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By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 22, 1999

  Movie Critic

Dina Meyer stars in "Bats." (Destination Films)

Louis Morneau
Lou Diamond Phillips;
Dina Meyer;
Bob Gunton;
Running Time:
1 hour, 30 minutes
Contains brief splashes of gore and occasional obscenity
During the climax of this latest entry in the animals-run-amok genre, bat researcher Sheila Casper (Dina Meyer) and sheriff Emmett Kimsey (Lou Diamond Phillips) are seen walking through a chest-deep river of guano in a darkened mine shaft. Now they know what it feels like to be a movie critic – especially when one has to wade through stinky stuff like this hopeless rip-off of Hitchcock's "The Birds."

When mad scientist Dr. McCabe (Bob Gunton) unleashes two biologically altered bats – whose increased intelligence and aggression have been passed on to the colony of bats that live outside Gallup, Texas – you at least expect some good, old-fashioned blood and guts. But every time the rubber-looking critters (mostly mechanized puppets and computer graphics) attack, director Louis Morneau hands the camera and the keys to the editing room to what appears to be his hyperactive nephew.

You can't see a thing except blurs of wings and teeth over the sound effect of Chopped Liver Night at the Kennel Club. Speaking of disappointments, buff heros Meyers and Phillips spend much of the movie clad in fang-resistant Kevlar jumpsuits. Most of the dialogue consists of lines like this clunker: "There is something very wrong here, gentlemen, because this sort of thing is not supposed to happen."

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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