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'Bats' I bought this film quite a few years ago now and obviously watched it at the time. After seeing on the shelf the other day (collecting dust; I really must invest in a magic duster!) I couldn't quite remember how the film went so I thought I would have another watch.
I can tell you now I sort of wish I hadn't, and that is really saying something as I am a big, big horror film fan and will generally watch anything going. The weirdest thing though is that I could swear I remembered enjoying the film when it first came out (maybe I'd had a few too many beers at the time!) so imagine my surprise when I struggled to get to the end!
The film, if you hadn't already guessed is about bats, but not ordinary bats, no, no, no, these are...........Killer bats.
A zoologist - Dina Meyer, is called to a small town called Gallup in Texas that has become victim to human attacks from bats., but as the film explains, bats are meant to be harmless (has this zoologist never seen an old vampire movie?!?).
The towns sheriff - Lou Diamond Phillips, teams up with our (sexy scantily clad) bat expert and they go about finding out that a couple of the bats are different, mhahaha, and have infected the local population of bats, causing them all to be killers, attacking any living sole.
The only thing that keeps the bats at bay is daylight which allows our heroes to try and come up with a plan to stop all the slaughtering (that's handy).
Now you may have read the small plot I wrote above (if I write more, I may as well tell you how it all pans out) and thought, well that doesn't sound too bad, but you would be mistaken.
If you were in trouble for any reason you would so want the sheriff from this film to be with you, seriously, he has the ability to use a hand gun, in the dark, and shoot tiny little bats from a distance, I mean come on, give him a cape and he could be the local superhero!
I used to really like Lou Diamond Phillips, especially after the whole young guns thing but the guy seems to have taken his career to the top of a large slide and been going Weeeeeeeeee ever since! (Until recently when I saw him in the tv series Numbers that is, I'll leave that for another day).
Dina Meyer, who plays the zoologist also is very frustrating, I hate it when you get a character that is so righteous about the subject matter (bats) but then half way through, becomes the complete opposite and wants to kill em all! So, so, annoying.
We also have our token comedy element bat expert sidekick, a quick talking, I'm scared of bats (why do the bloody job then) technology expert!
I know this sort of person always comes part and parcel with this sort of film but maybe, just maybe, one day a director might think "I know, lets not"
The special effects are something not to be desired. The dvd states that there are amazing digital effects within, but I can tell you now, someone's made a typo somewhere because seeing a plastic bat sitting on a wall, in my opinion is not amazing, and the crappy effects portraying a swarm of bats is something I could have done in the 80's on my ZX Spectrum!
All in all, as you've probably guessed, I was not impressed with this film, but now I'm going to try and be a little bit positive (maybe!)
There are a few scenes in this that can make you jump, and generally the acting from all is actually done to a reasonable standard. You can also get the dvd for about £1.99 in most places, so if you fancy a watch it won't break the bank (there you go, positive)
The running time of this is 87 mins, but with multiple tea breaks you may only have to suffer an hour or so.
The dvd does come with special features.
"Bats Abound" featurette, directors commentary, filmographies, music score, phot galleries, SFX and story board comparison.
These aren't really the sort of features that will make you jump up and down screaming yes, yes, yes, more like no, no, no. But at least they have done something to try and add to the value of the dvd I suppose.
If you can get this for near to nothing somewhere, and your bored senseless, and maybe a little drunk, I could force myself to say, give it a go!
Year of release 1999.
This review also appears on CIAO under my user name.
