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In Gallup, Texas, two stupid teenagers are getting horny in a car out in the middle of the desert. Of course, such a scene is a staple in horror and monster movies, and because the movie is called 'Bats', it doesn't take much guessing by the viewer to figure out what will happen to the dozy twosome. After we are shown the gory bat attack which rips the adolescents to shreds, we are introduced to our heroine, Dina Meyer - looking very tasty dangling off a cliff face - who you may remember from 'Starship Troopers'. Her companion is, oh dear, a wise cracking, smug quip blabbing, 'funny guy' who is of course black, after all, 'all black people are funny' - thought the script writers - shame on them! Leon, who is handed this sorry role, does what he can with the dire one - liners but he just ends up looking like a fool. These two chums are (wait for it) 'batologists' who, whilst poking about a bat lair gathering 'data', are called upon to investigate some strange bat related incidences in Gallup. Upon arriving they encounter Sheriff Kimsey, a dull Lou Diamond Phillips, who gets all uppity when they think there's a problem in his picturesque little town. From this moment on the audience are spoon fed various scenes involving bats going beserk and attacking people. Although these moments are occasionally entertaining, you quickly bore of them as they all lack imagination, style and most importantly, gore and violence, something which you would expect to be mandatory in this type of flick. All we really see are scratches and the odd bat bite, nothing a first aid kit couldn't handle.

 Buy Bats [1999] on DVD at Amazon!

Sometimes director Louis Morneau is incredibly lazy, a tasteless scene involving a bat in a baby's cot, a ho-hum bat chase inside a school, and a bat attack on an army convoy where we aren't shown any action, just the aftermath of bodies and flames (I am reminded of 'Phantoms' where a similar scene is also played out), are prime examples. Curiously enough, at other times Morneau is quite inventive and conjures up some cracking set pieces, most notably a nod to 'The Birds' where the bats invade the streets of Gallup and trap Meyer inside a cinema ticket booth. Shortly before this we see her scuttling about a supermarket trying to shoot a pestering bat, whose point of view the audience are placed in. The result is infra red stretched celluloid shots of a petrified Ms.Meyer combined with ominous screeching noises. Clever eh?

Another plus which I should like to mention is Dina Meyer who gives a sterling performance. Why don't we see more of her? Everyone else involved in this silly movie doesn't deserve a mention, perhaps the SFX crew and production team deserve a pat on the back though.

Of course, none of this raises the status of this rubbish which , although trashy and undeniably fun at times, should be avoided if you're sober and not in the company of friends.

Fact: This movie was one of the first to be unveiled by the now defunct 'Destination Films'. Surely they must have known that the inevitable destination for 'Bats' was the bottom shelf at Blockbuster's?

Simon@HAM Movies

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