Written and directed by Alec Gillis, Harbinger Down is supposed to be a homage to Sci-fi / Horror films of the 80’s like The Thing, The Fly and Aliens but I don’t think it achieves that. The Sci-fi element is there but the film isn’t scary at all. It only comes off as weird, well at least the creatures do. In this film a group of people on a ship come across the remains of a soviet space piece that contains mutating creatures. Everyone on the boat is exposed and after the first person is used as a host, mutated and killed, the others have to find a way to stop the creatures. Most of the time the film felt boring, all of the excitement comes when the creatures appear attacking each of the humans, picking them off one by one.
Lance Henriksen plays Graff, the captain of the ship who’s performance is the best out of all the actors. Camille Balsamo plays Sadie Graff, the granddaughter of Graff as well as a grad student. She’s the main character but you don’t care for her because she comes off as dry. Matt Winston as Stephen was the most exciting character, often at odds with the group. Things became boring again soon as he died (with him being the first victim), until Milla Bjorn’s character Svet is found out to be a Russian spy against the Americans on the boat. In a gun point standoff against the others on the boat, the creatures kill the spy. Now, the film wasn’t scary. The different forms the creature mutated into just seemed weird. It looked like the creature could multiply itself and come back together. You could tell the movie was indie because of the limitations of certain scenes and the effects. I didn’t care about the characters as the movie went on. I just wondered how the survivors were going to stop these things.
Whenever I watch a movie whether it’s a big budgeted backed by a huge studio or a small indie, I like to give that film about fifteen minutes to capture me, or make me care about any of the characters to keep watching. With this movie, I didn’t care about any character. I only kept watching to see the result of the Soviet space craft that crashed in the first flashback scene. What kind of monster would it be? I guess you can say I was interested in the monster. Another thing when I watch movies, whether it’s critically acclaimed or trashed, I ask myself would I want to watch this film again? I would not want to view this film again, no disrespect to everyone who worked on it.