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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ha Ha Harpoon! I had a whale of a time.
A load of tourists go on whale watching sea trip. There's an accident the captain is injured and they call for help. Help comes in the unlikely form of a family of backsea fisherman or fishbillies as the dvd blurb refers to them. I say unlikely because they don't help.

This has to be one of the best european slasher films I've seen. It has some good gore done...
Published on 19 May 2010 by Greenzombidog

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The catch of the day ... is you.
A very diverse group of people go on a whale watching trip, there's a young German woman, a Japanese couple and their assistant, a drunk Frenchman, three ageing women who could be from anywhere as the accents are all over the place, and finally a man and woman who I think were supposed to be American. Once they board the ship, the Icelandic captain and his young crewman...
Published on 12 Jun 2012 by West25


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The catch of the day ... is you., 12 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
A very diverse group of people go on a whale watching trip, there's a young German woman, a Japanese couple and their assistant, a drunk Frenchman, three ageing women who could be from anywhere as the accents are all over the place, and finally a man and woman who I think were supposed to be American. Once they board the ship, the Icelandic captain and his young crewman takes them out to sea. After a few hours at sea and failing to find any whales, the captain gets on the radio to ask if anybody else has seen any whales anywhere. His call alerts a family of fishbillies (hillbillies but on sea) to their location. Soon after a tragic accident is caused by the drunk Frenchman, and the captain is killed. With the captain dead and the would be rapist crewman gone, the passengers are left alone and in need of help. A little while later the fishbillies seemingly come to their rescue, and takes them to their ship. Almost as soon as all the passengers get onto their ship, the family show that they're anything but rescuers and start to massacre them. The strangers are going to have to work together, if they're going to get off the ship alive.

Gunnar Hansen is given top billing, he enters the film about ten minutes in, and departs around the twenty minute mark. Hansen was actually born in Reykjavik, so his inclusion as the captain at least lends the film some authenticity. He's best known for playing Leatherface in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and has had a decent career appearing in cameo's like this, annoying that he's given top billing but I didn't exactly get the film based on his acting chops anyway. The rest of the actors all do okay, but this isn't the sort of film you buy if you're after great acting and deep characters. A couple of them should have been made to work on their accents as some are terrible, why people continue to get cast and then put on an accent is beyond me, just cast someone from the country the character is supposed to come from, it's not like any of these were big name stars who were cast to make it more appealing anyway. It's directed by Icelander Júlíus Kemp, it's the first time he's directed since 1997 and is much more prolific as a producer. He does a pretty good job considering the script and actors he was working with, it's got a pretty good pace and is always entertaining. The script was done by Sjón Sigurdsson, a poet and composer who also writes the odd film. He worked as a composer on Lars Von Trier's Dancer In The Dark, but his script for this is full of hideous dialogue and idiotic characters. Some of the cinematography is very nice, and the gore effects are done quite well. There's some impalements, a beheading, an exploding head, a burn victim and more, nudity makes a few brief appearences also.

I did enjoy the film but I do have a few issues that stopped me from liking it more, the main issue was that every single character by the time the film ends is shockingly unlikeable. I don't think I recall seeing a film where there hasn't been at least one character that was likeable, whether that be the potential victims or the would be killers. Some of the characters actually start off okay and then become more unlikeable as the film progresses, the rest are instantly unlikeable and you hope they die as soon as possible. It's that bad that even when a whale does show up, even the whale is an unlikeable idiot. The dialogue comes in a close second to the horrible characters, the worst or funniest part depending on the viewer was an exchange between two of them when one reveals he's gay. Another scene has a woman make a bomb out of things lying around the ship, and then she talks another character into blowing herself up to try and kill the killers with the revelation her father was a kamikaze, hilarious. There's a part where one of them manages to speak to a friend on the phone and tell them they are being killed off, only for the friend to assume she's high and puts the phone down. I'm still not sure if the film was meant to be a horror and a slight parody of slasher films, the use of Bjork at two different parts in the film makes me think that it was, the inclusion of Leatherface himself even more so. The decapitation scene for some reason come off as hilarious, and the Night Of The Living Dead homage made me giggle whereas the similar scene in the earlier film shocked.