Well, I suppose it has been a long time in coming hasn’t it? Bats have long been associated with horror movies and indeed all things supernatural and macabre but they have yet to have been given a movie all to themselves. We have seen spiders, snakes, rats and just about everything else which humans have an irrational fear of being given the horror movie treatment for our insatiable desire to get the guano scared out of us, so it was high time that bats got their own movie too. Of course, they have long been associated with vampires etc. but never, to my knowledge, has their been a movie in which they get the starring role...damn, even bees beat them too it! Its a shame then that their first movie has to be so damn awful. I won’t hold back here, Bats is basically crap, nothing more and nothing less. Its the kind of movie you can only really appreciate if you are drunk, stoned or are recovering from frontal lobe surgery and it seems that our screenwriters were doing just that. Someone in the production team surely ought to have noticed along the line that Bats was moving in the wrong direction and called a halt to decide exactly what it was trying to be. Surely when you are creating a horror movie, the last thing you want is for the horror factor to be so intensely horrific that it receives a ummm...12 rating!? Its absurd, but not as absurd as creating a movie which is as campy as they come in concept and then takes itself ridiculously seriously. You’ll laugh at this movie, you’ll laugh a lot, but it was never meant to be funny it just becomes so because it is so ludicrous. Its almost insulting to think that someone, somewhere thinks that a cinema audience is quite this damn stupid! The plot around which everything revolves is that a evil scientist has created a virus which when injected into bats will make them super-intelligent. As well as this, the bite of a bat can transfer this super-intelligence to another bat so when
a couple escape into the wild all those involved are a little bit worried about its spread. Their fears become well founded when the bats begin to prey upon human beings, attacking an amorous couple first and spreading their brainiac abilities amongst the local bat population. You have to question why a bunch of intelligent bats would want to attack those who are most likely to irradicate them for doing so, or how they know that biting other bats will transfer this ability, but they’re just a few of the millions of unanswered questions here, which still remain unanswered when a bat expert is called in to help deal with the problem. Our bat expert is to be commended for not demonising the bats, not turning them into a ludicrous campy monster in other words, but that’s about as much praise as you can level at this film or her involvement. Anyway, she is called in along with her wisecracking sidekick and together with Lou Diamond Phillip’s Sheriff they set about trying to eliminate the problem. The general idea behind Bats gives it all the hallmarks of one of those campy horror movies which manages to be entertaining because it realises its own shortcomings and plays off them for maximum effect. It ought to have been a movie packed with tongue in cheek self-parody and campy humour a la Tremors but instead its played with a stony face and it simply doesn’t work at all. As it happens Bats IS a very funny movie, but its a movie which you sit there laughing AT instead of laughing along WITH. Its funny because those involved in the production seem completely oblivious to the fact that what they have created here is the most ludicrous bunch of claptrap to grace the screens since Anaconda...in fact, it may even surpass that in some respects which is damn impressive for all the wrong reasons. Bats tries very hard to insult its audience’s intelligence at every possible opportunity and does so with alarming regularity. Its difficult to know
where to begin with criticism because firstly its too easy and secondly I think I could probably go on all night! The main problem stems from the fact that you assemble a bunch of all knowing experts on the subjects of bats...and then give them all the intelligence of a pickled walnut and expect us to think that’s ok. It doesn’t take a genius to think...bats live in a cave, they always return to the same cave so ummm follow them and nuke the place! But not our experts who come up with such ingenious resolutions to the problem as shooting them with guns...big cloud of murderous bats coming at you so obviously you’ll stand there and pop off a couple of thousand rounds at them like ducks in a shooting gallery. Of Course! And our super-intelligent bats will just flap around at let you do it! Duh...stupid of me. Our heroine is meant to be a super-brain doctor-of-all-things-batty and yet her behaviour is the perfect example of the term dumb blonde. She does the most ludicrous things you can imagine, says the most ridiculous lines and generally behaves more like the village idiot that the supposed genius she is meant to be. We sit there waiting for the next cliché to arrive and arrive it does when eventually the military turn up all tough talking and characatured. Of course, we all knew the military would be called in and of course we knew they would only be called in to make a balls up of the situation so that our heroes could go in and finish the job - we are meant to believe that the military is that damn stupid as well. Admittedly I would agree that sometimes in the past the term ‘military intelligence’ has sounded somewhat like a contradiction in terms, but please...no one is this stupid. It takes almost the entire movie before someone comes up with the brainwave of using a flame-thrower to despatch of the bats(instead of the spud-guns they had been using) which would surely have been pretty obvious to anyone else as soon as th
