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I've been following the progress of Harbinger Down for over a year now,
eagerly awaiting each update. Films like John Carpenter's The Thing and
David Cronenberg's The Fly are some of my favourite films ever, and
Harbinger Down looked to bring this classic 80s practical monster
effects goodness to the present day.
The reality? For a movie that's whole purpose is to showcase practical
effects (PFX), it doesn't do this nearly enough, nor does it feature
Studio ADI's expected level of quality for these effects.
Almost all the scenes that feature the monster are poorly lit (often
only by a flashlight). This is to be expected to a certain extent,
being a horror film, however if you watch The Thing/The Fly, you'll
notice the creature is always at the forefront, in all it's grisly
detail. In Harbinger Down you never truly get a good look at the
creature, which I'm sure will be disappointing to many, as the whole
point of the movie was to show off an awesome looking creature. What's
more, there is a distinct lack of quality for some of the monster
effects, something that is unheard of in Studio ADI's other work.
Presumably this is why the effects are often obscured by shadow and low
light. The few scenes that are well lit are either far too brief or
garishly poor quality (the first appearance of the monster comes to
mind). There is also a distinct lack of blood/gore in the film, which
is a major shortfall. John Carpenter's The Thing is a hideously
gruesome film, and that plays a big part in why the film is so loved.
This film features barely any blood and gore, and the few scenes that
do are often brief and very conservative on the bloodiness. I don't
believe I'm wrong in assuming most people interested in these kind of
films want to see gruesome practical creature effects and all the
bloody mess that goes with that. Harbinger Down completely fails on
It feels below Studio ADI, as I know what incredible work they can do.
I appreciate the budget was low for this movie, but the movie's whole
purpose was to show off PFX and prove to the industry that CGI isn't
always the best option. It feels like they have shot themselves in the
foot, as this film is a poor effort at showcasing the power of PFX. A
little more time and money could have refined the effects and really
made a statement about PFX (which, ultimately, could lead to much more
work for Studio ADI).
Unfortunately there's nothing outside the creature effects that is even
remotely noteworthy. There's a lot of inexperience here, with
directing, writing, movie pacing and acting, and it shows. But this is
something that is hardly surprising, or overly important. All I was
expecting was some gorgeously gruesome creature effects. I was happy to
settle down for a hammy, poorly acted film - but in a "so bad it's
good" way - where the monster would take centre stage and wreck up the
place. The monster instead cowers in a dark corner, ashamed to show
it's ugly face, while unlikeable characters and a largely un-engaging
plot take the centre stage.
I'm a huge fan of Studio ADI's work and I adore practical creature
effects. But this doesn't cut it. This is a poor movie. A poor movie
that could have redeemed all it's shortcomings in acting, filmwork,
writing, etc by just having regular, explicit monster appearances
showcasing ADI work at it's best. This is, sadly, not what Harbinger
Tags for Harbinger Down Full Movie
, Giovonnie Samuels
, Lance Henriksen
, Matt Winston
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