The dvd has no extras or subtitles, subtitles may have come in handy as most of the characters speak English with accents. The killers speak in Icelandic and are subtitled, but with all the different accents speaking English, sometimes words are missed or just hard to understand. The picture quality is good but quite soft, and the use of music is good and comes across very nicely. There's been some excellent Scandinavian horror films in recent years, Harpoon is not one of the better ones. I would suggest going for Cold Prey, Dead Snow, Next Door, Troll Hunter, Let The Right One In, Rare Exports: A Christmas Story or Evil Rising also known as Sauna before this one, but Harpoon is still a very enjoyable film. The opening scenes are quite powerful, it's grainy and shows people capturing and killing whales, animal lovers may want to turn away as it is quite graphic. The ending is confusing and bleak, I don't understand what's going on with the Japanese assistant and still don't as it ends. It's a very decent, watchable film that really seems to divide opinion, some people seem to love it and others hate it, I'm somewhere in the middle as I liked elements of it, and disliked others. At the low price it usually sells for, it's probably worth taking a chance on this one.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ha Ha Harpoon! I had a whale of a time., 19 May 2010
By 
Greenzombidog (Portsmouth U.K.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
A load of tourists go on whale watching sea trip. There's an accident the captain is injured and they call for help. Help comes in the unlikely form of a family of backsea fisherman or fishbillies as the dvd blurb refers to them. I say unlikely because they don't help.

This has to be one of the best european slasher films I've seen. It has some good gore done with practical effects and a couple of inventive kills but the thing that raises this above other movies like cold prey (which was good) and trackman (which was bad) is the characterisation. Yes, some of the characters may be a little one dimensional but at least they have some character. You have the down trodden Japanese PA who finally has enough. The three middle aged women on the hunt for young men and the French tourist who says just about every French cliche you can imagine. from oohlala to sacre bleur.

Also this movie has some laughs. Some of the dialogue is funny in a very surreal way mainly from the hunchback fishbilly. I enjoyed it alot more than I expected to and i'm sure on further viewing I'll see more things in it to make me laugh and squirm.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An unusual and rather gory slasher film from Iceland, 15 Sep 2011
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Man, Icelanders are still taking the international ban on whaling pretty hard indeed. A few of them apparently have way too much time on their hands, what with the all the cold weather and long dreary nights with nothing to do but complain about the ban and fashion little whale models out of wood to hawk to the wretched tourists whose zeal for whale watching just pours salt in the wounds of those no longer permitted to mindlessly butcher those beautiful creatures. It's just too much for some of them - well, three of them, at least, who go strange in the head and decide to keep practicing their murderous ways on an entirely different animal. I think you know where this is going. It makes for a dark and depressing film that relies far too much on gore and the casting of Gunnar "Leatherface" Hansen for its appeal. This movie makes Iceland look like the most depressing country on earth, and its treatment of foreign tourists can do nothing but hurt the Icelandic tourist industry as a whole. You think you've had a bad day - try waking up late, getting raped, witnessing a horrible accidental death, being tied up and tortured, and then being hunted down by a family of inbred lunatics in the space of a few hours. That's just part of one poor young lady's experience in this movie.

This definitely isn't your standard horror movie, especially given the fact that the cast of characters doesn't even share a common language. Those boarding the whale watching boat of death include three middle-aged German broads (I don't mean to be offensive - there's just no other way to describe these women); a Japanese family made up of a male chauvinist husband, his wholly submissive wife, and their sullen daughter; a young and nave German lass; a bereaved American young woman; a drunk and troublemaking Frenchman; and the only black man in Iceland. After a highly unfortunate series of events, they find themselves stranded at sea. Rescue soon comes in the form of a local whaler, but instead of returning the tourists to the harbor, he takes them back to his whaling vessel to be tortured and killed by his insane family.

