Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Pihla Viitala, Gunnar Hansen, Terence Anderson, Aymen Hamdouchi
Directed by Julius Kemp
Distributed by Image Entertainment
I, like no doubt many of you, was sold by the title of this flick alone (it’s also known as Harpoon: Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre). How can any slasher fan not be excited by the mere notion of something as absurd as a whale watching massacre? It’s easy to go into this flick guns a’blazing and expecting some really unique bits of mayhem, but can Julius Kemp’s film live up to its colorful moniker?
After a disturbing accident with a drunken Frenchman (who doesn’t hate when that happens?), a group of whale watchers find themselves adrift at sea after their boat captain (Hansen) is left bloodied and near death. With no one to turn to, they head to the radio to send out an SOS. The only other problem for our helpless passengers? Cries for help can also fall upon the wrong ears. The people they raise on the radio end up being a deranged mother and her cannibalistic sons, and before you know it, we have a true Texas Chainsaw type scenario smack dab in the middle of the unforgiving ocean and brutally cold weather.
Just like the film’s title, that sounds fucking fantastic, doesn’t it? Well, the good news is Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre definitely hits more than it misses by offering up some really cool kills and taking full advantage of the film’s harsh setting. The only problem? It misses, too … and frequently. The actors, most of whom are foreign, deliver their lines in a very stilted English, and as a result the acting has a bad habit of pulling you out of the action. Couple that with the fact that the movie takes a good chunk of time to get going, and you have a rather uneven experience that ends up having the good slightly outweigh the bad.
Special note regarding Gunnar Hansen … I’m not sure if his voice was dubbed or he was just delivering a really bad floaty accent, but it’s nearly impossible not to smile every time he’s delivering a line.
If you have access to the tech, Blu-ray is definitely the way to go here because the 1080p image is amazing. The film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and the depth and amount of detail are simply razor sharp and impressive. The DVD holds its own, too; but man, I can assure you this is a no contest win for high definition. The film’s DTS HD 5.1 soundtrack is comparable on both packages but, just like the film itself, comes off as a bit uneven due to balancing issues between the soundtrack and the dialogue, though sometimes the less we hear from the actors, the better.
Both packages are also home to the sole special feature: a short Behind-the-Scenes Featurette with Gunnar Hansen. Basically all this amounts to is making-of B-roll with bits of an interview with Gunnar spliced in here and there. Sorry, but this just does not float the old boat.
Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre is definitely worth a look, especially for its over-the-top moments. The door is left wide open for a sequel, and we’re pretty sure it can only get better from here. Looking for some slaughter with a tinge of international flavor? Look no further!
3 out of 5
1 out of 5
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