Director: Alec Gillis
Cast: Lance Henriksen, Camille Balsamo, Matt Winston, Giovonnie Samuels, Winston James Francis, Mick Ignis, Michael Estime, Jason Speer, Reid Collums
Runtime: 1 hr 22 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Some Violence and Disturbing Scenes)
Released By: Shaw
Opening Day: 13 August 2015
Synopsis: A group of grad students have booked passage on the fishing trawler Harbinger to study the effects of global warming on a pod of Orcas in the Bering Sea. When the ship's crew dredges up a recently thawed piece of old Soviet space wreckage, things get downright deadly. It seems that the Russians experimented with tardigrades, tiny resilient animals able to withstand the extremes of space radiation. The creatures survived, but not without mutation. Now the crew is exposed to aggressively mutating organisms. And after being locked in ice for 3 decades, the creatures aren't about to give up the warmth of human companionship.
Welcome aboard to Harbinger! The nameless, faceless entity shrouded in an unsuspecting massive clot of ice seeks a new host to feed on, grow on and hunt down within a matter of minutes. Everyone denies the one possibility of them being the next one to be deliberated and holds on to a false hope that the ‘it’ could never harm them. Is liquid nitrogen released in an icy whoosh from a cylinder good enough to wipe out the shapeshifting curse at its ugliest and save all? Or is it just about time to send out a Mayday?
Lance Henriksen who is much of a household name to films of the preceding genre (jogging memory back to Aliens, The Terminator and Alien VS Predator) did justice to his part as a tempestuous captain of a fishing trawler trapped a fitting tumultuous weather. Camille Balsamo plays to be a wise grand-daughter of the captain who makes a discovery only to be met with strife from her uni mentor spearheading the entire project. With a host of versatile actors forming an assemblage from both big screens and otherwise, it is indeed a rude shock to have Harbinger Down’s wind robbed off its sails.
The liberator of the plot would actually be the theme or rather themes of the film weaved into one and branded as a Sy-fy flick. There is some political drama kicking in at circa 40 minutes into the storyline which is evenly punctuated with a safe measure of family drama thus allowing some room for the plot to be a tad bit more engaging. Hailing as a science fiction genre, everything could have been richly imagined since space would be the limit with puns intended, of course.
Harbinger Down’s agenda? Bringing the nauseating back. Was it realised eventually? Yes. To a king-sized degree. Except that the warmth of the plot was amiss. The theatrical poster matches the level of grimness of the international trailer which heightens the viewer expectations.
Harbinger Down is guilty as charged for stereotypical characterisation with Russians downing Vodka shots and drawling in the sexiest accent possible, blacks getting infected sooner than anticipated, and little miss brunette being the smart ar*e.
Harbinger Down sets sail exclusively for all faithful Alien franchise followers.
Watch this if you had liked: Alien (1986), The Fly (1986), Shakma (1990) and Piranha (1995).
(Calling all Sy-Fy buffs. Let the frozen mystery transport us back to the somewhat bleak future with its 80 plus minutes of SFX (we have a man performing in a suit, actually) paired with unearthly mewling and tentacles swaying about in repulsive fashion. Good to expect lots of grossology from the icy enigma. If only Sigourney Weaver was on board, Harbinger Down would be blazing even in the coming eons.)
Review by Asha Gizelle M