e problem became apparent. Personally, I would have thought a well directed rocket into the cave would have been a quick and painless solution, but of course then the movie would have lasted approximately 20 minutes and not given us a great moment in the last couple of scenes which defines the entire movie - our heroes end up wading around chest deep in guano...a moment of great self-parody if ever I saw it! They’ve been wading around in bat sh*t for well over an hour before then... It is a testament to the quality of a movie when the best actors they can come up with for the parts are the likes of Lou Diamond Phillips who most of us had probably even forgotten existed until we saw him here and Dina Meyer who is most well know for her role in...ermm...well she was in Starship Troopers, but its hardly a movie you would hold up as being a prime example of supreme thespianism! Other than those too dimly flickering stars you’ll be hard pressed to see anyone you’ve heard of, although the intriguingly named ‘Leon’ who plays Meyer’s smart-mouthed(and so damn unfunny) assistant is a name to look out for in the future...to avoid like the plague! None of these put in performances which rise above the distinctly average although you can’t really blame them when they are given such dreadful material to work with. If you look close enough you can see ‘template’ stamped on Lou Diamond Phillip’s Sheriff character and Meyer has an almost impossible task in playing an airheaded genius. How do you play a zoologist with an IQ of 180 who looks and sounds likes a model with an IQ of 75 every time she opens her mouth to deliver another lame-brained line? Must be the toughest movie role anyone has ever been asked to play! Of course all of them are fighting against badly generated CGI bats which would look more at home in a cartoon than a serious movie so its difficult to take any performance that seriously. At t
he end of the day you can forget all this and just think of one thing. Do you really want to watch a ‘horror movie’ which just about manages to scrape a rating of 12 from the board of censors? It manages to do this by using quick-cut mayhem in the action scenes which leaves you dizzy and confused to the point where it takes a few seconds afterwards to work out who, if anyone bought the farm during them! You have to question whether you want to watch a movie with one of the lamest scripts of the year which only managed to attract actors of the calibre mentioned above which is even a criticism you can’t even level against a super-dud like last year’s monster movie outing Lake Placid. Bats could and should have been quite entertaining if it someone had taken a hold of matters and pointed out that it really didn’t have any hope of being a serious movie when working off such a campy premise.
Some normal bats are injected with a contagous disease that make them carniverous, clever and also to allow them to be controlled. The stupid scienctist who created the disease lets the bats go and they create caos in a small town, first they kill animals then humans, a local bat expert is called in adn with she joins forces with the scienctist who made the disease, her assistant and a sheriff to destroy the bats. However all does not go to plan when the scientist tries to stop them. One things for sure, to watch this you don't need a brain, it has no plot, no scares, so comedy, no action, no nothing. It is rubbsih to ever last detail. The bats themselves are laughable, it is utterly predictable, the script could have been better if a 2 year old had wrote it. You feel yourself rooting for the bats in this film because the characters are sooo annoying. If you want to see a no brainer of a film, this is for you, otherwise steer clear.
Could this possibly be one of the worst films ever made??? I think it is. This film has a bad reputation so when I saw it I wasn't expecting much, but in my mind I was prepared that it may be quite good because you can never really judge a film until you've seen it. But even with low expectations this film still sucked. As an experiment a type of fruit bat is contaminated with a disease, so it becomes carnivourous, smarter and it can be controlled. The person who created them sets them free. Soon they are murdering their way through a small town. A bat expert is called it to help. Along with a local sheriff. They meet this scientist and he tells them of his experiment. They realise that they must kill all the bats quickly before they can spread the disease further around the country. First they try to evacuate the town, but being a very predicatble movie everyone refuses and they get attacked in a night massacre. Finally they listen and decide to leave apart from the bat expert, and her friend, the seriff and the scientist. They have 2 days to stop the bats before the military bomb the place. The scienctist tries to stop them and dies and then the military move in and die, now the 3 have only a few hours to stop them, will they do it in time? Calling this a B-Movie is giving this film too much credit, this is a bats movie, the lowest of the low, the bats themselves are rubbishy puppets that make mikey mouse look terrifying. The film is so predictable it's not funny. The characters are very one dimensional, they try to give the sheriff some depth by making him like classical music but it doesn't work. The acting is terrible which doesn't help with the film because it gives you the impression that even the actors don't want to be there. This film fails to scare, because you know what's going to happen before it does, thus this film is lacking in the surprise element. This film tries to add some humour, w
hich like everything else in this film fails. The plot has been done before with many other animal attack films. This film makes you go to sleep, if it doesn't you must be an insomniac and overall it is so terrible it makes Ed Wood look like a genius. Don't watch it unless you want to sleep.
