HARPOON: THE REYKJAVIC WHALE WATCHING MASSACRE (2009) Review


Directed by Julius Kemp
Written by Sjon Sigurdsson
Starring Pihla Viitala, Nae Yuuki, Terrence Anderson, Gunnar Hansen, Miranda Hennessey, & Aymen Hamdouchie

On the one hand, HARPOON: THE REYKJAVIC WHALE WATCHING MASSACRE is your typical line up a group of fodder for a family of freaks to slash through flick. TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE on a boat or HILLS HAVE EYES on the open sea. In a lot of ways, that’s this film in a nutshell. On the other hand, it does the typical stalk and slash in an artsy and stylish manner with enough thrills and scenes of gore to be recommended here on AICN HORROR.

A group of tourists gather to go on a whale watching sea tour. The group is made up of an international cast, which at least gives the usual victims different accents and languages to differentiate from one another. After the whale watching boat takes off, the narrative cuts to another ship with a group of swarthy types talking about how annoying GreenPeace folks are. That seems to be the motivation behind this family of whale hugger killers (you’ve got to appreciate a family of killer pirates who hate sea hippies).

Gunnar Hansen’s name is on the cover of this one, but his role is very small here. At first, I thought he was the burly lead killer, but turns out he’s the Captain of the whale watching ship. And you know what happens to captains of ships like these in films like this. Soon, the tourists are adrift at sea, and though the ship on the horizon seems like their rescue, it’s really only assurance that this nightmare at sea is going to get a whole lot horrific.

HARPOON is a fun horror romp. The kills take full advantage of the sea boat setting; causing me to laugh out loud at how ludicrous they are. At the same time, HARPOON is pretty stylishly shot. Some of the scenes are chilling and beautiful all at once and the setting of the bleak Northern sea makes for a creepy backdrop. Though it goes through the regular paces of your conventional slasher family film, HARPOON stands out with enough original ideas, kills, shots, and locales to be a whole lot of fun. Bonus points are awarded for the effective use of Bjork’s “It’s Oh So Quiet” in two versions in the film (the thrash metal version over the credits being my favorite).

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