[Screen It]


(1999) (Lou Diamond Phillips, Dina Meyer) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Minor Moderate Heavy *Heavy Moderate
Mild Minor Extreme None Heavy
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Minor Mild None Mild Extreme

Horror: A small group of people must contend with a swarm of carnivorous and highly intelligent bats that have overtaken a small Texas town.
Wildlife zoologist Dr. Sheila Casper (DINA MEYER) and her assistant, Jimmy (LEON) have been summoned to the small Texas town of Gallup by Dr. Tobe Hodge (CARLOS JACOTT) from the Center for Disease Control to investigate several grisly deaths apparently caused by normally passive bats

There, they meet sheriff Emmett Kimsey (LOU DIAMOND PHILLIPS), and Dr. Alexander McCabe (BOB GUNTON), a scientist who's been doing specialized research on bats. After Sheila and Jimmy confirm that the deaths were indeed caused by bats, they learn that McCabe genetically altered the creatures -- that have a wingspan of several feet -- with a virus that not only causes them to be more intelligent and work together in a communal sense, but also more aggressive and omnivorous.

Realizing the potential for the virus to spread across the country and thus endanger everyone everywhere with lethal bat attacks, the small team races against time, repeated encounters with the bats and a planned military bombing to make sure that doesn't happen.

Although the cast members won't be much of a draw, the notion of killer bats may draw in some kids who enjoy such types of animal-based horror films.
For intense sequences of bat attacks, and brief language.
  • LOU DIAMOND PHILLIPS plays the local sheriff who tries to figure out how to deal with the bats. Along the way he smokes a few cigars, uses some profanity and drinks a swig of tequila.
  • DINA MEYER plays a wildlife zoologist who similarly tries to contend with the bats, cusses a few times and also drinks a swig of tequila.
  • LEON plays her assistant who cusses and briefly uses stronger profanity.
  • CARLOS JACOTT plays an official from the CDC who tries to help in stopping the bats.
  • BOB GUNTON plays the stereotypical evil scientist who's messed with nature and seems more interested in his results than in the humans they're killing.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    Here's a quick summary of the content found in this PG-13 rated horror film. In accordance with the genre, the film is filled with many scenes of bats attacking and/or killing people (occasionally with bloody/gory results). While most adults will probably find such scenes (and other suspenseful ones accompanied by suspenseful music) as silly and/or stupid, some younger kids may be truly frightened by them.

    Profanity rates as heavy due to 1 use of the "f" word, although other profanity and a few colorful phrases are also present. Beyond that, some brief smoking and drinking, and a villain with mad scientist-related bad attitudes, the rest of the film's categories are relatively void of any other major objectionable content. Since some kids may want to see the film, however, and should you still be concerned about its appropriateness for them, we suggest that you take a closer look at our more detailed content listings.

    Of special note for those concerned with bright, repetitive flashing of lights, some of that occurs in this film.