Made in 1999, I have heard a few rubbish reports about this film, but decided to personally check it out ? and boy were those reports spot on! I've seen some bad films, and this was pretty bad. Every minute detail about the film was poor. Plus it was a comedy trying to show how bad the genre is, but not working as a comedy or an action film. Bats is just all-out bad. The film is about some mutated bats that are spreading across the south-west, killing people and cars in their way. The government sends for a bat expert played by Dina Meyer who now they think might help to find the root of the problems and stop it from spreading across the North American continent. The bats are mainly attacking one small town in Texas, where the local copper (Lou Diamond Phillips) takes it upon himself to help her try to stop the animals from killing everyone. The plot really is as awful as it sounds! From start to finish, this film stank! Holes in the plot you could drive a bus through, acting of the poorest order, a script that could have been written by junior school children and a general level of entertainment on par with some form of torture! Anyone that says this film is remotely interesting, it either stupid or lying, it really is that bad! If you value your sanity - stay well clear!
Bats is a fun, chuck-away, modern day B-Movie, with little plot to get in the way and some truely comical special effects. A town is terrorised by genetically mutated killer bats, created by a stereotypical nutty professor, and only the overly beautiful heroine (Dina Meyer), and her quick thinking cohorts are on hand to save the day. Plot aside, Bats is a fun little, low budget Hollywood romp, and there is enough going on to sustain interest. The bats are somewhat comical looking, and their is little to frighten here, but the film holds its own with nice little touches threading it all together. The DVD features a good range of features including theatrical trailers, galleries and similar and is well worth a look, and the low production values don't tend to spoil this film at all.
After a pair of ventilated teens are found in an automobile, bat experts Dr. Sheila Casper and ‘Jimmy’ (Dina Meyer and Leon) are flown in by the CDC to investigate. A cursory glance at the bloody cadavers is enough to convince the good doctor that a large bat was the culprit. However, she’s confused since the species she identifies is actually herbivores. Apparently, Dr. McCabe (Bob Gunton), a government employed scientist on hand for the autopsy, bred these bats from harmless creatures to be very intelligent, pack hunting omnivores, and a pair recently escaped from his mad scientists’ lab. A phone call brings Sheriff Emmett Kimsey (Lou Diamond Phillips) and the gang out to a range where another body is discovered. Its condition indicates that several bats were responsible. An advisory is put out, warning folks to remain indoors after sundown. But what are people to do in a small Texas town? They have to take their wash off the line, catch a smoke, and go to the movies. So, when the bats swarm into town, there’s plenty of fresh meat on the street. When the Army hears the town’s been torn to pieces by the winged mammals, they decide to bomb their lair before they can spread and wipe out the country’s entire population. Dr. Casper argues that bombing the bats’ cave will only scatter them and cause more rapid migration. The colonel in command gives our heroes 48 hours to dispose of the bats their own way -- by freezing them while they’re asleep. That evening, troops lower a freezing unit into the lair themselves, but before they can fire it up, the bats attack and wipe out every last GI Joe and Jane (they’re mighty efficient little buggers). The fate of the entire US population now rests in the hands of Dr. Casper and Sheriff Kimsey. The pair must don bat resistant, steel re-enforced kevlar suits and gas masks, enter the bat cave, trudge through a slushy river of bat guano, switch on th
