A black comedy horror from Rob Grant. More polished than last year’s Alive, but with some forgivable flaws.
Harpoon is frankly a riot. Richard (Christopher Gray), his girlfriend Sasha (Emily Tyra), and his best mate Jonah (Munro Chambers) find themselves stranded on a yacht far from land; and they also find they trust each other a lot less than they thought. How long can they handle the mounting tension between them, let alone anxiety for survival, thirst, hunger, and injury?
Rob Grant made Alive, one of the horror films I enjoyed at last year’s Grimmfest; but apart from focusing again on three main characters, Harpoon couldn’t have been more different. The acting and writing are a little more polished, the pace is a lot more energetic and it is set under a wide, bright, sunny sky. Harpoon feels like a film made with a bigger budget and more confidence, and I think this is the one that will reward Grant with more attention.
Those three main characters and the actors (largely unknown) who play them are all excellent. Richard, Sasha, and Jonah all seem kind of two dimensional at first, but every one of them surprises us at some point. Richard has wealthy parents and a volatile temper; loyal (to a point), and expects everyone else to be too. Jonah is more down to Earth, wants to get along with people and follow his heart, but it just gets harder. Sasha is my favorite, a delight to watch and try to keep up with.
The mood of the film was a little odd though. It is definitely a horror-comedy, and rarely both moods at once: usually, Harpoon transitioned from farcical black humor to bloody tension very smoothly (so much that you can almost forget a different mood was there just a minute earlier at times), but occasionally that change happens with an uncomfortable jolt. Sure, that’s to be expected with a film of surprises, but I’m equally sure it can be done better.
And I’m undecided about the voiceover. He filled in some gaps, so Grant could just crack on with the plot, but who was this narrator?
Nevertheless, Harpoon was incredibly entertaining, fast-paced and beautifully shot. Look out for it when it comes to the Arrow Video Amazon Channel on 18 October.
Alix has been writing for Ready Steady Cut since November 2017. They cover a wide variety, including genre festivals, and especially appreciates wit and representation on screen.