Plot: Sheriff Kimsey (Lou Diamond Phillips) has seen a lot as a lawman in the rural stretches of Texas, but when some bodies turn up that look they’ve been run through a meat grinder, even he is stumped. The wounds suggest some kind of animal attack, so expert Dr. Sheila Casper (Dina Meyer) is brought in to examine the remains, with her trusty assistant Jimmy (Leon) in tow. She has also seen a lot of wild things in her studies, but she is stunned by the mutilation of the victims. The exam leads her to think that bats were responsible, but that doesn’t make sense to her, since the bats should be eating fruit, not humans. As Kimsey and Casper look for more clues, the attacks continue and it soon becomes clear that bats are responsible, but not the usual bats at all. Soon enough, the government becomes involved and reveals the bats were part of a genetic research experiment. Can the locals figure out how to eliminate the bat threat or will the government cover their tracks by any means necessary?
Entertainment Value: Some movies have misleading titles, but in the case of Bats, the film delivers on the title’s promise and then some. So if you’re here for swarms of bats, then you’re in luck. The narrative is fine, setting the stage for Lou Diamond Phillips to do battle against endless waves of bats, which is about all you can ask, then the government is thrown in to spice things up. Bats is content to be a b movie, but it also aims to be a fun ride and it comes through on that front, with a good amount of bat attacks, campy lines, and wild special effects. In other words, the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously and embraces the b movie vibes. This leads to some solid entertainment, if you appreciate these kind of low budget, when animals attack cinematic offerings. While the movie leans toward the campiness, it is also more than competent in terms of production values, including a terrific cast. Phillips has fun as the local lawman, while Dina Meyer, Leon, and Bob Gunton also have prominent roles. The performances match the tone of the material, so a little over the top, but the main players seem interested and bring good energy to the table. So if you’re a fan of these kind of b movie style creature features, Bats is worth a look.
No nakedness. I suppose while under constant assault from genetically modified bats, perhaps romance isn’t the top concern. The movie doesn’t pile on the bloodshed, but it has some violence and of course, a wealth of scenes involve the bats attacking and wounding the locals. An autopsy scene provides some colorful passive gore, while some of the attacks are a little more graphic than others. I wouldn’t call any of the violence that intense or graphic, but there are a few instances of splashy blood and the gore effects are more than solid. As for the bats, the movie uses a blend of practical effects and digital to bring the massive hordes to life. I admit the bats are kind of humorous in appearance at times, but given what was likely a very limited budget to work with, I think the visual effects are better than most. The dialogue isn’t wall to wall one liners, but Phillips has some fun moments and his banter with his costars also entertains at times. I do wish the writing pushed the b movie feel a little more, as the cast seems up to rattling off cheesy lines, but isn’t given much to work with. On the craziness scale, aside from the light b movie texture, Bats keeps things on the sane side.
Overall Insanity: 1/10