Having previously seen Rob Grant’s work before named Mon Ami (2012) at the Terror Film Festival held long ago in Philadelphia, PA, I knew the vein and approach of his latest work Harpoon took witnessing the first act. While Rob wrote the script he was assisted by Mike Kovac who worked on at least one of Grant’s previous films Fake Blood (2017). The story was inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, involving adventures and misadventures on the sea, except Harpoon sails with a stormy crew filled of rivalries, dark secrets, and tension in a dark comedic thriller, rather than straight-up horror. The film also received positive distribution from both Epic Pictures Group and Dread Central Presents who’ve collectively released some films called Book of Monsters (2018), Extremity (2018), and Hoax (2019).
It begins with an opening welcoming narration by Brett Gelman who discusses three kinds of friendship: friendships of utility, friendships of pleasure, and friendships of the good from when we enter to into a world in chaos. Richard (Christopher Gray) who is dating Sasha (Emily Tyra) and believes his best pal Jonah (Munro Chambers), who is also a friend of Sasha, is having a romantic tryst, which leads to Richard giving him a violent beating. Sasha enters and stops the violence and explains why they been so secretive which is because since it’s Richard a birthday she wanted to give him a harpoon but mistook it for a speargun. Richard knows he needs to really apologize and decides they all must enjoy a day’s leisurely cruise on his yacht, clearly this trio has done many things together and this is just another bump in the road. One also learns about the superstitions involving boats, there’re plenty of them, among is the curse a red-head on board, perhaps that’s why so many cruise ships are having issues (just kidding) and then killing of a seabirds as maritime legends believe that carried the souls of the dead sailors, so many more dating back likely forever. As they venture on the cruise it goes okay to bad in a hurry, as they find themselves with no gas, no communication and low on food and water. If fact, they even outside the normal shipping lanes, and this is just the beginning of the explosive situations which await them, by the end it becomes clear these friends have more in common with their sinister thoughts than as good ole’ buddies.
The movie contains very enjoyable cinematography, and it layers itself with more lies, tension and superstitions aided with a small cast that that’ll backstab each other for a momentary gain and uses some the blackest humor seen lately in a thriller, since perhaps film festival favorite Big Bear (2017) another comedic thriller.
Aside from the three principal actors who make the entire voyage a believable cruise, thanks in part to their performances, it is Grant’s directing that keeps the audience making assumptions, as nothing is ever how it seems, thereby creating a story thoroughly satisfying. It holds the viewers’ attention, quite well through multiple antics, lies, and never “jumping the shark” rather using that restraint to cause depraved moments to explore in a sharp plot centralized to one location, that reminds some of other thrillers located on small vessels such as Lifeboat (1944), Dead Calm (1989), and most recently Mary (2019). Lastly, when it comes to friends, there are ones that have benefits (get your mind out of the gutter) those with wonderful toys – boats, vacation homes, etc.; and then those that’ll help you move or even put you up for months after your world crashes apart and those special ones, you know, those that help move a body and keep it a secret, after watching this flick you might need to decide how to group your friends, ready for that game?
IMDB Rating: 6.3/10
Baron’s Rating: 6.0/10