“Harbinger Down”, the new horror sci-fi feature by Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff (studio ADI), is definitely a new classic in the genre. Funded initially by social media and later partnering with Dark Dunes Productions, “Harbinger Down” features enough eye candy and location dynamics to thrill any UFO fan to the very quick. Beginning with the prologue of a Russian space capsule’s crash landing in the Arctic Circle back in 1982 – to present day- watching a team of naive, hopeful, and cheery college students with their teacher in route on a class field trip. Dressed all warm and cuddly for the crisp white snow, like lambs to slaughter, they are on their way to check out a pod of tagged Beluga Whales in the Bering Sea. One of the students grandfather owns the Harbinger; a weather warned, yet sturdy and reliable crab fishing vessel. He has agreed to let them come along on this fishing voyage detail to do their assignment.
Lance Hendrickson, playing the grandfather, Graff, is a treasure in the drivers seat as captain of the ship, both literally and figuratively. His mere presence in the film brings a sigh of relief and an uneasy comfort; confident that you’re in the right hands for this frightening adventure. Camille Balsamo playing Sade, his granddaughter and the leader of this class expedition, brightens the screen as the scholarly college student turned “heroine on a mission”. At times she is reminiscent of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley in the classic “Aliens” franchise. Matt Winston, ( son of Stan Winston) playing Stephen, is deliciously terrific as the character with an “opposing viewpoint”. The welcomed, beautifully diverse team of mixed cultural misfit -shipmates do perfect justice to each role, be it sabotage or allegiance.
Harbinger Down proves any excuse for a good old scary movie, out in the cold, dark and icy glacier filled sea during a storm…. is a good one. It is one of those horror films you will want to watch over and over again. Making you scream: “Don’t go in that water! Why would you dig in that ice; haven’t we learned not to do that?”
What came to earth this time will remind you of the classics the film pays homage to….”The Thing”, “Predator”, and, of course, “Aliens”. Yet this new creature is cleverly inventive and yes, very scary; making what might have easily been cliche, refreshed and revised. The story plot lines, as usual, are mere backdrops to most monster movies. The captain and his granddaughter, nerdy fellow students, and a comic rag tag crew, with a rogue alien about, make for a lot of scary fun and chilling moments to thrill. Will they defeat the harbinger within? Who if any will survive? Will there be a sequel? Seen on the big or small screen, the images, sound FX and great score by Christopher Drake will make your skin crawl and your blood run cold. Harbinger Down is instantly a new “old favorite”.
“Harbinger Down”, along with Alec and Tom’s many other accomplishments prove once again that following your own Zen is the true path of successful creativity. “Harbinger Down:” is one for your collection.
If you missed it on the big screen, “Harbinger Down” is now on VOD and as of September 1, 2015 you can own the DVD.
Writer/Director: Alec Gillis
Producer: Alec Gillis, Sultan Saeed Al Darmaki, Tom Woodruff, Jr.,
Benjamin L. Brown, Camille Balsamo
Starring: Lance Henriksen, Camille Balsamo, Matt Winston
Reid Collums, Milla Bjorn, Winston James Francis, Mike Estime, Edwin Bravo