I sampled a slice of Icelandic survival horror recently, in the form of Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre. I wish I had remained on land.
The tale of a pleasure cruise gone deadly wrong, Harpoon unfolds on the cold waters off Iceland’s coast, as a boatload of international tourists set off on a (three-hour?) whale-watching expedition. When a freak accident leaves their captain mortally wounded, folks become stranded, and the ocean’s loveliness suddenly turns ominous. Help seemingly arrives in the form of a mysterious, bearded whaler (horror veteran Gunnar Hansen) who offers to take them back to shore, but instead leaves them on a decaying barge. At first the strandees believe they’re alone, until they discover that the barge is already occupied by a psychopathic family who likes to hunt humans. Bummer, dude!
Award-winning novelist (and occasional Bjork collaborator)
Sjon Sigurdsson penned the movie, and tries to sprinkle in some cultural differences amidst all the corpses-to-be, to differentiate between characters and give them something tangible to “overcome.” Unfortunately, director Julius Kemp doesn’t have the chops to deliver on this approach, and instead, after a first half that lags badly, gives in to stupid special effects (an animatronic killer whale pops up) and poorly staged gore.
Housed in a regular case, Harpoon comes to Blu-ray presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound audio track, in a transfer that looks more than a bit underlit. An interview with Hansen complements a fairly run-of-the-mill making-of featurette, laden with behind-the-scenes footage and more interaction with cast and crew. The creative name makes Harpoon seem like it might be a wild romp that puts an electric spin on American horror conventions. It most certainly does not. Nonetheless, to purchase the Blu-ray via Amazon, click here. D+ (Movie) C+ (Disc)