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Film / Bats

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Where do you hide when the dark is alive?
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Bats is a 1999 American adventure-horror film, directed by Louis Morneau and produced by Bradley Jenkel and Louise Rosner. The film stars Lou Diamond Phillips, Dina Meyer, Bob Gunton and Leon. It was the first film released by Destination Films.

Bats, the result of a government experiment gone wrong, have suddenly become intelligent, vicious, and omnivorous, and are attacking people near Gallup, Texas. Bat specialist Sheila Casper and her assistant Jimmy are brought in and team-up with local sheriff Emmett Kimsey, but can they stop the bats before the military comes in and, in their ignorance, makes things worse?

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Tropes

  • Abandoned Mine: The bats are roosting in the old Black Rock Mine. This is where the final confrontation between human and bat takes place.
  • Armies Are Evil: Turns out that the only bunch of people crazy enough to fund Dr. McCabe's research was the U.S Government searching for a bio-weapon to unleash on their enemies. The government agent that tells so (to the lieutenant in charge of the detachment sent to hunt the bats) even does it with a matter-of-factly "yeah, we did it".
  • Bat Out of Hell: The bats have been genetically engineered to be more intelligent and omnivorous in an attempt to create the ultimate predator.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Subverted. The closing scene shows the lone surviving bat slowly and menacingly rise up from the dirt in preparation to fly off into the sunrise, only to get run over by the heroes' SUV as they drive off into the sunrise.
    • Didn't stop Sci-Fi Channel from making a sequel, though...
  • For Science!: Obviously Evil Mad Scientist Dr. McCabe initially justifies creating the eponymous (killer and super-intelligent) bats with the words "I'm a scientist. That's what we do. Make everything a little bit better." It's later hinted that it was a secret government project, but still you have to wonder why the protagonists accepted that justification so well...
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  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: The intelligent, omnivorous, killer bats were the result of genetic experimentation by a rogue scientist. Had the movie been made 30 years earlier, it is easy to imagine they would have been the product of atomic tests in the desert.
  • Hidden Depths: Sheriff Kimsey turns out to be a fan of opera. He even lampshades that it'd make him lose points as a badass if anybody else in town knew it.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: McCabe is killed by the bats he genetically engineered to be the ultimate predator and to prey on humans.
  • Hot Scientist: Sheila Casper.
  • Karmic Death: McCabe is killed by his own creations while attempting to communicate with them.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Plucky Comic Relief uses a home-made flamethrower to (quite gleefully) burn several bats when they come to attack the school the heroes turned into their headquarters.
  • Kill It with Ice: The plan for destroying the bats involves using an industrial coolant dispersal device to drop the temperature in the mine till they start to hibernate and then freeze to death.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. McCabe created the bats with the specific intention of killing people. He is killed attempting to communicate with them, although a minute before being killed he also makes clear that he deliberately released them (it was said earlier in the film and taken as truth that the bats had accidentally escaped) and that he has no desire to order them to stop.
  • Militaries Are Useless: The U.S. Army only provides the heroes with intel in order to determine where the bats could be, obtains the refrigeration unit that will kill the bats for good and then decides to go deliver it into the nest... at night. The heroes finish the job with the gear they scavenge from the detachment's base.
  • Redshirt Army: The U.S. military detachment in charge of dealing with the bat problem goes to the spot where the bats nest, at night, and is completely annihilated.
  • Science Is Bad: Mad Scientist Dr. McCabe initially justifies creating the rampaging super intelligent omnivorous bats with the words "I'm a scientist! That's what we do!". No one finds this explanation even the slightest bit strange.
  • The Sheriff: Sheriff Kimsey is not well-equipped to fight a swarm of killer bats, but the people of his county are under threat and it is his job to protect.
  • The Swarm: The bats attack the town in their thousands.
  • Villain by Default: The eponymous monsters were genetically engineered by a "mad" scientist. When asked why he would create such a creature, his response basically sums up the premise of this trope: "Because I'm a scientist! That's what we do!"


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