Bats (1999) Directed by Louis Morneau. With Lous Diamond Phillips, Dina Meyer and Bob Gunton.
As films about genetically modified killer bats go, Bats is probably one of the better ones. Directed by Louis Morneau, whose CV doesn’t venture far from the trodden path of cheap looking b-movies, Bats boasts a surprisingly well-known cast headed up by Lou Diamond Phillips and Dina Meyer. Furthermore, despite a good kicking from the critics, it doubled its money at the US box office, taking a cheerful $10m in the process.
While it might be the cream of the crop, in terms of bat films (we’re not counting Batman), it’s still a chronic bag of terrible. Lou Diamond Phillips isn’t the best leading man in the world, and with a script lacking so badly in basic wit or humour, his presence acts as little more than a sturdy cardboard cut-out with bits of the plot written on it.
Remember the warden (Bob Gunton) from The Shawshank Redemption? Surprisingly, he’s here too, although, he looks like he really doesn’t want to be. While the script and performances offer little in the way of anything likely to stay in your memory for longer than 10 seconds, the visual effects aren’t all that bad. An inventive mix of CG, real bats and animatronics, there are still acres of room for improvement in the way their threat could have been implied; see Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds for best results.
Some footage of fighter jets is reused from the 1988 film Iron Eagle II, which, considering that film was released 11-yrs prior to this one, stands out badly. Of course, this wouldn’t matter if we were talking about a b-movie on the level of something like Tremors. Sadly, there is nothing earth shaking about this one. 1.5/5