In an era in which a proper theatrical release is almost exclusively the domain of big Hollywood films and novelty-dependent semi-independent fare, there's something a bit reassuring about the fact that a B-movie as cheap and transparent as Bats can enjoy any kind of release at all. Still, it would be a whole lot nicer if a genuinely good B-movie got a theatrical release, instead of vaguely exploitative junk like Detroit Rock City, Jawbreaker, and this woeful would-be horror film. Cluelessly combining the stupidest elements of Deep Blue Sea and Lake Placid, Bats stars Dina Meyer (the poor man's Saffron Burrows) as a pretty bat specialist who travels to a small town in Texas to investigate a brutal bat attack. Joined by colleague and comic relief León, a no-nonsense sheriff (Lou Diamond Phillips), and a pair of ethically questionable scientists (Carlos Jacott and Bob Gunton), Meyer discovers that she's not dealing with your garden-variety fruit bats. Instead, she finds genetically enhanced, omnivorous killer super-bats with attitude to spare. Why on earth would anyone create giant killer super-bats? In shameless, desperate Jaws clones, the primary role of science seems to be the creation of insane predators, regardless of the consequences. And Bats is so shameless that at one point, one of the film's supporting characters actually sells out humanity to the killer bats, a move that's as dementedly nonsensical as it is predictable. The bats, meanwhile, are shockingly fake-looking, looking less like terrifying predators than old Ghoulies puppets with wings attached. With its title, premise, and lack of pretension, Bats should at least be stupid fun. Instead, it's just stupid.
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