Bats (1999)

   

Directed by: Louis Morneau

Executive Produced & Written by:
John Logan

Starring:

Lou Diamond Phillips .... Sherriff Emmett Kimsey
Dina Meyer .... Dr. Sheila Caper
Bob Gunton .... Dr. Alexander McCabe
Leon .... Jimmy Sands
Carlos Jacott .... Dr. Tobe Hedge
David McConnell .... Deputy Wesley Munn
Marcia Dangerfield .... Mayor Amanda Branson

Release Dates: Quick Theatrical: October 22, 1999; Fantaporto Film Festival: February 25, 2000; Dead by Dawn Edinburgh Horror Film Festival: April 2, 2000

 

 

 

Rating:

 

A young couple are attacked and killed by bats one night near a railroad area and suddenly more and more people are being devoured by them which sets around a dry hot area in Arizona.
A group of scientist discover that these bats are infected with a sort of a disease to make them vicious killers and tries to stop the contamination before it spreads.
However, some of them are attacked and killed. They also realise that the bats are bigger than normal sized bats and they are invading each of the small towns there.
The team discovers that these bats were in a mad scientists lab as he plans to destroy humankind all around the world.

 

We have a cheesy beginning on a teenage couple making out and talking to one another which there's sloppy writing on all of this as well as their interactions too. It tries hard to have this traditional feel before a terror starts in which they are underneath a railroad track with a train suddenly zooming by when some bats attack in which the noise was supposed to make you jump but this situation seems to fail.
There's another situation with the main character Dr. Sheila Caper going into a bat cave to do some researching on some bats in which this looks still and peaceful as well as making you wonder if these things will attack or not.
We spot nice serious discussions on Sheila as well as the local county Sheriff Emmet Kimsey discovering some dead corpses which adds a nice touch to the story here as well as a discussion on bats killing this person in which this looked impressive with Sheila not believing that this is a situation at all. Certainly it was nicely put in adding a mysterious moment to the story. Also there's more mysterious moments when they all discuss in a room together with other people too on this problem along with a fellow named Dr. Tobe Ledge discussing his creation on these bats which adds more of a twist here making this guy a little creepy and mysterious. The makers tried hard to use this person as a horror figure since we've seen it in those old fashioned type of horror flicks like I mentioned here adding a n bit of good creepiness to it but while we keep watching this you can tell it's been overly done and hard to be taken seriously in the long run of this plot.
There is a nice uplifting discussion between Sheila and Emmet sitting outside about the bat situation as well as them acting pleasant towards one another with great camera shots on each of them as the writing looked nice and strong here.
There's neat cheesy effects in almost a 3D type of fashion when we spot the bats attacking and swarming a police vehicle but we spot close up shots on the bats attacking the window in which they try to look monstrous and terrifying but it looks obvious that they are fake and plastic looking. Also you can't help but laugh when you spot all of this happening too especially with the characters Sheila and Emmet trying to prevent them from coming into the vehicle.
Many nice and still camera shots on the locals near a pub having a quiet night as well as a woman putting away her laundry on hangers outside which leaves an impression that these bats will terrorise this town. There is one scene when a bat is about to creep up on someone at a bar looking vicious which looked laughable and very phony looking.
There's alot of good suspense though when we spot the bats invading the small towan and everyone's reactions to all of this. There's even a real humoress moment with a dipstick deputy pointing his gun at some of the bats really to attack him and giving them warnings which goes to show that some character's in this film are downright stupid since these types of animals have a low IQ but yet you do see them stopping a bit. There's some odd chuckles here indeed.
Later on in the story things really stir up when we have the supporting character Dr. Alexander McCabe acting cold and evil discussing on how he controls these bats like a madman but yet the writing for this looks totally unoriginal big time.
However there's a good moment with him going outside to try and speak to these bats as it looks hilarious with these creatures on tree's and other areas watching him since the effects on them look pretty lame and funny to watch as well. Yet this moment seems pretty traditional in a horror flick like this one spotting someone that's insane thinking he is the power to the madness of things like this. Also you wonder if he will succeed or be attacked by the bats.
Nice dark moments with both Sheila and Emmet going to a mining area to try and snuff out the bats with alot of good suspenseful situations and camera shots while doing this especially with them struggling against the terrors here. Plus great moments on them trying to run away from the bats while an explosion is going to occur making you wonder or not if they will flee from the mine in time. The CGI effects on the explosions look a bit phony though but aghain so does most of the effects used in this flick.
Bottom line is it was a fun flick to watch but the story didn't do much as it was mainly about bats attacking people in one town after another. It does explain why they were programmed to kill though but that doesn't say alot

The acting is fairly descent as we get to see Lou Diamond Phillips (Sheriff Emmet Kimsey) back in action as a southern lawman with an interesting accent. He seems to do well with his sarcastic behavior during certain spots of the film. Also he really pulls off his decent and charming atttiude too in other situations which shines off nicely. Plus he shows off some nice energy whenever he gets aggressive or forceful just rolling with the punches here. His anxious attitude while struggling against the bats looked nicely performed on his behalf which was another nice plus here.
Dina Meyer (Dr. Sheila Caper) certainly came on very sharp and strong with her behavior portraying the perfect scientist in the flick as well as knowing on how to act stern as well as firm too. Plus does well with her no nonsense aggressive behavior in other areas of the film which looked quite powerful with how she does all of this too. She shows a nice intense attitude too when the terrors start to happen around her. She was a good character actress without a doubt.
Bob Gunton (Dr. Alexander McCabe) is very interesting as an evil mad scientist but his role is hard to be taken seriously. He does a good job with his serious and expressionless attitude coming across as someone who seems rather odd and mysterious too. He seems to do an okay job by acting wicked and crazy with his speaking when the terrors start to unravel big time here. Plus seems a bit powerful when he tries to call to his bats while going outside but at times was a bit over the top.
Leon (Jimmy Sands) proves alot of energy with his performance and is a real trooper with his role as he shows off alot of good spunk into what he had to do by bringing up the pace here. He is believeable as someone who is full of life and energy just getting into the nitty gritty. Plus he knew his stuff by just saying what's on his mind and battling away against these bats showing a nice high drive here.
David McConnell (Deputy Wesley Munn) seemed like a natural ham in his supporting role playing a geeky dipstick deputy as he adds some good humor into whatever he does here especially while pointing a gun and getting nervous with his words as well as being believeably alert on what he does too.
Marcia Dangerfield (Mayor Amanda Branson) also seems to know her craft and comes off strong in her role in which she has a nice powerful speaking into her voice as well as being well focused on what she does in the film making her part very convincing. I found that she had one of the most effective supporting roles.

There are corpses with their guts torn open.
Bats are blown apart.

Graeme Revell does nice composing for the film but at times he makes it sound like an action film than a horror film but there's great powerful trombone and violin playing along with adventureous drum playing as well as nice piano tapping too for the calm moments. Also we hear the odd military drum tappings too. The music sounds very mainstream which helps the picture a bit with the bat attacks and other situations.