Last night I popped a bag of popcorn and settled in to watch Alec Gillis’ new horror film ‘Harbinger Down’. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the special effects master did not disappoint. You should recognize Gillis’ name. He has done the special effects for many films including ‘Aliens’, ‘The Monster Squad’ (1987), ‘AVP’, ‘Ender’s Game’ and several films of the ‘Tremors’ franchise.
‘Gillis’ both wrote and directed ‘Harbinger Down’, which stars horror veteran Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Matt Winston (Star Trek: Enterprise), Camille Balsamo (Murder in the First), Giovonnie Samuels (Freedom Writers), Reid Collums (Whiplash), Winston James Francis (Little Boy), Milla Bjorn (Angel), Michael Estime (Beyond Merritt), Edwin H. Bravo (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End), Mick Ignis (Designed for Dreaming), Jason Speer (The Visitant) and Kraig W. Strutz.
In ‘Harbinger Down’ two students and their professor board the ship ‘Harbinger’, a crabbing vessel, to study the effects of global warming on the migration pattern of whales. Sadie (Balsamo), one of the students, is the granddaughter of the Captain of the Harbinger (Henricksen). The ship is operating in the Bering Sea when Sadie picks up the calls of a pod of whales. When she lowers an underwater camera she notices a blinking light within the ice. The object is brought aboard the ship. The ice is chipped away to reveal a Russian space-pod and an Astronaut frozen inside. Once the pod is lowered into the hold the ice begins to thaw, unleashing a creature onto the ship. The creature can not only shift from liquid to solid and back, it has the ability to infect it’s host and change their DNA causing frightening mutations. One by one the crew falls prey to the creature. As if the crew weren’t facing enough problems, someone aboard the ship is not who they appear to be and the ship is in danger of going down.
Even though Henriksen is not the star of the film his character, Graff, a hard weathered Captain, stands out. The entire cast played their roles well. The film is filled with action and cool creature sequences. The creatures were great in ‘Harbinger Down’. If you liked ‘The Thing’, this film is for you. I was expecting great effects, after all Gillis’ does have an impressive track record for creature designs, and I was not disappointed.
‘Harbinger Down’ is now out on DVD, if you haven’t seen it, I recommend that you go pick up a copy or rent it.