[Wildcat Online: Arts] [ad info]





'Bats' has big names, but little story


Arizona Daily Wildcat

Photo Courtesy of Destination Films Jimmy (Leon) and Sheriff Kimsey (Lou Diamond Phillips) escort expert bat scientist Sheila Casper (Dina Meyer) in "Bats." The film tells the story of killer flying rodents that threaten a small town.

By Graig Uhlin
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
October 22, 1999
Talk about this story

"Bats" is a flat, uninteresting and wholly unscary trip through cinematic mediocrity. The movie is trite and derivative, making no efforts to deviate from the tired conventions of horror films, including the bad ones. Consider the opening half hour of the movie.

A teenage couple argues about their relationship on an abandoned road. Cue the bats. Cue their death. Cue opening sequence. By now, the audience should be feeling suspense and a sense of mystery, but they don't, and never will.

Cut to bat scientist Sheila Casper (Dina Meyer) and her sassy assistant Jimmy Sands (Leon), who (get this) doesn't like bats. The town of Gallup, Texas, needs their help to rid the community of its little pest problem, so they join forces with ...

The valiant, kind-hearted hero/town sheriff Emmett Kinsey (an unspectacular Lou Diamond Phillips). He is well-intentioned, handsome and everything else one would expect him to be except developed. Kinsey, just like every other character, is a stereotypical excuse for a character that demonstrates either an ignorance or laziness to properly flesh out a three-dimensional personality.

Of course, the heroes need an obstacle. Cue the annoying, mad scientist stereotype Dr. Alexander McCabe (Bob Gunton), who created the bats under the stupid pretense of good science. One good moment actually comes when this guy gets killed by his own creations (this, by the way, is not spoiling anything the viewers can't figure out for themselves immediately after stepping into the theater).

Director Louis Morneau tries to make this oh-so-pathetic script visually interesting, but his efforts fail to make this film tolerable. It is as if he didn't even realize how insubstantial his material was. Surprisingly, this is Morneau's sixth feature film (none of which are really worthy of mention here). Think he would have learned a few lessons in making a good film by now.

"Bats" is a bad movie, with little to no saving graces. Undynamic and unappealing, the film is wrought with horror movie conventions, failing to alter them for a post-"Scream," uber-ironic audience.

The result is that the audience is steps ahead of the plot at every moment, so that all suspense and surprise is lost.

Go rent "The Birds" because "Bats" is ninety minutes of pure guano.

Graig Uhlin can be reached at catalyst@wildcat.arizona.edu.

[end content]
[ad info]