Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Harbinger Down, The Thing on a Crab Boat

Even a poor rip-off of "John Carpenter's The Thing" is better than anything George Clooney or Harrison Ford have done lately.  Though a rip-off, 2015's "Harbinger Down" is not a poor film.  In fact, the monster is really slimy and cool, Lance Henriksen does a fine job, and the eerie setting on the Bering Sea is perfect for a horror film. Throw in some post-cold war intrigue and we have a surprisingly effective film.  Don't get me wrong, a tentacled thing that morphs into crew members and friends is always a great plot device.
Never a good idea....bring your granddaughter to work day! That's exactly what Cpt. Graff (Henriksen) does on the crab boat Harbinger. Sadie (Camille Belsamo)  is the attractive granddaughter, who is completing a graduate school project seeking to prove arctic ice is melting (Yawn!). Her and a few classmates (monster bait) board the ship and must share space with veteran crabbers (...a great subject for a sit-com).  Uh-oh!  The crabbers haul up an unexpected catch....a Soviet space capsule which crash landed on 1982.  Surprise, it was a secret cold-war mission in which this craft was returning from the moon.  Double uh-oh....something on the moon snuck onto it.
As the craft thaws, a slimy thing crawls out and instantly enters the faculty adviser, Stephen (Matt Winston).  His transformation will be quick, and very public.  As everyone else witnesses this tentacled menace disappear into the drains, a storm sets in preventing the ship from moving.  Instead of a flame thrower, the crew arms themselves with fire extinguishers loaded with liquid nitrogen.  As more and more hands are taken over, Svet (Milla Bjorn) emerges as a sultry crew member who knows more than she is letting on.  As the thing gets larger, angrier, and develops an attitude, it seems unstoppable.  The crabs in the hold have also been taken over making the thing even uglier.  As the survivors battle the ticked-off monster, and the mysterious Svet, Cpt. Graff and Sadie formulate a long-shot plan to kill the fiend and survive.
Who is Svet and what does she know about our slimy friend?  Has the crabbing industry's desire to become more family friendly enabled the carnage that unfolds before us?  Is "Harbinger Down" a thinly veiled film history of Sig Hansen and the men of the Northwestern? Great monster and Lance Henriksen as a crab boat captain.....what more could you ask for?  See "Harbinger Down" on Netflix.

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