Monday, April 20, 2009
When a colony of genetically mutated bats begins eating residents of a small Texas town, a chiroptologist and her wisecracking black sidekick (tm) are called in to batten down the hatches.
Brett Merryman wrote one of my very favorite spec scripts of 2008, THE WIDOWMAKER (not the K-19 one) - a completely non-campy spy story that ends in destruction and awesomeness. But before he wrote that, he co-wrote and co-produced BATS: HUMAN HARVEST, which I will discuss in a later post. Naturally, I had to check out the regular BATS first.
The main thing you need to know about BATS is that it is an homage to Hitchcock's THE BIRDS. In the making-of featurette, director Louis Morneau tells you so. And then lead actor Lou Diamond Phillips tells you so as well. So you know it's true.
So basically these two innocent teenagers get chomped to death at Lover's Point or whatever and the military calls Sheila Casper, Bat Ph.D to investigate and exterminate with extreme prejudice. She loves the little batties and doesn't want them to die. Town sheriff and resident sweaty and muscular tank top wearer Lou Diamond Phillips is none too thrilled with this development, either: His town, his biceps, his rules. They manage to agree to kill the bats, together, after the bloodthirsty creatures fight their way into their locked truck, hurling their furry fangy selves through the windows, squirming in from beneath the gas pedal.
Lou evacuates the town - any reluctant-to-leave residents quickly change their minds after a semi-CGI bat attack on Main Street, where the movie theater is playing NOSFERATU; then he, Dr. Casper, and Wisecracking Black Sidekick (remember him?) locate the local evil scientist (tm) behind all this and barricade themselves in an abandoned school. Evil Scientist sneaks out to commune with his creations, which (spoiler alert!) promptly destroy him, leaving Casper, WBS, and sweaty, muscular Lou to destroy the bat herd with - now - military assistance. A plan is hatched, the plan goes awry due to infighting and whatnot (by this point I was basically doing my nails and counting minutes until the bombs were supposed to happen), Casper and sweaty Lou are forced to decend into the underground bat lair, where they set phasers on stun or something and then make it up and out just in time for everything to blow to the high heavens in a glorious detonation of 80% of the below the line expenses. Oh, and also the WBS doesn't die! It's a happy ending for everyone. Except the bats.
BATS tv promo with Dutch subtitles: