Picks and Pans Review: Nightwing

updated 08/13/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/13/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT

As a self-described "exterminating angel" of vampire bats, David Warner has one of the film's few funny lines. Asked why he pursues this singular avocation, he replies, "Somebody has to." That sentiment could serve as the raison d'être for this whole project—sooner or later somebody had to make a bat movie. Arthur (Love Story, Silver Streak) Hiller has, and the result is surprisingly tame. The fright factor falls short of The Birds but surpasses the bees in The Swarm. There are some eerily beautiful shots of bats blackening the night sky of the Southwest. Muscular Nick Mancuso is stolidly effective as an Indian deputy fighting to protect his reservation from a mining company, and Warner is dedicated as the batman. The movie should be at its scariest during close-ups of the nasty little beasts consuming their body weight in human blood. But alas, because of clumsy special effects, the viewer will hardly even eye a bat that is convincing. (PG)

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