Watch Nightwing

"The day belongs to man. The night is theirs."
  • PG
  • 1979
  • 1 hr 45 min
  • 5.2  (1,672)

Nightwing is a 1979 horror film directed by Arthur Hiller and starring Nick Mancuso, David Warner, and Kathryn Harrold. The film is set in the American Southwest, where a Native American reservation is threatened by a swarm of vampire bats. As the bats menace the community, a local sheriff and a wildlife biologist work together to uncover the truth behind the infestation and stop the bats from wreaking further havoc.

The film opens with a prologue explaining the importance of bats in the ecosystem, setting up the ecological theme that runs throughout the story. From there, we are introduced to our main characters: young biologist Anne Dillon (Harrold) and crusty old Sheriff Youngman Duran (Mancuso), who share a mutual respect despite their differing backgrounds. The two are brought together to investigate a series of mysterious deaths and animal attacks that have been occurring on the reservation, which is also being threatened by a proposed mining operation.

As Anne conducts her research, she discovers that the culprit behind the attacks is a swarm of unusually aggressive vampire bats, which have been drawn to the area by the mining company's dynamite explosions. The bats are wreaking havoc on the reservation's livestock and endangering its human population, leading Anne and Duran to team up with a local medicine man (played by George Clutesi) to find a way to stop them.

The film does a good job of slowly building tension as the threat of the vampire bats becomes more and more apparent. The shots of the bats swarming overhead are suitably creepy, and the film makes effective use of its Southwestern locations to create a sense of desolation and threat. The characters are well-drawn and believable, with Mancuso and Harrold giving strong performances in their respective roles.

One of the film's strengths is its willingness to engage with ecological themes, which were not as common in horror films at the time as they are today. Anne's research into the bats is presented as a crucial part of the effort to save both the reservation and the bats themselves, and the film ultimately suggests that human industry and exploitation are responsible for the danger the bats pose.

Another strong aspect of the film is its willingness to incorporate elements of Native American culture and spirituality into the story. The medicine man character, for example, is not simply a convenient plot device but a fully realized character with his own beliefs and values. The film also avoids the crass caricatures of Native Americans that were common in earlier Hollywood films.

One weakness of the film is its pacing, which can be slow at times. While the slow build-up of tension works well overall, there are moments where the film lingers too long on scenes that could have been trimmed down. Additionally, the film's climax is somewhat underwhelming and may leave some viewers unsatisfied.

Overall, Nightwing is an effective ecological horror film that is anchored by strong performances and a willingness to engage with complex themes. While its pacing can be slow at times, the film's creepy atmosphere and attention to detail make it a worthwhile watch for fans of the genre.

Nightwing is a 1979 horror movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 45 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.2.

Where to Watch Nightwing
Nightwing is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Nightwing for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 45 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.2  (1,672)