On an asteroid prison, a group of dangerous aliens known as Krites are set to be transported to another station. The Krites engineer an escape and hijack a ship, prompting the warden to hire two shape-changing bounty hunters to pursue them to Earth. Studying life on Earth via various satellite television transmissions, the first bounty hunter assumes the form of rock star Johnny Steele, while the second remains undecided, thus retaining his blank, featureless head.
On a rural Kansas farm, the Brown family sits down to breakfast. Father Jay and mother Helen send teenage daughter April and younger son Brad off to school while waiting on mechanic Charlie McFadden. A former baseball pitcher, Charlie has become the town drunk and crackpot, with claims of alien abductions foretold by messages through his fillings.
Playing with overly potent self-made fireworks and Charlie's slingshot, Brad takes the blame when Charlie accidentally shoots April and for Brad’s punishment he gets no dinner for the day. On the roof that evening, Brad mistakes the Critters' crashing spaceship for a meteorite; Jay and Brad investigate and interrupt the creatures consuming a cow. The creatures thereafter kill and feed on a local police officer, and later besiege the farm and cut its electrical connection. While checking the circuit breaker, Jay is attacked by one of the Critters and, being severely wounded, just barely manages to escape.
In the barn, April is about to have sex with her boyfriend Steve when he is killed by the one of the Critters; the creature itself is slain when it devours one of Brad's lit firecrackers. The remaining Critters sabotage the Browns' and Steve's cars, forcing the Browns to hole up inside the main house. Meanwhile, the two bounty hunters search the town for the Critters, causing a panic at the church and bowling alley, with the second hunter assuming the form of various townspeople, including Charlie. Brad escapes the farm to get help and runs into the bounty hunters, and upon learning of their true nature and intentions, he leads them to the Critters' location.
The last surviving Critters kidnap April and return to their ship when the bounty hunters arrive, and attempt to flee. Charlie and Brad manage to rescue April, but Brad drops a large firecracker he intended to use to destroy the ship when the Critters discover their escape. Just as the Critters take off and destroy the farmhouse out of spite, Charlie throws a Molotov cocktail made from his whiskey bottle into the ship, causing a fire which detonates the cracker and kills the Critters. The bounty hunters leave in their ship after giving Brad a handheld device to contact them in case of future invasion, and also restore the house. Unbeknownst to them, Critter eggs can be seen in the barn inside a chicken's nest that seem to be ready to hatch.
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