  • A young man gets two bottles of beer out of his trunk for his date and himself (although they never drink them).
  • Several people have drinks in a bar.
  • Ramsey takes a swig of tequila from a bottle and then hands it to Casper who also takes a drink.
  • Ramsey comments on having some tequila after they return from an abandoned mine shaft.
  • After a man goes through a windshield from a bat attack, we briefly see that part of his body is covered in blood. Later, during the autopsy examination, we see brief/partial glimpses of the carnage to his body and then see a huge hole in his torso (that's bloody and gory looking).
  • We briefly see some photos showing dead and bloody animals.
  • We briefly see glimpses of another dead and bloody person on a barbwire fence.
  • A deputy's face has some bloody scrapes on it after he crashes through a glass door.
  • Some bats "explode" when shot.
  • Casper and Ramsey have some blood on their faces after being attacked and a dead man's neck is bloody.
  • McCabe has some blood on his lips.
  • Ramsey and Casper wade through a chest-high soupy concoction of bat guano.
  • McCabe obviously has both for genetically altering and then controlling the bats for his own evil purposes.
  • A military official has both for moving up an attack plan that then results in many soldiers' deaths.
  • While most adults will probably find the proceedings more silly/stupid than frightening (unless they're already predisposed with a fear of bats), some kids may find the many and often disorienting attack scenes (that have some gory results) as unsettling, suspenseful or downright scary (all dependent, of course, on their age, level of maturity and tolerance for such material).
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may also be seen as unsettling, suspenseful or frightening to some viewers.
  • While exploring a cave, Casper suddenly loses contact with Jimmy up top and races up there to find out what happened to him.
  • A huge swarm of bats attacks the truck that Kimsey and Casper are sitting in and start coming through the floorboard, etc... in a several minute scene.
  • We see a large bat in a crib with an infant and know that the child's mother is in danger as well outside at the clothesline.
  • Armed with a handgun, Casper tries to avoid and/or kill a lone bat that's after her in a store and then tries to hide in a ticket booth.
  • There's a long sequence where the bats attack the small team in their fortified school.
  • Ramsey and Casper descend into an abandoned mine shaft (where the bats are roosting) in an attempt to set up a machine to kill them. As such, they have several encounters with them and then try to race out as the hordes of bats come after them.
  • Handguns/Shotguns/Explosives/Impromptu torch (flamethrower): Used in attempts to kill some bats.
  • Rifles/Machine guns: Carried by military soldiers.
  • Phrases: "Holy sh*t" and "Sucker."
  • The film may inspire some kids to try to kill bats.
  • A tunnel suddenly collapses.
  • A bat suddenly attacks Ramsey.
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays during the film.
  • None.
  • At least 1 "f" word, 19 "s" words, 15 damns, 14 hells, 7 asses, 6 S.O.B.s, and 5 uses of "Oh my God," 3 each of "G-damn" and "Oh God," 2 of "Jesus" and 1 use each of "Christ," "My God" and "Oh Jesus" as exclamations.
  • When Hodge states that he's from the Center for Disease Control, Jimmy exclaims "I never touched that girl" (as if talking about a different kind of disease).
  • Ramsey smokes cigars a few times (and mentions at the end that it's time for another), while some people in a bar also smoke.
  • None.
  • Bats and the fact that they don't normally attack, let alone kill people.
  • The old notion of messing around with nature generating more problems than good.
  • After some momentary swooping, a swarm of bats ferociously attacks a couple in a car, repeatedly smashing into it and tearing through the convertible top until they get to the couple inside and kill them (the guy goes smashing through the windshield while we see the young woman's body twitching).
  • We briefly see glimpses of another dead and bloody person on a barbwire fence.
  • A huge swarm of bats attacks a truck and Kimsey shoots a bat that gets inside as he and Casper try to prevent others from doing so. She uses the car's cigarette lighter on one and gets bit by another.
  • Kimsey fires at the bats with his gun.
  • Several bats kill another bat that the scientists have tagged.
  • The bats kill a short order cook and then attack a restaurant patron.
  • A swarm of bats attacks the townsfolk in the middle of town causing the deputy to run and crash through a glass door before being attacked and killed by the bats. A car crashes into an electrical pole, sending it down to the street, while other vehicles crash into each other, causing them to explode and burn. Another vehicle crashes into a ticket booth.
  • Casper fires several shots a bat that's menacing her.
  • Kimsey shoots several bats as does a barkeep (who's then killed by the bats).
  • A bat attacks Casper and then helps kill a man who's come to her rescue.
  • The bats kill many military soldiers (off camera, but we see the bodies the next day).
  • McCabe holds a gun on the others as the bats begin attacking their school fortress. They eventually get the gun from him and Ramsey punches him, knocking him unconscious. They then fire shots at the attacking bats that are trying to get through the screens while Jimmy rigs up an impromptu flame thrower and burns many bats.
  • Some electrified grids electrocute many bats.
  • The bats kill another person.
  • Bats attack Ramsey and Casper and she uses a gun to shoot one of them. As they later try to escape, Ramsey fires more shots at them.
  • Massive explosions blow up the entrance to a mine shaft and presumably kill many bats.
  • A truck runs over a bat.

  • Reviewed October 19, 1999 / Posted October 22, 1999

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