«The Harbinger» … A nice mix of drama, dread and horror.


On December 1st, 2022, we will have the chance to see in theaters and V.O.D. «The Harbinger», the new movie written and directed by Andy Mitton, where we see that in the middle of a world crisis when people has to stay at home and avoid physical contact as much as possible due a virus that took humankind by surprise, a woman called Monique decides to leave the relatively safe environment she has created with her family, and risk her well being in order to help a friend that she has not seen in many years and is clearly at the end of her rope.

Mavis (Monique’s friend) has developed an increasing trouble with her sleep, but not because she suffers from insomnia and is always staying awake, on the contrary; as days passes, her body is having more and more trouble waking up, and her dreams are nothing but nightmares that get increasingly longer. It’s then when Monique discovers that something very sinister is stalking and torturing her friend Mavis, something that has found the perfect occasion to attack unnoticed and to grow its hunting grounds, while the people in the world are trying to cope with what is being called “The New normal”. It is something that is not happy just by torturing you and driving you to madness, but it also enjoys to take you to its realm and erase literally all evidence that you ever existed.

And now, Monique is also caught in its path.

Ok, this movie hit me, and it hit me HARD.

Before I explain one of the aspects that this movie does GREAT and why I think you really need to give it a chance when it gets released on December 1st on theaters and VOD, lets talk about the something that might be more of the interest for the hard core horror fans:

The writer/director Andy Mitton who previously brought us films like “We go on” and “The Witch in the window” (which I highly recommend) again brings a story that manages to combines emotional drama with supernatural elements that cause grief, dread, and at the end, at least in some form, hope.

I always say that horror is subjective, and while in “The Harbinger” we do not get tons of blood, corpses or mutilations, we do get several scary scenes and the plot goes to very dark, tough moments, moments that makes us wonder: why are we really afraid of death, if we know it is inevitable? Is it the fact that we know we will cease to exist, or the idea that we could wake up and discover that we were never part of existence itself to begin with?

This is part of the terror that the entity of “The Harbinger” brings, not the silence of the big sleep, not the burning of the eternal flames, but something else, something that can keep you up at night.

Just ask your self, are you ready to be gone and forgotten?

I really liked the idea behind The Harbinger character, while its looks and design might not be too impressive, I found it fitting for the times where the story takes place, and actually makes it scary (how long has this guy been around?) and the myth behind it (or better said, the lack of…) was more than interesting, I’m sure that some people will try to find the flaw on the legend, and they might have a point, but at the same time… What legend is perfect? And isn’t it better to always find “The flaws” and take the opportunity to make the myth a little bit better? Even ours?

This film in my opinion is a great option to take a breather of the slashers, monster creatures and haunted houses that are dominating this year in horror cinema… Well, it’s not like we need that breather that often, but sometimes it is good to step back and enjoy a nice creepy story that gets your attention by pulling your skin with a different approach.

I will also celebrate two technical aspects that this film does right, and that others don’t; despite what the trailer might suggest, this film has almost none of those hateful jump scares. Don’t get me wrong, there are several scary scenes, but at no time the music drops to almost “mute” levels to go right away to a big loud noise in order to “surprise” you. Mitton delivers a good story and does not go for those cheap tricks. The other good point is NO SHAKY CAM!!!

Good job, Mr Mitton… Good job.

Now to the beforementioned aspect which is why I think you should give this film a chance.

The pacing of the film was great, the runtime is less that 90 minutes, and while the “really scary” moments take place a little latter that the 20 minute mark, we do get to know characters that feel real and relatable, not because “It could be us”, but because “It was us”…

Allow me to explain:

While there are several movies that have tried to integrate the pandemic as part of the story (and millions decided to skip the theme completely as if the plot happened in a parallel universe) most of those films have used the pandemic as a gimmick or a point of sale (“THE FIRST MOVIE FILMED DURING THE PANDEMIC!!!” Sounds familiar?) and not many have succeed in telling a story that acknowledges all the emotional mess and the struggles of the first year when covid-19 hit (Especially when the lockdown happened in the U.S.A.) without becoming preachy or relying on emotional blackmail.

“The Harbinger” manages to tell a very good scary story, that could happen in everybody’s neighborhood during those times, when we did not feel safe going to public places or massive events, and if someone just disappeared one day, no one would notice, or worse, if you asked for help, chances were that no one would answer (what can I say? I’m a crappy friend sometimes), because doing so could be a death sentence to them or their loved ones.

(Ok, that last part was a little bit exaggerated, but sadly, for some time, was a believable risk)

About the acting, I got no complaints, I thought both leads did a great job, but where they sold it completely and won me over was the moment Monique enters Mavel’s home. Those minutes in the living room were so simple, yet so powerful and full of emotions. This is one of the scenes that the film hit me hard with. I am not going to say more, but once you see it, you will understand. (or I hope you will, at least)

And I repeat, at no times this movie goes preachy or tries to blackmail you. There is even one character that is clearly anti-mask, and is never ridiculed or treated as a horrible, villainous person. In fact there is another moment when we as the audience get gut-punched, and we see her as what she is; a simple human being in a very bad moment, that (like a lot of us) does not how to react.

The ending, to be fair, was a little bit confusing, sadly I cannot go into details due spoilers factors, but I think it can be also divided in two:

One is the ending that fits a horror movie, and is by the rules set in the story, very scary, but also with a little “Wait, Wha???” thrown in the mix.

The other part is the bitter sweet ending that I guess is Mitton’s seal, where as the audience we see something bigger and sadder that took place, and still we see that some hope peaks in for the characters. I can’t decide if that ending is truly for Monique’s story or if it is for us, the audience, the ones that continue dealing with “The New Normal” these days.

“The Harbinger” is written and directed by Andy Mitton and has the performances of Gabby Beans, Emily Davis, Raymond Anthony Thomas, Cody Braverman, Jay Dunn, Stephanie Roth Haberle and Myles Walker

“The Harbinger” will released in Theaters and VOD on December 1st, 2022.


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