I must warn my fellow animal lovers that the opening credits of this film feature vintage footage of whaling operations, so you might want to look away until the opening music ends. As for the story itself, the best thing it has going for it is its unconventionality - what little bonding there is between characters is tenuous at best; even the most vulnerable of individuals can end up being hateful little smegheads when their lives are on the line; and the ending certainly didn't play out the way I expected it to. As for the gore, you have a case of quantity over quality, and the filmmakers really push things too far toward the end, making the most horrific deaths much more comical than I'm sure they intended. The whole dreary atmosphere of the entire film was a major downer for me, as well. This really is one of the most depressing horror movies I've seen in a long time. If you want something different, Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre can certainly fit the bill - but that doesn't mean you're likely to enjoy watching it.

By the way, stick around for the closing credits to hear one of the most unusual songs you've ever heard - it's downright schizophrenic. And while you're there, watch for the names of Clint Eastwood, Brad Pitt, and Barack Obama in the list of those the filmmakers wish to thank. Perhaps it is Obama's duplicitous efforts to end the whaling ban for Iceland, Norway, and Japan that secured his spot on the list. Of course, it must be said that Iceland actually resumed commercial whaling in 2006 - the self-imposed quotas may be small, but the action still flies in the face of the long-standing international moratorium the country accepted in the past.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different, yet welcome kind of slasher., 25 Mar 2011
This review is from: Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Although awkwardly titled, "Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre" certainly delivers on its title, being a film which is indeed about visitors to Iceland being murdered while on a whale spotting trip. The film from director Júlíus Kemp is actually the country's first proper exploitation genre release, something which surely marks it as being of interest for horror fans, as does the fact that it was written by Sjón Sigurdsson, a noted Icelandic poet, novelist and lyricist who works regularly with Björk and who collaborated with Lars Von Trier on "Dancer in the Dark". Following a successful run at festivals and having garnered positive word of mouth, the film now arrives on region 2 DVD. Harpoon is about a group of people that take a trip out to sea on an old boat to go whale watching. While at sea one of the passengers, an annoying and drunk French guy, decides he is going to climb the mast of the ship. He does so, and as he makes an attempt to descend the mast at the captain's (Gunnar Hansen of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre) request, he falls, hitting a sharp object which then penetrates the captain's body killing him. With no captain, the boat's only other crewman is busy in his cabin trying to rape one of the passengers. Upon hearing that the captain is close to death, he leaves the ship in a small boat, abandoning the passengers. A few hours later, the boat returns with someone else behind the wheel. The man tells the passengers that he is there to rescue them, however he can't bring them back to the harbor as a storm is coming. Instead, he brings them back to his boat where his mother and perverted, insane religious freak brother are waiting with sharp implements at the ready. The bloodbath then begins as the family begins to kill and terrorize the passengers one by one. Harpoon does have it's moments but also has a few flaws like in the acting department and it seems like some of the characters weren't really developed that well. However on the plus side, the cinematography from Finnish cinematographer Jean Noel Mustonen is superb, with director Kemp making the most of the bleak seas and grey skies to atmospheric effect. The film's melancholy soundtrack by composer Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson is also impressive, nicely underscoring the action and making for some moody and oddly affecting scenes. On technical terms, the film does generally score highly, and is well directed, with a professional, yet gritty look. Although Kemp does drop the ball during quite a few of the scare scenes, he has the sense to throw in plenty of gore, and the effects themselves are decent enough, if overly computerised at times. Clocking in at just over an hour and twenty minutes, it never outstays its welcome, with a few amusingly unexpected twists in its latter stages. Overall, Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre is a film that takes a lot of its ideas from other films. It is a fun horror film to watch and it does have its gruesome moments, so I would definitely recommend it as it was an enjoyable and a bit weird and unusual horror flick.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fishy, 2 July 2014
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This review is from: Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
No fishy tale here,a great gory blood gushing film,worth buying,recommended
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to shout about, 6 Feb 2014
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fazer (england, suffolk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Don't expect much and you won't be disappointed! It's okay for what it is, my only real complaint is some of the dodgy accents and hearing what they say. Some good killings and a good surprising ending
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3.0 out of 5 stars ICELANDIC HARPOON MASSACRE, 27 Sep 2013
By 
The Movie Guy "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This is Iceland's attempt at a slasher/ horror type film. It is in English or subtitled where not. A group of tourists go whale watching, but there are no whales to watch so the captain radios for help. He is lured to another vessel location under the ruse of seeing whales. Along the way, an obnoxious drunk Frenchman (Apparently Icelanders have the same respect for the French as the British)accidentally shish kabobs the captain of the boat. As the captain lays there dying, the first mate, damages the boat, takes a small craft and leaves them stranded. The adrift group is "rescued" by a family who used to whale, but can't because of international treaties etc. They hate whale watchers and foreigners. Once they are on board their ship, a woman's cell phone starts to work. She is quickly killed by one of the family as the rest of the rescued group scatters about the boat playing a deadly game of hide-and-seek, with the pretty blond tied up by a religious member of the family who wants to sacrifice her for the lord- go figure. Contains blood, killing, and nudity.

