A Killer What?
Bats. We’re told that they’re genetically engineered Flying Foxes but other than the size they don’t resemble anything remotely similar to the Indonesian fruit bat. Not only have they got awful faces that look like a cross between a cartoon rat and the demons from The Gate, they’re also carnivorous, incredibly intelligent, and infected with a virus that gives them the ability to turn regular bats into part of a massive intelligent hive mind.
Is It Any Good?
It’s pretty decent. I had assumed since this doesn’t make anybody’s great creature features of the 90s list with Lake Placid, Deep Blue Sea, and Anaconda that it must be completely awful but it’s perfectly enjoyable. Lou Diamond Phillips is at his most fun, the bat puppets are goofy and fun, and even the CG isn’t as bad as it could be for a movie from 1999. The movie wastes no time getting where it’s going and the action is pretty steady throughout.
The only major marks against the movie are the horrible cinematography (for some reason uses a lot of slow-motion and fish-eye lenses in the action scenes) and a problem with tone. This is ostensibly a fun, bloody, action horror picture but at times it flirts with some real dark shit. It’s strongly implied that bats eat a sleeping baby and that’s pretty heavy to lay on a movie that ends with our heroes driving away to surf music. At times the bats are played for humor, other times they’re downright menacing and only Lou Diamond Phillips and Jimmy Sands appear to be having any fun.
I will say that the onus for the big massacre scene being that the residents of a small Texas town stubbornly refuse an evacuation order from their mayor on the grounds that they don’t believe her is maybe the most true to life detail I’ve ever seen in a movie.
Watch, Toss, or Buy
Amazon sellers will almost pay you to pick up a copy of this on DVD, but I’ll say it’s a watch.