So here I was one night flipping thru my Amazon Prime watch list, like all the cool kids do, and I stumbled on Vampire Bats. I had added it sometime in the past but had forgotten about it. Reading the synopsis one thing caught my eye. Lucy Lawless was the star of the movie. Xena vs. Vampire Bats… Oh hell yes!
Things start off with some “hip” music and kids hanging out on their college campus. They decide to head off to a rave and drink all the booze they can. One of them ends up in the swamp and gets killed. But by what? Having paid attention to the opening credits I have a pretty good idea that it was maybe Vampire Bats. Turns out my intuition was correct as the bats continue to kill anything they cross paths with. Well actually they just scare the hell out of most people. The bats aren’t really good at killing anyone that isn’t drunk, stoned, or trapped on a fishing boat. Luckily for the town Lucy Lawless is there to save the day. With the help of her students, she is a college professor, they figure out how to lure the bats in and kill them.
This is an incredibly cheesy movie and I loved it. First off, the sheriff finds a nearly bloodless body covered in small bites and he immediately arrests the friends of the victim. Because that is something that people do I guess? Really it is just a plot device to get the Lawless character involved in the story. Once her character is in the middle of it the “kids are killers” plot is dropped quickly. Then you have the professor’s “aw shucks” attitude when the kids show up to a very dangerous attempt to catch some bats. She said they couldn’t come, but then they got rabies vaccinations so it’s all good. Having been bit by a dog in real life and getting rabies shots I can tell you they wouldn’t be so damn bubbly and happy a couple of hours later! Toss in some illegal chemical dumping in the swamp, a is he or isn’t he a bad guy mayor, and the big “twist” bad guy ending for a dumb but enjoyable way to kill an hour and a half.
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I suppose I’ve already given my recommendation away, but I still want to talk about the special effects work. It is all CGI and is the kind of bad work that doesn’t match the scenes and obviously looks fake. Most of the time that is a deal breaker for me, but the plot and characters just fit with these effects. Good creatures wouldn’t have worked here. I have a theory that if you have that perfect formula of dumb going you don’t want to ruin it with good work elsewhere on the movie. They even double down with some goofy looking bat puppets that are in the closeups where they chose not to use digital effects.
This is on my list of “go to” movies when I want to have a few laughs and knock back a couple drinks while turning off my brain. It’s not art, but not everything has to be. I recommend Vampire Bats to you if you happen to be in that same mood.
© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer