When Richard erroneously accuses his long time friend, Jonah, of sleeping with his girlfriend, Sasha, he feels like a real asshole. To make up for it, he invites them both onto his yacht to cut loose and return the friend group to its previous, harmonious state. But things are never that simple, are they? Rob Grant’s Harpoon is a thrilling example of self-preservation and the inevitable consequences of one’s actions. It’s a brutally honest survival horror with a twisted sense of humor, and it might be one of the strongest indie offerings I’ve seen this year.
It opens with the sort of witty narration that might lead you to believe you’re in store for straight comedy, but it doesn’t take long for things to get bloody. It also wastes no time getting relatively heavy. And while that early blend of charm, humor, violence, and emotional weight is certainly appreciated in terms of pace and intrigue, it also means it takes a bit for Harpoon to settle on tone and find its sea legs. Interestingly enough, I believe it’s that same combination that enables Grant’s latest work to be so well-rounded. It’s an enthralling script full of twists, turns, and genuine surprise. And those successes are only amplified by its small but mighty cast of characters.
Harpoon sails through its roughly 82 minute runtime with only three characters, and they’re all fantastic. Munro Chambers, Emily Tyra, and Christopher Gray each ride their respective arc in style and deliver performances that match the intensity and vulnerability that Grant’s script demands. Kudos all around in that regard.
Charles Hamilton’s cinematography covers the yacht well by providing multiple looks while keeping the, basically, single location fresh and interesting. That said, I’d be remiss not to mention my early frustrations with the narrator’s interjections in the opening act. They’re ultimately useful and even clever at times, but stylistically, I would like to have seen another approach for character exposition. Everything else? Fantastic.
Harpoon should be hitting digital platforms later this year, and I strongly recommend checking it out when it does. This is one bloody boat ride you won’t want to miss.
Haproon screened at the 2019 Chattanooga Film Festival.
‘Harpoon’: Brutally Honest Survival Horror with a Twisted Sense of Humor [CFF Review]