We love a good monster movie here at GFR. Hell, we even love quite a few bad ones, so long as those aren’t of the big-budget variety. We all know Godzilla is going to be the film to beat this year, and Alec Gillis’ upcoming indie Harbinger Down just might have it beat…on very specific terms. One of this thriller’s calling cards is that it is completely eschewing any and all digital tech, allowing for only practical effects to be used. Having rewatched part of I Am Legend the other day, with its hideously crafted Seekers, this sounds like music to my ears.
Let me clear that up a little better, since I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Most low-budget movies can’t even afford to use a lot of CGI in their films.” Gillis, along with his creative cohort Tom Woodruff, Jr., founded the effects company Amalgamated Dynamics, who actually provided effects work on Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla. These guys have worked on all the Alien films after James Cameron’s sequel, Tremors, Starship Troopers, and Mars Attacks! Most recently, their work has been seen in X-Men: First Class, the remake of The Thing, and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. These guys are industry professionals through and through, and Harbinger Down will be Gillis’ directorial debut, as a way for fans to celebrate handmade monsters and effects.
It won’t be shooting for the stars as far as a plotline goes, but we’ll deal with it. A group of grad students are on a fishing boat in the Bering Sea, studying how global warming is affecting the natural habitat of a pod of Orcas. Things get weird when they dredge up a piece of Russian space wreckage that broke away from the ice caps and has thawed for the first time in years. And, of course, those bloody Russians were working on secret experiments with little creatures that can withstand space radiation, and now they’ve all gotten loose. We’ve got some of the first stills that have been released for the film, and while they don’t feature any outstanding make-ups or creature rigs, we still want the finished product. Take a look at some of those shots below.
Get away from that ship wreckage! Bugs! I don’t think I would have much sense in a situation like this. Luckily, this is all being done by genre king Lance Henriksen, Matt Winston, Camille Balsamo, Winston James Francis, Jason Speer, Giovonnie Samuels, Milla Bjorn, Michael Estime and more.
The project first came together as a successful Kickstarter campaign, for which thousands of fans showed their support for practical thrills with dollar bills. You can watch the promo video below and wait patiently for Harbinger Down to find a distributor. Maybe they could head back out to the Bering Sea and find one in the ocean.