CUTE LITTLE BUGGERS

PrintE-mail Written by Joel Harley

Well, the name ‘Critters’ was already taken. Hoping to stage a hostile takeover of planet Earth, a race of aliens start by weaponising one of our most abundant native animals – the bunny rabbits. Faced with a plague of bloodthirsty bunnies, the population of a small English village find themselves on the front line of this War of the Worlds.

With a setup like that, the comedy element of this genre mashup – Emmerdale meets Gremlins - always was going to be at the forefront. And while the vein of comedy that runs through Cute Little Buggers is as broad as adult comedy gets, the film is equally committed to its soap opera affectations. Close your eyes and you’d swear you were listening to an unusually potty-mouthed episode of The Archers. It’s all clichés and predictable plotting, but that’s preferable to yet another cabin in the woods movie.

That so much is achieved on such an obviously low budget is admirable. The cringingly bad performances and CGI give away the film’s lack of funds, at the same time as it never feeling anything less than a living, breathing village under siege from murderous bunnies. When it gives the more obvious CGI trickery a rest, even the effects are pretty good. Its rubber-masked riot gear-clad aliens are particularly fun (and voiced by two of the cast’s better actors) and a welcome respite from the usual ex machinas, which tend to incite similar creature features.

But what we’re all here for is the rampaging rabbits. The Syfy-level creature effects might lead one to expect a Sharknado level of competence (that’ll be none, then) but it’s surprisingly effective, like a British Piranha or wilfully cheesy Slither. It has more in common with Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste than, say, Black Sheep, shrugging off its limitations with a combination of earnestness, splatter and lewd humour. The action sequences are well staged and enjoyably creative, employing the best weapon against an alien threat since Mars Attacks.

That said, a number of the retrograde, sexist Nuts level gags are ill-at-ease with the film Cute Little Buggers is at heart. Some of this excess could certainly have been trimmed, especially where the gratuitous, sincerely unpleasant human impregnation subplot is concerned. It’s a shame because when the film works, it really does work, and with some of the best movie swearing of all time too.

At first glance, Cute Little Buggers is a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed little horror comedy, but those jet black eyes hide a shocking streak of unpleasantness, both welcome and not. How very wascally.

CUTE LITTLE BUGGERS / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: TONY JOPIA / SCREENPLAY: GARRY CHARLES, ANDY DAVIE / STARRING: CAROLINE MUNRO, HONEY HOLMES, DANI THOMPSON, STU JOPIA, / RELEASE DATE: TBC


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