Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Inanimate / Harbinger Down (2015) - Review

So Harbinger Down is one of many Kickstarter pledged films which offered a film which uses practical effects over CGI, this time from Amalgamated Dynamics were left disappointed by having the majority of their work cut out of The Thing prequel. I feel the CGI harmed the final cut of that film as it didn't commit to the style of the original classic, with it being very noticeable, affecting the opinions of the more bitchy fans, ie. me.

So the story follows Sadie (Camille Balsamo), a student investigating the effects of global warming on the ice caps. To save money she books her grandfathers crabbing boat the Harbinger. After discovering a downed Soviet moon lander, they thaw it out to discover a dead astronaut. Graff (Lance Henriksen) decides they need to head back to the harbour to turn over the lander to the government, against Sadie's professors wishes. Unfortunately, something was frozen in the lander with the astronaut, which starts infecting the crew.
So the film borrows from the 1982 version of The Thing quite a bit, but fails to get the same tense feeling and mistrust that The Thing did so well. The idea of the film is to show how amazing practical effects are, but they kind of fall short on for me, as the main monster, when you see it towards the end, looks like Graboid like from Tremors. One of the crew also comes back looking really good and disgusting when they return to attack one of the survivors. Everything else though is seen with poor light so you can't see it properly.
Alec Gillis, special effect artist come director, is OK in his first outing, which was also written by him. However, the film is very cliche, with dead parents, an antagonist who wants credit for some one else's discovery, to a bad ass father figure. The acting is passable, as is the script, but I feel there wasn't enough to set this film apart. That being said, this isn't a terrible film, in fact I did enjoy it for what it is, a nod towards the classic horror's of the 80s; it just needed more. Final verdict is a 4/10: a below average attempt. I'm going 4 rather then 5 because I feel they failed in their ultimate goal to show what they can do. With films like Aliens, The Thing, Tremors and Starship Troopers, we know they can do so much better. But I'm holding out hope this is just the start of Alec Gillis and his mission to show everyone how awesome practical effects are. Richee 

Also, why the heck did the film title get changed to Inanimate in Europe over Harbinger Down? Makes no sense to me. 

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