Bats (1999)

bats poster 1999 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 4/10

Attempts to subvert some expectations

Boring low-budget film

Movie Info

Movie Name: Bats

Studio: Destination Films

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s): October 22, 1999

MPAA Rating: PG-13

bats carlos jacott

I feel you guys are just misunderstood…

In the town of Gallup, Texas, a group of genetically engineered bats have escaped.  The bats can think, reason, and potentially can infect other bats as they eat anything in their path to survive.  If the bats get out of Gallup, the world might not be safe.  Bat expert Dr. Sheila Casper (Dina Meyer) and her assistant Jimmy Sands (Leon) have been called in to work with the local sheriff Emmett Kimsey (Lou Diamond Phillips), the CDC’s Dr. Tobe Hodge (Carlos Jacott), and the bats’ creator Dr. Alexander McCabe (Bob Gunton).  Gallup has been targeted for destruction, and time is running out to stop the bats.

Directed by Louis Morneau, Bats is an animals-attack horror movie.  The film was released to negative reviews and a low box office return.

bats mutant killers

My cousins are Ghoulies

Bats feels like a movie that should have been released in 1979 not 1999.  The low-budget film is more like movies like Piranha or Day of the Animals.  It is schlock.  I love movies like this, but even I could tell Bats was a bomb.

The movie plods, but it does avoid some of the strange clichés of these type movies.  The government is responsible, admits its responsibility relatively early, and works with the people to shut-down the bats.  There doesn’t seem to be much romantic interest between the lead characters (in more of a Jaws type relationship), and even the mayor of the town tries to get people to avoid the big town celebration (which of course they don’t despite her orders).  It is like it took the typical animal-attack format and flipped it…but unfortunately, it didn’t make it good.

The acting is very one-dimensional.  Lou Diamond Phillips is the rough and tumbled sheriff trying to protect his town while Dina Meyer wants to save the bats (she gets over that fast).  Bob Gunton never plays a good guy so his turn into the crazy mad scientist isn’t shocking, and Leon (aka Leon Robinson) feels a bit like a bad stereotype at points as the comic relief of the movie.

bats cave ending

Wait…how is this plan supposed to work? How did the military get all this down here before getting killed? Even though we’ve set fires throughout this chamber and electricity is sparking everywhere, I’m sure it all works fine…

The visuals of Bats is a mixed bag.  I kind of like the big bat models that creep and crawl (and snarl) in their close-ups but the rest of the bat visuals are rather weak.  The bat cloud looks weak and “bat vision” just has a tilted lens look.

Bats was released before the rise of the Megashark vs. Giant Octopus and Sharknado period, and it received theatrical release.  However, it feels more like one of these straight to SyFy movies that should have premiered on a Friday night in July…and I might have respected it more as a result.  It gets the idea of a man-vs.-nature movie right, but it doesn’t have the fun of a man-vs.-nature movie by taking itself too seriously…Bats leaves you hanging out to dry

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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