July 12, 2017

Harbinger Down

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Well, after almost a month, the guys finally all got together to watch a movie that was a big "suck it" it the people who made the most recent version of The Thing.

See, it turns out that a practical effects house had been hired to do the special effects for that movie, and they did. They put a ton of work into their creepy creations. And then, when the movie was release, it turned out that all of those nifty critters and assorted other effects were replaced with CGI.

Now, it has been established with the guys that they have no problem with CGI effects, especially when done really well. (For reference, check out our reviews of Space Station 76, Galaxy Quest, and any number of other flicks we really enjoyed.) That's not what this is about.

This is about a group of effects guys who worked with effects wizard Stan Winston from 1979 until Winston passed away in 2008. These guys knew what they were doing, is what we're saying.

So imagine their disappointment and, no doubt, straight-up anger when all their hard work on The Thing was replaced with someone else's work. And that brings us to this week's movie, Harbinger Down.

Starring Lance Henriksen, who has clearly had enough of your shit.
To put it bluntly, this movie is basically The Thing, but on a crabbing boat. But that's not to say that it is some kind of Asylum-like cheesefest. Far from it.

Henriksen is Captain Graff, the skipper of the crabbing boat Harbinger. His granddaughter, Sadie (Camille Balsamo) gets his permission to come onboard with her professor, Stephen (Matt Winston) and her friend/assistant Ronelle (Giovannie Samuels), and search for whales. A fourth person comes onboard, Svet (Milla Bjorn), a mysterious Russian woman who likes to fight with the boat's giant, Big G (Winston James Francis), and the crew is off and running.

When Sadie picks up a signal she believes to be whales, she drops a microphone into the water. What she ends up finding, however, is a crashed Russian spaceship encased in ice.

After bringing in out of the water, they chisel through the ice and find the ship's single inhabitant, and he is dead. He is also covered with what looks like some kind of strange scars. Sadie and Svet make plans to come back and take a sample of the dead cosmonaut's flesh for further analysis.

Hello? are you okay?
What they find is something they believe to be a virus of some kind. And when Stephen sees the two of them returning from the hold where the ship is being kept, he decides to see what the big deal is.

Poking around inside the cabin of the spacecraft, Stephen, a man who is supposed to be a scientist, starts grabbing stuff and handling things left and right. He is clearly not very good at his job. Also, the dead guy is no longer there.

Whatever the dead guy turned into (it looks like an angry wad of gelatin), it eats the guy running things in the engine room.

Also, someone took the captain's strawberries!
Up in the wheelhouse, Graff tells Sadie that his plan is to get in contact with the Russians and give them back their crashed ship. Stephen storms in, demanding instead that Sadie sign over her rights to the salvage to him, so he can use it to make a bunch of money, as evil scientists are wont to do.

Unfortunately for Stephen, , it turns out that the poor choices he made when grabbing any random thing in the crashed spacecraft come back to haunt him, as the virus has taken over his body and wants to murder him and everybody else.

And it is super gross.
Now that the Stephen-monster has sprayed its monster goo all over the place, everybody is suspected of being infected. Also, Svet is now suspected of something nefarious, although it isn't quite made apparent just yet.

One by one, the crew start disappearing, as does two tons of crab that they had caught before all this started. The monster has to eat something, and the miniscule crew just isn't getting the job done.

After most of the crew is dead, Svet is revealed to be a Russian spy, and not only is she there to take the spacecraft back home, but she also plans to blow up the Harbinger so there's nobody left to complain. To that end, she has placed six different explosive devices around the ship, and it's up to Big G, Sadie, and Graff to find them. While Big G is keeping an eye on Svet, she gets attacked and turned into an evil critter herself. And that critter wants to kill Big G. (This feels personal...)

AHHHH! It's an H.R. Giger sex doll!
Big G saves Graff from immediate death, but doesn't save him from getting sprayed with monster goo. Now infected, Graff feels like maybe they should oughta hurry up and find the explosives. He orders Big G to fix the boat's driveshaft while he goes to help Sadie. But just as Big G fixes the driveshaft, the monster comes and takes him out.

Now, with only Graff and Sadie left to fight the monster, what are they gong to do? Will Graff survive? Will Sadie? Will the monster take over the whole boat and begin a long and lucrative career as the world's first alien-based crab fishing company? You'll have to listen to find out!

Derek was pleasantly surprised. He did not have high expectations, being as this was a direct-to-video release, even with Lance Henriksen involved. He is also bothered by Svet's randomly disappearing accent.

Jake picked the movie, and it is clear from the beginning that he was totally into it. He also offers a lot of background about the reason this movie was made, as well as some nifty information about the guys who made it.

Larry also liked it, but was deeply disturbed by just how incredibly greasy the guy in the engine room is. That guy is really super filthy. Larry is also into the look of the monster, although he wanted to see more of it.

@redtache is now the guys' official "foreign correspondent". He wasn't as impressed with the movie as the others, although his problem is largely with the story itself. He thinks it feels too minimal.

So put on your HAZMAT suit, grab a handful of monster goo, and listen to this week's episode!