Cute Little Buggers (2017)

DIRECTOR Tony Jopia
STARRING Caroline Munro, Dani Thompson, Honey Holmes
RELEASE DATE February 10, 2017 (UK)
RUNTIME 108 Minutes
COUNTRY United Kingdom

Villagers team up to battle aliens after young women go missing.

The locals of a small village in the English countryside fight to stay alive as they are overrun by an army of killer bunnies that have been genetically-altered by aliens on a mission to turn the Earth into their interspecies breeding grounds in Tony Jopia’s 2017 horror/sci-fi/comedy hybrid, Cute Little Buggers. Despite the ludicrous plot, the film isn’t as asinine and hokey as some potential viewers might fear. In fact, it’s much worse.

From the safety of Earth’s orbit, the two ineffectual occupants of an alien spacecraft discuss the planet’s inhabitant’s compatibility for use as subjects in an extraterrestrial breeding “program” that they will establish on the planet’s surface. The aliens launch a cluster of small pods, which descend to Earth for what will be the first wave of their invasion. The pods alter the genetics of the countryside’s rabbit population, turning them into monstrous killing machines.

A group of young adults drinking and partying in the woods outside the village witness the pods’ descent, but believe them to be nothing more than meteors streaking across the sky. With the promised “reward” of showing off her ginormous breasts, one curious young lady coerces a young man away from the camp to help her find where the “meteors” landed. Instead, they find a bunny. Not a real bunny, mind you, but a very cartoonish looking one created with the use of some very shoddy CGI.

The young woman does indeed show off her “assets”, but they are sadly just as fake as the CG bunnies. Maybe more so. It doesn’t really matter very much because she and her escort are quickly taken down by the lethal lapins. There is some early gore in these scenes, but just as with the film’s rabbits, it also is really quite flimsy looking. The CG, at times, rivals the worst of SyFy’s lower-tier weekend movies, and even with a scenario as silly as Cute Little Buggers’, it’s a detriment.

Soon after, we are introduced to a local farmer who is being hardballed by a thugish loan shark that he is heavily in debt to. While the “loan shark” character will prove to be superfluous (including a scene tacked on after the film’s closing credits) to the plot, the farmer’s “issues” are only added to by the return of his long-estranged son, Mel (Kristofer Dayne), mere moments later. Despite his reluctance to see his father, Mel has come to inform the man that his ex-wife has died.

Before he even leaves his father’s home, Mel is reacquainted with the childhood love that he was forced to leave behind many years prior when he left with his mother. Despite some initial guilt and resentment, their feelings for each other have not faded, even if she is now engaged to Mel’s former rival, an arrogant, self-absorbed “rich kid” named Caplan (Samar Sarila). You’ve seen this same scenario play out in countless other movies, and each time it seems just as inconceivable that these generally smart, strong-willed women would choose to be with someone so obviously wrong for them as it does here.

The re-budding romance may actually be a little over-developed as it somewhat hurts the film’s pacing and unabashedly comedic tone. Hell, there’s even an extremely lame, 80’s-esque cutaway to the setting sun after the two finally have sex. Luckily, our “love interest” is soon abducted as the next participant in the alien’s breeding experiments, turning the film’s focus back towards action and (intended) laughs instead of romance.

Most of the film’s female cast find themselves locked away in a barn as part of the alien’s breeding project. They also find themselves topless for most of their screen time as well. Alien “fetuses” are embedded into the abdomens of the chosen women, only to crawl it’s way out of their vaginas later in a life-ending shower of blood. Despite not being quite as graphic as it sounds, the few “birthing” scenes are possibly a little distasteful, but also doesn’t really add much to the plot.

The alien duo keep popping up to comment on the results of the plan as it unfurls, which adds some mildly comedic relief. The rabbits continue their onslaught, killing off a large number of “extras” so unessential to the plot that we have not even seen them until seconds before their CG-created deaths.

Despite receiving top-billing, Caroline Munro doesn’t show up until about halfway through the film. To make matters worse for her fans, her total screen time is maybe 3 or 4 minutes long. Making her appearance seem even more wasted, the scene exists only to introduce another character who is killed off so quickly that you’ll wonder why the director put so much focus on their arrival to begin with.

In addition to the conventional means usually used to kill “rodents” and or other small animals, it is soon discovered that the “space bunnies” can be killed with piss. This inevitably leads to the use of “pissjugs” and urine-filled Super Soakers during the villagers’ final stand against these wascally wabbits. It also leads to more than a few highly-telegraphed and painfully immature piss jokes.

The undeniably worst ingredient in this Hasenpfeffer of hare-brained ideas is the criminally bad CG. While the CG rabbits can be excused due to the difficulties of working with real rabbits (they have massive egos), what cannot is some of the piss poor gore and blood effects, most notably a facial wound late in the film that leaves a character with two computer generated holes on their face. I’ve seen better graphics on a Nintendo Virtual Boy.

Ultimately, Cute Little Buggers is nowhere near as charming (albeit, unintentionally) as 1972’s Night of the Lepus, a film that’s greatest asset is taking it’s ludicrous subject matter far too seriously. It also fails to match the level of carnage found in a film like 2006’s Black Sheep, and arguably the film’s humor as well. A couple of weak performances from key players doesn’t help much either. Frankly, there really is not much it does right.

While Cute Little Buggers isn’t completely unwatchable, there are innumerable killer animal movies that are a better way to spend your time. Quite a few feature killer rodents. Hell, one even features flesh-ripping weasels. Go watch that. Just don’t waste you time with this one.

Negative Fest