16th Jan2019

Horror-On-Sea 2019: ‘Cute Little Buggers’ Review

by Philip Rogers

Stars: Kristofer Dayne, Steve Aaron-Sipple, Dan Abrams, Lydie Misiek, John R. Walker, Caroline Munro, Honey Holmes, Gary Martin, Dani Thompson | Written by Garry Charles, Andy Davie, Tony Jopia, Kristofer Dayne | Directed by Tony Jopia


If Monty Pythons and the Holy Grail (1975) and Watership Down (1978) taught me anything growing up, if it doesn’t look like it isn’t dressed up to attend the Playboy Mansion, rampant rabbits are dangerous. Tony Jopia takes that premise one step further with his B-Movie creature feature Cute Little Buggers.

When hostile aliens land on earth with the intension of taking over the planet to save their own race, they choose to mutate the local rabbit population. Blending the rabbits with alien DNA, they knowingly unleashed the cute but vicious blood thirsty creatures on the unsuspecting locals. As the butchered bodies starts piling and the rampant rabbits begin to rampage, the locals are forced to put their differences aside and work together to defeat this new alien threat.

You can see that the budget for Cute Little Buggers was limited, so there was no expectation that we will see the CGI from Jurassic park, but the CGI effects which they managed to deliver worked perfectly and set the tone for the film. The rabbits look good when they attack with the way their bodies open and there is plenty of dismemberment from the characters, which bring plenty of comedy. However, the most impressive effects occurred when you see the tentacles moving inside the stomach of the victim during breeding which looked natural. Either this was cleverly executed special effect or Dani Thompson had something rather disturbing for lunch.

Cute Little Buggers also delivers some good prosthetic effects for the two aliens Brian (Steve Aaron-Sipple) and Earnest (Dan Abrams), who’s interaction during the film were brilliantly entertaining. The uniforms reminded me of the Nazi monsters from An American Werewolf in London (1981), but their faces modified for an episode of Doctor Who. Their interactions whilst they are monitoring the action is brilliantly satirical, as they try and grasp human concepts and language.

It is the genuine laughs that make the film a pleasure to watch, with the exuberant performances from the slightly odd and eccentric characters. Forced to work together they deal with the rabbits in unexpected fashion. Using a range of weapons: which include guns (well it is the country), a crossbow, cricket bat and a water pistol filled with a liquid substance which works like holy water to vampires, this makes messy work with the rabbits and creates some hysterical moments. Refills are optional, but as you find out in the film, this should be approached with care.

There is a “Carry-On” feel to Cute Little Buggers, with some cheesy dialogue and a huge amount of sexual chemistry in the village. To use a popular term, it seems like that everyone is doing it. The film certainly seems to embrace the 80’s rules of horror, which embraces the formula of boobs and blood in abundance. In one particular scene in which a male is caught with his trousers down, a curious rabbit decides to try and burrow his way through… It is nice to know that no real rabbits we’re used, when you see it hanging half way out which leaves you caught between cringing and laughing.

There are some good performances from the lead cast, with Kristofer Dayne leading the fight against the rabbits as Melchior Haslam, who very quickly rekindles his relationship with his first love Rose Williams (Lydie Misiek).  John R. Walker seems the most level-headed PC James and Honey Holmes who proves herself more than capable when it comes to action as the kick ass Phillis Tiller.

My two favourite performances however come from the veterans with a brilliant cameo from Caroline Munro as Mystic Mary and a scene stealing performance from Gary Martin as the narcissist Randy Rocksoff. His persona as the washed-up singer is brilliantly funny and his performance of the catchy “Rock on with me” with dance routine could catch on as the next craze.

If there were any weakness to Cute Little Buggers it would be the pacing at the start, as the film takes a while to get going due to the character development and the ADR dubbing can be frustrating too. But these are minor irritations; and once the fun starts, it soon becomes progressively outrageous these issues really doesn’t matter.

Director Tony Jopia knows where the strengths lie in Cute Little Buggers and tries to make it as fun as possible. It embraces the humour of creature features, delivering the horror with lots of blood with tongue and cheek humour. When you are dealing with killer mutated rabbits, there is no pretence that this is going to be a serious horror, but if you enter it with the right frame of mind it is the perfect movie to sit back, switch off and just enjoy.

Cute Little Buggers screens at Horror-On-Sea 2019 on Saturday January 19th at 8pm.


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