This movie is certainly better than many of the low budget B horror flicks, but fails to generate any real tension. This is perhaps I have seen so many of these things I have grown numb to people being harpooned or burned alive. The Japanese are stereo-typed with their taking photos, male chauvinism, and kamikaze ability. The Frenchman is obnoxious, you want him dead.

Yes, Gunnar Hansen,native of Iceland, (Leatherface) is in the movie. He plays kindly old Captain Petur and dies early in the movie. I didn't recognize him without someone else's face on his head.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and fun!, 4 Mar 2012
By 
S. O'ROURKE "Generic internet ID" (Lincoln, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I was lucky (?) enough to catch this at Glasgow frightfest in Feb 2010 and the film was well received as an obvious tongue in cheek slasher homage. Having bought the dvd I can now see that's it's tagged as a straight hardcore slasher movie. Which is a blatant bloody lie, and if I'd bought it as such I'd be as annoyed as everybody else seems to be.

I still think it's ace though.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Probably a 15 if the rape scene had been cut., 13 Dec 2011
This review is from: Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Little-known Iclandic horror Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre (known as Harpoon in the UK) gives top bill to Gunnar Hansen, best known as Leatherface of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. But what you're not told is that he barely survives the first twenty minutes.

Nevertheless, Harpoon isn't as bad as you might think. Although the acting can be questionable at times, it's actually a pretty solid light horror. The film focuses on a group of whale watchers whose ship breaks down and they are rescued by another vessel home to some shady characters. Bloody mess ensues.

I did enjoy this, but I was a little disappointed at how much violence was actually shown, especially since the film is rated 18. This could probably have been re-rated to 15 if the rape scene had been cut.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Gory but slightly messy grim horror, 5 Aug 2010
This review is from: Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This is a strange beast of a film. It's that rare case in horror movies - one where the characters actually start off more likeable, and you gradually dislike them more and more as the film goes on, instead of the usual pattern where they all seem like a bit of a bunch of idiots, but you find out character details that make you like them more as you go. Only one character gets an improving personality arc, the rest go downhill. For me, this didn't work, as once the gore started I wasn't really rooting for any of them. The atmosphere is relentlessly grey and grim, and while some early attempt is made to give the killer family personality and back-story, it's very sketchy and the rest of the film just gives them vague quirks or aggression to fill in the blanks. As a result, they seem fearsome but a little unconvincing. Overall the general character of the film is despressing and grim. The kills are generally bloody, but lack impact because of the poor character work. The setting is interesting, but again grey, grim and lacking personality. All in all it's a good effort but it falls a little flat.
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