Reed Alexander's Review of "Harbinger Down (2015)"
K-Mart's "The Thing"
Yeah, it was okay... Honestly, I'm a total fan boy for Lance Hendriksen, and have a fucked-up raging man boner for just about everything he's ever been in. Go figure...
So, I guess you can say I can't really be objective. But then I guess I also never really claimed to be. As a matter of fact, if you go back and read my older reviews, it should be blatantly obvious that I have a level of favoritism for some things in horror. This can be anything from actors, to genres, to eras. What can I say. If it's a 90s movie, with Lance Hendriksen, in a creature feature flick, I'm rock hard and sky high like the Washington Monument. Yes, I'm saying Pumpkin Head is basically spank material for me.
But let’s look at the overall quality, shall we? I really wasn't that bad. Atmosphere was on lock. It really sold its sense of isolationism. The characters were a bit weird, and a lot of strong personalities were clashing. But non-standard is good. As a matter of fact, they really tried to keep all their characters well fleshed out, and none where so overly obnoxious that you just wished death on them. It also makes sense if you think about it. The closest I could compare the crew of The Harbinger to is the crew of Deadliest Catch. Plot was stupid simple and that's okay. Acting was even pretty good for horror.
I like a good Cronenberg movie. Though, this was essentially just one big fucking rip-off of the 80's movie The Thing with water bears... yeah, that's right, water bears. Cuddly little Tardigrades gone all freaky mutant. Tardigrades?! Go read a fucking biology book for fuck sake! And anyway, like The Thing, if they get into your system, it’s only a matter of hours before you’re mutating and trying to eat your friends. The delivery of this sense of paranoia wasn’t as good as The Thing though. You pretty much knew who was infected.
Anyway, I appreciate the fact that there was limited CGI. Good old rubber monster Cronenberg’s from a little studio that probably only made enough money off this movie to pay the actors. Too much CGI would have ruined what they worked so hard to establish with their marvelous atmosphere.
You know, I could complain that there wasn't one original idea in this movie, but I didn’t really mind it so much. Sometimes, if done right, rip-offs are just a perfect nod to the originals. After all, imitation is the greatest form of flattery.
I am gonna pick a bone with the movie about killing off all the minorities as is customary in the industry these days. AT LEAST they didn't kill them all off first but, c'mon... you couldn't have one of the minorities live to the end? At least the very end?! You could kill them off at the end but at least give them some fucking screen time.
Now there were a lot of places to complain about the plot and its driving devices, such as when the tardigrades are dangerous vs. when they're not. Honestly, for shit horror with rubber monsters, if you're in it for a masterpiece storyline, I question your motivations. There was a lot of riff worthy content and that, in of itself, makes it worth the while. Oh, and the creatures kind of look like Meteoroids. Pretty fucking cool.
But it's fun, it’s violent, riff worthy, and I like that. Simplicity almost to a fault, but still good. I recommend for riffers and hardcore horror fans only. Still, I recommend.