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Bats, the result of a government experiment gone wrong, have suddenly become intelligent, vicious, and omnivorous, and are attacking people near Gallup, Texas. Bat specialist Sheila Casper and her assistant Jimmy are brought in but can they stop the bats before the military comes in and, in their ignorance, makes things worse? Written by
Jon Reeves <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Prior to Bats, I'd never seen a horror film centered around the winged rodents before, so it's easy to be curious and skeptical about this film. But just as the previews proved, this is a pretty bad movie, not quite as terrible as I'd expected, but still quite the lackluster picture. The story is typical for any killer animal movie, meaning we get a few specialists (led by Dina Meyer) and the town sheriff (Lou Diamond Phillips) out to stop the mutated bats before they spread their chaos over the entire continent.
Easily Bats' weakest aspect is the dialogue and Leon's performance. Hell, the two even go hand-in-hand as it's Leon delivering most of the pathetic one-liners. Every time the guy opens his mouth, it's all it takes to keep from covering my ears, that's how embarrassing his stereotypical black man role is. Bob Gunton is almost as annoying as the mad scientist who caused the whole mess, playing the same role he always does in the same manner. Phillips is usually a fine actor, but he should stray from attempting a southern drawl. Dina Meyer is both talented and pretty, and fares the best here as the chiroptologist and heroine.
Director Louis Morneau has all of one good film under his belt (the underrated sci-fi/action thriller Retroactive), and a whole lotta crap beside it. Bats is an improvement over, say, Carnosaur 2, but it simply doesn't gel as the fun thriller it aspires to be. Aside from the small town massacre (an admittedly fun setpiece, the only thing keeping this above * star), the rest of the film lacks thrills, suspense, and a good sense of humor. While the movie does have a very slick, polished look, most of the visual effects are cheesy and the individual bat attacks are made into big blurs with Morneau's quick-cut editing and shaky camerawork. Hard to believe this is the same man who gave us all that thrilling action in Retroactive.
Bats concludes with the expected prolonged segment of our heroes entering the creatures' lair. But Aliens, this is not. The climax is just one long drag that ends in a predictable fashion. But the final scene, which breaks a standard horror movie cliche, delivers a good belly laugh that made me wonder why the whole film wasn't packed with this kind of humor.
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