Harpoon was one of Rotten Tomatoes’ top horror films of 2019. Now available on Showtime and VoD, I thought it was time I rectify the fact I had not seen it since it was one of the ones I missed last year. And boy, it did not disappoint. If you’re unfamiliar with this little indie that could, Harpoon is bloody, fun, and the actors deliver some great tension-filled performances that get the worst of what friendship can get to when paranoia and relationships are at play.
Written and directed by Rob Grant, Harpoon is a psychological horror-comedy that is really a survival movie about a bad relationship. In the film, narrator Brett Gelman sets up the story that ominously reveals rivalries, dark secrets, and sexual tensions when three best friends find themselves stranded on a yacht in the middle of the ocean instead of celebrating one of their birthdays. What begins as anger at realizing his best friend Jonah (Munro Chambers) and girlfriend Sasha (Emily Tyra) slept together, Richard (Christopher Gray) loses it, and then everyone else does too.
But with plenty of alcohol and very little food and water, delusions become a reality for each of the friends tries to not only survive but not kill each other — well only after they attempted it first. As the days stretch on and death seems inevitable the truths about their lives reveal themselves and it’s apparent that none of them really knew each other anyway. The hour and 22-minute film is claustrophobic, dark, funny, and above all else revelatory of what secrets lurk under the shiny surface of friendship.
With a small cast, Harpoon focuses on human horror and how we unravel when the bonds we make with people we see as close fall apart. Chambers, Tyra, and Gray are phenomenal in their roles, they’re crazed, sane, rational, angry, and terrified throughout the film. With nothing to distract the audience from their performances, they carry the film with ease. Their relationships are uncomfortable to watch and their decisions are frustrating to see unfold. Harpoon’s premise is simple, but their performances are anything but.
Additionally, while the cast reels you in with their performances that drive the horror, the narrator adds the comedy, mapping out how the trio has done nearly every single bad luck action they could have done when boarding the yacht. The narrator is the through-line that brings Harpoon together and separates it from other survival horror films in the genre.
Given that the film is so simplistic, and not at all in a bad way, I don’t want to go into much more about its plots or its characters because Harpoon is a film that absolutely needs to be experienced. While there are some weird dialogue choices, the chemistry between the cast, the practical effects, and the twist is extremely formulated and executed. Now that Harpoon is on VoD and Showtime it’s time to make it a Friday night fright for you and your friends. It’s a short watch that packs a lot of punch, in truth, Harpoon shot straight into the center of my horror heart.
Harpoon is currently streaming on Showtime and available on VoD.
Now that Harpoon is on VoD and Showtime it’s time to make it a Friday night fright for you and your friends. It’s a short watch that packs a lot of punch, in truth, Harpoon shot straight into the center of my horror heart.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.