie, the overweight woman that doesn't serve much of a purpose like Johnny; and the Menges, an elderly couple that takes care of Annie and Johnny while Clifford is away. The Crites hatch and break into the basement of the building. The film then gives us this uninteresting subplot with Frank being in cahoots with Josh's stepfather to get the tenants out of the building so it can be turned into a mini-mall. Soon after, Frank is killed by the Crites who've inexplicably grown to adult size in what seems like a couple hours (by eating nothing apparently). Oh yeah, and in between all the attacks, there's another subplot about Annie trying to get Clifford to stop being depressed and spend time with her and Johnny before going out of town on business again, but it's just meh so whatever.
Rosalie ventures down into the basement next and is promptly attacked by the Crites after they steal her donut. Sadly, she isn't killed; Annie comes to her rescue. That's one of the things I disliked about this movie â€“ it held back on the killing and was basically a "good vs. evil" kind of thing, because only Frank and Josh's stepfather are killed, them two being the only "evil" characters in the movie. Rosalie and Annie go to Clifford for help and soon are attacked by the Crites. They make it upstairs and encounter Marsha, who presumably goes down to investigate Annie's claims of aliens. Anywho, Josh and his stepfather (Mr. Briggs, I forgot his name until just now, haha) arrive and Briggs is soon killed. Josh is found by Marsha and the two high-tail it upstairs as the Crite pursue them.
The humans lock themselves in the Menges' room and try to get help. Unfortunately for them, and how clichÃ© for us, the phone lines and electricity were cut by Briggs before he got the axe, so they're trapped basically. Mr. Menges comes up with a plan to use the elevator shaft to get around "them things," so everybody starts climbing into the attic. The Crites soon arrive through the ventilation system under the sink (at least that's what it appears to be) and an overblown, boring kitchen scene commences with them eating just about everything available to them and then farting it out. Blah, no thanks. I know a lot find it to be a high point of the film, but I've personally seen it far too many times and I'm just about sick of it now, sorry.
Back to the film itself, the humans are now trapped in the attic. Marsha feels the logical way of getting around the Crites â€“ the elevator shaft â€“ isn't very great, so she volunteers herself to climb out the side of the building and walk along the phone lines to get to the pay phone and call for help. Yeah, I understand her intent, but the execution is just stupid. Unsurprisingly, she screws up and falls, only being saved as her foot is stuck in one of the broken lines (and seriously, she could have just unhooked her foot and gotten down, as it was maybe only a 10ft drop at most). This compels Annie to use the elevator shaft where it leads us to Charlie making his arrival to save her from the Crites. The two go back up to the attic, unknowingly followed by the Crites. The Crites attack and are quickly dispatched by Charlie and the Menges. Really, they weren't much to speak of when it came down to it. So everybody gets up to the roof, but one Crite remains and attacks Johnny, so Charlie seemingly sacrifices himself to save him, even though he lives in the end anyway. Oh yeah, I forgot there was a fire growing in the basement started by a dead Crite. Doesn't matter, though, since the humans are saved and everybody lives happily ever after.
The mid-credits scene leads into the boring but much darker fourth film, too, by the way. Overall, it's a fun and campy movie, but nothing to be taken seriously.
Review by Bag_of_Cancer from the Internet Movie Database.