It’s almost reassuring to see a film like Bats arrive at your multiplex. It means that in an industry fueled by big names and big effects that a cheesy B-movie can still make it through production like the legions that spooked so many naive baby boomers. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves now. It is, after all, a B-movie.
Bats tries to be the winged mammal version of The Brids except not nearly as good. The “story” is of a mad scientist who genetically creates a race of super bats. Why? Well maybe the real question you should ask yourself is why not? Unfortunately the bats get released into a small sleepy town in Texas. The officials catch on, the populace refuses to believe, then… oh what does it matter?! You’ll be able to predict the rest faster than you can tie your shoelaces. Create a plot in your head to fill the void of this one. In my version of Bats space aliens came down and there was an intergalactic civil war between bat-people and humanity’s only source of hope in a band of four teenage girls each with amazing powers. This is what happens when you have to fend for yourself for entertainment.
What should be the most interesting part of Bats turns out to be the absolute lamest: the bats themselves. Were they created in some lab or did they just hibernate out of Fraggle Rock with a thirst for blood? They resemble small dogs with wings in all the amounts of quick-cut closeup shots to hide the fact that they didn’t have the budget to film more than six bats at one time. I don’t know if they’re supposed to come off as frightening or not, but mass hysteria from muppets just doesn’t seem too overwhelming to me.
If Bats were played for camp value it might be a moderately redeemable sense of dumb fun like Deep Blue Sea was earlier this year. Instead the bat wranglers try playing it for scares and skewed laughs, but the scales sure don’t come out even upon viewing. The flick really is laugh-out-loud bad like when one of the characters actually sells out humanity to help the bats, or the distraught and reckless teenagers getting their comeuppance for staying out after curfew like in so many other bad B-monster movies. This movie won’t be appearing on anyone’s resume list in the near future. I think even the Key Grips were ashamed to have had any hand in this. You can’t help but feel Bats missed its window of opportunity for success around the time film went to color. The only screaming you’ll be hearing anywhere in the vicinity of Bats is from people just realizing they spent seven dollars on this thing.
Nate’s Grade: D