Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 4 Old 11-28-2010, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373697

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109940&d=1210373697

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Image Entertainment - 2009
Feature running time: 84 minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: N/A
Starring: Gunnar Hansen, Pihla Viitala, Nae Yuuki, Miranda Hennessey
Directed by: JúlÃ*us Kemp
Music by: Hilmar Ã-rn Hilmarsson
Written by: Torsten Metalstein Hvas & Sjón Sigurdsson
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 7, 2010

"The catch of the day...is you."

Film Synopsis:

When a bloody freak accident takes out their captain, a boatload of international tourists on a whale-watching expedition must fight for their lives while stranded in the middle of the ocean. Help seems to arrive in the form of a helpful whaler who offers to take them back to shore, but instead he strands them on a rusty, terrifying barge of death with his insane family who are determined to hunt down and kill the trespassers one by one! Featuring an appearance by horror legend Gunnar Hansen (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), this shocking, blood-spattered trip on the high seas unleashes a night of terror only a lucky few will survive.

My Take:

attachment.php?attachmentid=192247&d=1290703293'Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre' or as it is also known as, 'Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre' surprised me. I was expecting another terrible low budget B-horror flick like we have seen so many times before. Yes this was low-budget but in the capable hands of Icelandic director JúlÃ*us Kemp, this strange trip was well filmed and interesting.

The above synopsis sums up the story quite well, but it doesn't give a hint to the amazing amount of weirdness that goes on in the film. It has everything from rape to a kamikaze suicide, multiple N-words, homophobia, brutal killings, a 'Usual Suspects' type of transformation, a "wrong man" scenario and some out-of-left-field personal vendetta's. the amazing thing is that the movie makes it all feel perfectly normal and not as offensive as it should be. I have to give the writers credit for pulling it off.

Where 'Harpoon' failed was in the scare department. There were the requisite jump moments, but the killers were not scary. They were brutal and weird, trying to be like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre family. The title, casting of Gunnar Hansen (The original Leatherface) and the family of killers shows a love for 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre', but it never reaches as high. The Killers came across like bitter whalers pissed of at the liberal Greenpeace people who have ruined their whaling industry and their family income-- not like the complete deranged family that would have added more frights to the film.

Over all I found 'Harpoon' to be a decent slasher flick if you just suspend some logic/reality and go for the cruise. It had an original feel and some pretty cool and brutal kills (the Whaling Harpoon kill was awesome!). The soundtrack was great, cinematography was better than anticipated and the cast were all pretty believable even though the characters were pretty clichéd. This if far from a great movie, some wont even find it good, I found it fun as hell!

Parental Guide:


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 82

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373694

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373698

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373697

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697

Video: 78

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373697

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373698

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373698

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=121037369

'Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre' comes to Blu-ray Disc from Image Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 16.8 mbps and DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Sound that has an average bitrate of 2.2 mbps.

'Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre' was a pulpy 16mm filmed horror flick where you could just reach out and grab the grain. It looked perfect for this film but unfortunately some of the the finer details were washed away in the grain. Also, there were occasions where I noticed a spike in video noise accompanying the grain, however, it never ruined the look. Colors seemed natural with a bit of a contrast boost adding some artistic flavor to the ocean and sky. Blacks were nice and there was not too much crush in the dark, low-lit nighttime boat scenes. The lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 track was dynamic and dug deep when needed. The beginning when were are treated to an Icelandic metal band with a gimp-masked singer sounded great....if only it was this great throughout the movie. Surround effects worked well with wind, rain and water filling the 360 degree sound-scape when needed...but besides the obvious times, there were no real ambiance in the effect channels. The front mix was perfect with a nice balance of effect sound and dialogue. My only gripe was the sound did seem to get louder a few random times. Even though it's not perfect and the most elegant mix, it was above what I expect of a 16mm low budget Icelandic horror flick.

* Those with CIH setups should note that the subtitles appear within and below the picture area. Subtitles are hard coded as there are a few different languages spoken throughout the film*


Bonus Features:

  • Behind the Scenes with Gunnar Hansen

  • (HD) Previews: The Lost Tribe, Bangkok Adrenaline, Damned By Dawn

Final Thoughts:

'Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre' is a deep genre horror flick and horror fans will want to see this regardless of my review. If you were intrigued by the title though not a horror fan --and not easily offended; than I say give it a rent. I dug it and might watch it again someday, just for the off-beat weird-as-hell nature of the whole thing. It's hard to recommend this movie, but to the right crowd I definitely do!


Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS35 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC27 Receiver (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer
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post #2 of 4 Old 11-28-2010, 06:05 PM
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Did you give this a 3 to defer any jokes...c'mon you had a brown bag on this one with one hole cut out right ?
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post #3 of 4 Old 11-28-2010, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by EAGLEFAN67 View Post

Did you give this a 3 to defer any jokes...c'mon you had a brown bag on this one with one hole cut out right ?

As far as low budget horror flicks go, this was pretty good man.
I'm a horror buff, so I was cool giving this a spin--no bag needed

PS Surprisingly, my wife liked it as well.
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post #4 of 4 Old 11-29-2010, 09:01 AM
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Just saw a few trailers of this clip and holy smokes!!! To say this movie is intense is a total understatement! Not for the weak stomachs!
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