Director: Rob Grant
Script: Rob Grant & Mike Covac
Cast: Munro Chambers, Christopher Gray, Emily Tyra, Brett Gelman
Running time: 83 minutes
There’s a certain type of film that mainstream audiences tend to have a real problem with and those are the films that don’t have an identifiable protagonist. I’m not taking about antiheroes or those films that present things in shades of grey, but films where the cast of characters, with no exception, are such an unlikable bunch of misfits that the audience simply cannot find anyone to root for. Me? I love those films. They’re the kind of films where anything goes and you spend the entire running time wondering just what unpleasant fate the filmmaker has in store for these miscreants. Harpoon just happens to be such a film and it delivers on pretty much all levels.
Harpoon tells the tale of the “friends”, Jonah (Chambers), Richard (Grey) and Sasha (Tyra). The quote marks are there because the film literally opens with Richard beating the snot out of Jonah for allegedly sleeping with his girlfriend Sasha. When the latter turns up and defuses the situation, a chastised Richard tries to make amends by taking his friends out on his personal yacht. Things rapidly spiral out of control once again, the yacht becomes stranded and a difficult situation gets worse as deep, dark secrets are revealed that push these troubled individuals into way more dangerous territory.
Harpoon is an awful lot of fun, a pitch black comedy horror that plays with concepts of entitlement, toxic masculinity, karma, isolation and insanity. And, yes, there really is no protagonist, with the possible exception of Brett Gelman’s (Stranger Things, Fleabag) narrator who guides us through this sorry tale of secrets and friendships gone bad. Co-writer and director Rob Grant delivers a tight story with a small cast and (mostly) single location, focusing the twisting narrative on the personalities of the three main characters and the events that bring them to being in the situation they find themselves in. With an 83min runtime it really doesn’t overstay its welcome.
While this is a genuinely laugh out loud comedy, the narrative dives head first into its horror elements and is most definitely not for the squeamish – when Harpoon gets dark it gets VERY dark and the investment in the characters allows for the late story revelations to hit home. To talk too much about the story here would only lead to some fairly substantial spoilers, but if you like a good dose of genuine horror with your comedy, you’ll find a lot to love with Harpoon. The script also surprisingly stays away from several overt tropes, despite early signs in the story that things might deviate in familiar directions
On the visual side, the film is also very nicely shot with the mixed isolation of the sun kissed deck of the ship and the dark and dingy cabin mixing to create a tense and lonely atmosphere in which anything can and most likely will happen. The audio is also a lovely clear mix which is critical as this is a fairly dialogue heavy film.
- Audio commentary by writer/director Rob Grant and producers Michael Peterson and Kurtis David Harder
- Director’s psychedelic audio commentary by Rob Grant
- Dropping Anchor: The Making of Harpoon, a half-hour behind-the-scenes documentary featuring interviews with the cast and crew
- Deleted Scenes with audio commentary by Rob Grant
- Diving Deeper, B-roll footage with audio commentary by Rob Grant
- Welcome Aboard, an exclusive interview with Rob Grant, conducted at the FrightFest UK premiere
- FrightFest premiere introduction and Q&A
- FrightFest TV interviews with Rob Grant
- Theatrical trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring two choices of artwork
Arrow are presenting a tasty amount of extras on this Blu-Ray release including a ton of behind the scenes and commentary content and a good archive of footage from the films UK premiere at FrightFest 2019.
Harpoon is a sharp (pun maybe intended?) black comedy that very much explores the message of “you reap what you sow” – twisty and turny and very, very much worth your time.