e freezer and make a million bat-sickles -- all before the bombs are dropped. IMAGE This superb anamorphic transfer goes to show you that, regardless of a film’s quality, or lack there of, Columbia does their very best to produce a sharp, detailed image. The fact that you can’t make out what’s happening onscreen during some scenes has nothing to do with the folks at the bench -- it’s what the director wanted, lest we have a better look at those rubbery bats dancing on actors. There are a number of bright, naturally lit exteriors in BATS and the countryside looks very good. Long lines to and along the horizon are sharp and clean, exhibiting no sign of ‘ringing’ or thin red halos. Vegetation stands out cleanly against rock and sand, and rough crags and hills stand out well against the big sky -- again, with no sign of ringing. Pulling in nearer, medium and close up shots of the cast reveal patterns and folds in clothing and a lot of dust and dirt. Colors during these bright exteriors are very well rendered and natural looking. Vivid greens and blues of the sky and vegetation are distinct and multi-shaded. There are many shades of yellow, brown an orange as well. These earthy colors look excellent and we noted no ‘bleeding’ between fields -- not in foreground or background. For lower key lit interiors -- at a high school, in caves and on the evening street of the small Texas town, colors also look very good, solid and saturated. We noted no ‘grain’ or image breakup of any kind during the presentation. Blacks are deep and solid, and shadow delineation is very good. Flesh tones look natural in all lighting keys. Contrast and brightness levels are usually very good and consistent throughout the feature -- save for two of the cave scenes which look a bit grayish and lack the same high level of detail and clarity seen in the rest of the presentation. The picture is free of
distracting nicks, scars and scratches. There’s almost no faulting this transfer. Columbia Tristar has done a terrific job. SOUND Good sound! Bad movie. This is a very good Dolby Digital, 5.1 soundtrack. The forward stage is deep and wide and very ‘lively.’ The bat attack sequences unleash flapping, fluttering, squealing, and munching sounds to all three front speakers like a hail of buck shot -- hoping from left to right, to center, and so on in rapid succession adding to the frenzied quality of the images bouncing around on screen. There’s some terrific imaging in the ‘phantom zones’ between the center channel and the front left and right mains as well. To make the effect complete, these sounds are also present in the split surrounds. Images and audio combine to give you some idea of what it must be like inside a blender. With respect to audio, these sequences are without question the most ‘dense.’ The attack on the town being the most sustained bit of noise to be heard. Sounds jump up and down the dynamic range -- with very high highs from the squealing critters, and a handful of lows as the traffic comes out of nowhere and converges in a racket of collisions all over the street and sidewalk. Who’d think there’d be so many cars on the road at night in this small, one street town? The sounds of the speeding, crashing vehicles are quite convincing thanks to smooth and accurate panning and effects placement. The .1 FX channel isn’t very busy during these scenes -- the forward left and right mains handle most of the bass. The surround channels handle a myriad of more subtle ambient effects as well and help to establish setting in town and out in the country. The film’s score is well recorded and often rises up aggressively from all positions. Dialogue is well recorded and nicely integrated in the forward stage. Voices sound full and natural -- never distorted or
compressed. In fact, we noted no distortion at any point during the presentation. This is an active, engaging Dolby Digital, 5.1 track. FEATURES Scene access menu with links to chapters in the film Audio commentary by director Louis Morneau and Lou Diamond Phillips Making of featurette, “Bats Abound” Special FX and storyboard to film comparisons Photo gallery Theatrical trailer Trailers for FRIGHT NIGHT, JOHN CARPENTER’S VAMPIRES, and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD English subtitles English closed captions
Surprisingly, I am giving this B-horror movie-esque film a decent star rating. Currently in cinemas, it's a movie about a bunch of killer bats infected with some virus designed to make them super intelligent and murderous. Silly it is, and the plot may be reminiscent of 'Deep Blue Sea', but at least the sharks looked real in that, whereas here the bats look like plastic gargoyles. There is the evil scientist, the compulsory good looking scientist female heroine and a sheriff (that's the bit that's like 'Lake Placid'). Overall, it isn't scarey and it isn't original, but it is rare to see films like this actually make it to the cinema and it is worth watching with a bunch of friends simply for the cheese value.