Directed by Julius Kemp
Story by Torsten Metalstein Hvas & Sjon
Written by Sjon
Starring: Pihla Viitala
**** (4 out of 5 stars)
First, let me state that I have been waiting to see this movie ever since I saw the description of it on www.upcominghorrormovies.com even when it was just a plot synopsis. So when reading this review, keep in mind that due to my excited state when I finally got to see this movie I may be biased.
That being said: I love this movie. If you're looking for an hour and a half of pure debauchery, gore and mayhem then this movie has got what you are looking for. Some of the acting is a little off, and of course the script isn't exactly tailored to Bogart, but I still feel that this is a solid addition to the psycho family genre. It's original in the sense that usually we find this sort of story working in the backwoods down South, or in a remote region somewhere in the European areas; here, we find a demented family floating the oceans on a large whale hunting ship, scrambling for meat on the open water. The setup is a bunch of tourists that are going on a whale watching vessel to, you guessed it- watch whales. Of course, through the jigs and reels (pardon the lameness), they end up in the clutches of the aforementioned psychopathic family of whale hunters. The mother and her two sons are horny, hungry, and dying to kill. From here it's a run of the mill horror, with some of the tourists being killed off brutally and of course the family takes a few hits.
One thing that I didn't like about this film but it doesn't surprise me they put it in there, is the rape scene. One of the young tourists is a beautiful young woman, who we assume from the start seems to be damaged goods; she is lured by a crew member into a room downstairs, where she is then forced to have sex. The thing that bothers me most is that most movies in the horror genre always use that rape scene as the "go to" scene. Right off the bat, we get this. The other disturbing part about this scene which pushes it past the typical rape scenario is that when one of the other female members of the tourist group finds him forcing himself onto the other girl, she just stands there as if she is disgusted with her; you'd figure that from one woman to another, she would have at least asked "Are you alright?". Not here. Maybe that's what makes it a good placement, that it's not your typical rape scene, there is no feeling bad, there is no want for revenge. It's like we're meant to look at this girl as a skank, because that's what this other chick obviously thought. We don't even get to see anybody take some revenge on the guy either- the girl had sought him out to let him know the Captain of the ship had been seriously injured, and after he figures that out above deck he takes one of the lifeboats and sails the open sea by himself, leaving the tourists out on a limb. This is where the family comes in and all hell breaks loose.
The biggest plus for this movie overall are the amazing kills. We get everything from double head shots, a ridiculously cheesy decapitation, Kamikaze action, and a good flare to the eye. The effects were great- there was lots of excellent gore to satisfy the hungriest horror fans. Even in the end, the girls finally see a whale and it tries to kill them. Can't get any better than that.
Another thing that made this movie even better for me was the fact that the protagonist of this story is a gay, black man. We find this out shortly after the horror starts up on the whale hunting ship, and of course the leading lady is upset because now how is she going to get laid? The family hates black people, clearly, and it's excellent to watch his character get one over on them. Of course the joy gets cut short when the law shows up, and a devastating mix up happens- this adds more flavour to the pot.
The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre a.k.a Harpoon is one of the finer films to come out of this sub genre. Most of the movies that we see that are along the same lines usually fall short due to a terrible plot, terrible acting or even terrible effects and scares. This one serves up a healthy portion of great kills and some half decent acting; the story is pretty original when it comes to the setting, which adds a little something more. 4 out of 5 star movie, and I recommend it to anyone who loves horror movies; you'll certainly get a good kick out of this one!