Harbinger Down (2015)

In June 1982, a Russki spacecraft is burning up on re-entry and makes a 3-point swish shot, never touching the Arctic Rim.

Then to current-day Alaska.  One of the reasons I clicked on this movie was the cover which had a nice, clean design and an attractive bluish tint.  Holy crap did they go overboard with the blue tint.  Think of the green tint in The Matrix — it was only subtly noticeable and you got used to it.  This opening of this movie looks like it was shot through a bottle of Windex.

Stephen, Sadie and Ronnell hook up with the titular Harbinger captained by Lance Henriksen.  The trio is tracking a pod of whales that have been tagged.  One of the crew tells them that research grants are nothing but white people’s government cheese.  This is from a guy nicknamed “Dock” because he used to live under one.  Seriously. Whatever it is that is going to do the killing in this joint, please start with this idiot.

While Ronnell is sleeping and Stephen is yopping, Sadie bundles up and goes up on the deck of the crab boat.  They spot something shaped like a Russki spacecraft which is attracting the whales.  So naturally, they haul it on-board.

harbinger04Ronnell is the first to notice that they are getting no cellphone service.  Being a thousand miles from a cell tower might to be blame.  Maybe they should have sprung for a satellite phone.  Sadly, she is not the least respectable of the group.  Stephen is a douche-bag determined to steal credit for the find.

Sadie nabs a Russki member of the crew and inspects the spacecraft while Stephen is distracted by a crew-member playing him like a harp.  They find the crewman still remarkably well-preserved for having spent 30 years in the ocean.  Short time later, however, it is discovered that the body is missing and a giant raw oystery-looking snot-ball kills a crewman.  Thus bringing us to the Alien portion of our program, where the crew must pursue the monster and get picked off one by one.  But that’s not a bad thing.

Shockingly, the first to go is not Dock, but is the even more unlikable Stephen.  He does not get a chestburster scene, but does get a pretty awesome backburster scene.  Unfortunately, the actor looks too much like Andy Bernard from The Office and it makes it a little hard to take the scene totally seriously.  To be fair, I’m not sure it is intended to be totally serious.

harbinger07And so the picking-off begins.  But it is not as dreary and mechanical as one might fear.  there are surprises and tentacles, teeth, and slime.

It ain’t no Alien, but then neither was Prometheus.  It floats in that middle ground, better than SyFy and Asylum, but not worth seeing in a theater.  The casting is better than the acting — I really enjoyed everyone except for the miscast Nard-Dawg.  Dock was annoying, but at least he was a character.  Even the order of deaths is not what I expected.

The plot and score are entirely adequate, and the creature is nicely unconventional and not CGI.  I doubt it was intended even on a satirical level, but the biggest horror was that it frequently reminded me of pink slime.

I feel like this was 90 minutes well-spent.


  • On Rotten Tomatoes, this film has a rating of 50% from critics and 25% from normal people.  I suspect this is due to the film’s heavy endorsement of global warming.  The quality of the film doesn’t matter as much as sticking to the state-sanctioned narrative.
  • It is also noted that the Russki chick says she “can see Alaska from my house.” It’s a pretty funny twist on the misquoted line, but clearly also pandering to the left.



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