Wednesday, July 27, 2011

my thoughts on.... 'Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre' aka 'Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre'

How many times have you said, "I am so bored with all the horror movies out there, why can't someone make something new?" or "Why aren't there more Icelandic horror films?" I'm guessing you've said at least one of those two things before. I've got good news for you today, 'Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre' is the answer to both of those questions. Believe it or not, despite the odd subject matter, this movie is actually really good. Consider the fact that Gunnar Hansen (the original Leatherface in Tobe Hooper's 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre') is in a decent starring role. That is reason enough alone to watch it. Add into the mix some amazing cinematography and direction as well as a somewhat original script and you've got a movie well worth your time. I mean, it just feels warm watching it. It is shot in such a way that it has a gritty 70's vibe. And the countryside is amazing to look at, hell it's a movie about whale watching right? I just wish I hadn't put this one off so long, it's one I'm even considering owning. It would make a nice bookend to my collection.

Okay.... so the plot, it's fairly obvious by the title that there is whale watching, harpoons and a massacre involved. I could probably only say that much and you'd get the gist. But here's the plot breakdown from "During a whale-watching expedition in Iceland, a sightseeing group is left stranded when their captain gets wiped out. But when a seemingly helpful whaler sails by and brings the tourists aboard, he steers them to their deaths on a sadistic island. Gunnar Hansen -- who played the original "Leatherface" in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre -- co-stars in this graphically gory horror pic set adrift on the open seas." That's about it in a nutshell. It's a shame that it doesn't really give you the picture of how interesting all of these characters are. They're all very charasmatic and individual. They may be some of the stereotypes you've seen before, but they try really hard to keep it fresh and it works. So why bother with this one? Well, because I said so. No, seriously, this really is a good movie. It kind of reminds me of how I felt at the end of 'Cold Prey'. A somewhat original story told in a very well done way. I didn't see where this one was going exactly and even though there wasn't any big twist in the end or any super big surprises it still had that satisfying feeling like you'd seen something worthwhile. It made me wonder what else Iceland could offer up to the horror world in years to come? It also had a tribute to an Icelandic hero: Bjork. At a certain point in the movie, one of the women (who gets shit on by everyone), starts to sing 'It's Oh So Quiet' over the loudspeaker of the boat. It's kind of a tense moment. Also, at the end of the movie there is a quasi-death metal version of the same song. It's awesome. I've also mentioned the cinematography. There is several great scenes for that, but one in particular is where one of the men escapes by jumping off the boat. As he's swimming away, one of the killers uses a harpoon cannon to kill him. We see it from several perspectives and all of it is kick ass. (the trailer doesn't do it justice.)

All in all, I highly recommend that you put this movie in your queue tonight and watch it right away. You won't regret it or your money back! I gave it 3 out of 5 stars with a retainer that I'm going to come back to it and after a second viewing may update my decision. After all, this movie has everything a good horror movie should have. A decent plot, a high body count, unique kills, interesting characters, etc.... If you'll excuse me now, I'm going to go and cancel my reservations for my upcoming whale watching vacation. It's lost some of its appeal. Dig?

If you like this, check out other beautifully shot horror movies: 'Cold Prey', 'Let the Right One In' and 'Cemetary Man'

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