Critters 2 comes with a hardly serious approach. Not that this need be a liability, however Mick Garris sketches everything in broad strokes that overbalance into clumsy farce images like the sheriff hopping about in a an Easter Bunny costume; or the critters themselves, which come accompanied by hip subtitles like Bitchin and stupid cartoon sound effects as they bang into walls. Garris pitches the humour down to the lowest common denominator and hopes that he can get by by including in-jokes that show he too is part of the same fan crowd that read Famous Monsters of Filmland (1958-82) there is an alien modelled after the Zanti in The Outer Limits (1963-5), as well as lame throwaway references to Ghostbusters (1984) and The Brain from Planet Arous (1957). In one of its more amusing gags, the film shows one of the shapechanging bounty hunters in danger of turning into the Freddy Krueger it sees on a poster although the gag seems less funny when one realizes that both the Critters and Elm Street franchises are owned by the same company, New Line Cinema.
The Critters series is imitative of Gremlins in its setting of a picture postcard small town where the creatures have been inserted to anarchically disrupt its placidity. (The Hungry Heifer sequence here is very reminiscent of the scene where the Gremlins take over a bar in Gremlins). Unlike Gremlins, the small town here is presented without any hint of self-parody its cloying simple-minded tones, the cuteness of the romance and woolly-headed sentiment are exactly what they appear to be and the result often verges on the sickeningly twee. Worse, the film never cares about whether its emotions are honest. At the climax, Don Oppers bounty hunter sacrifices himself the only moment that provokes the slightest emotional response in the film but Mick Garris then indifferently throws this away with a casual contrivance that allows Opper to survive.
Critters 2 was followed by two further sequels: Critters 3 (1991) and Critters 4 (1992).
Mick Garriss other genre works include: the cable tv movie Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990); the tv movie anthology Quicksilver Highway (1997), which adapted stories by Stephen King and Clive Barker; the virtual reality tv movie Virtual Obsession (1998); versions of Stephen Kings Sleepwalkers (1992), The Stand (1994), The Shining (1997), Riding the Bullet (2004), Desperation (2006) and Bag of Bones (2011). Garris also came up with the stories for Batteries Not Included (1987), The Fly II (1989) and Hocus Pocus (1993), and has produced the anthology series Masters of Horror (2005-7), Masters of Science-Fiction (2007) and Fear Itself (2008-9).