Vampire Bats (2005)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Timothy Bottoms and Lucy Lawless in Vampire Bats (2005)

Attack of the Mutant Vampire Bats

Made for TV horror movies, especially those surrounding a town plagued by deadly creatures are rarely any good which is why my expectations were nil when I sat down to watch "Vampire Bats". It's probably why I am semi pleasantly surprised because whilst "Vampire Bats" is little more than some cliche, far fetched horror nonsense which never delivers a single fright it isn't as terrible as expected. In fact whilst "Vampire Bats" would never be anything more than a cliche creature feature it had potential to be a good one if more time had been spent on it.

In the town of Mercier, Louisiana 3 friends Jason (Arnie Pantoja - Sydney White), Aaron (Brandon Henry Rodriguez) and Eden (Jessica Stroup - This Christmas) go to an underground rave but only two of them return home with Aaron and Eden ending up arrested when Jason's dead body is discovered. Biology teacher Maddy Rierdon (Lucy Lawless) doesn't believe they killed their friend and on examining Jason's body discovers numerous strange bite marks. Soon it becomes apparent what killed Jason as a swarm of mutated vampire bats are seen in the sky and Maddy is convinced that a waste incineration company has been dumping chemicals in the water causing the mutation.

Craig Ferguson as Fisherman #1 in Vampire Bats (2005)

So plain and simple "Vampire Bats" is a cliche creature, disaster feature where a town is under attack from blood hungry bats and it is up to the few to try and save the day, think the 70s movie "The Swarm" and you will know exactly what to expect. As such alongside the valiant few which is basically Maddy, her husband Dan and a group of students we have a mayor who initially wants to ignore things before covering it up as quick as possible plus a corrupt official taking payments from the company dumping chemicals. Throw in various close encounters and a few deaths by vampire bat bite and it plays out exactly as you would expect with no surprises at all.

Now that may sound like "Vampire Bats" sucks but in truth it doesn't, for a TV horror movie it isn't terrible. Yes it struggles to deliver any atmosphere or frights but yet it is still kind of entertaining from watching the bats rip at flesh with their fangs or corny scenes such as when the medical examiner lets Maddy examine Jason's dead body, yes it is far fetched and it is that which makes it amusingly entertaining. There are plenty more of these bits of nonsense which taken seriously are poor but taken as corny end up entertaining.

But in truth the thing which saves "Vampire Bats" is the casting with Lucy Lawless doing a good job of making the cliche character of Maddy entertaining. It is not just Lawless who entertains because Timothy Bottoms plays Mayor Poelker with a touch of the George Bush about him which makes him amusing in a corny sort of way. And then we have various younger actors such as Brandon Henry Rodriguez and Jessica Stroup although I have to say I was disappointed when Arnie Pantoja as Jason was killed off so early.

What this all boils down to is that "Vampire Bats" isn't much of a horror movie and it is little more than a collection of cliches altered to have a threat from mutant vampire bats. But as a made for TV horror movie which you kind of think is going to really suck before you even watch it, it isn't that bad.