Making its world premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival this year is the latest film from writer/director/editor/composer Andy Mitton (We Go On, The Witch in the Window), The Harbinger. In the film we meet Mo, a woman staying with her brother and father during COVID lockdown. When she gets a mysterious call from her old roommate asking for help with her nightmares, Mo soon finds herself in a battle for her very existence.
One thing audiences will immediately notice about the film is that it takes place in the height of the pandemic when everything was still on lockdown. I greatly appreciated this as many filmmakers have chosen to have their films take place when everything was “normal”. By having the characters wear masks and be cautious about avoiding COVID, it adds an extra layer of reality to the plot. Mitton does a wonderful job of writing characters that feel dynamic and relatable with dialogue that feels like actual conversations. He also creates a fascinating and frightening mythos around the “harbinger” and what it wants. The film takes on a horrifying, bleak tone that will leave audiences feeling hollow (in the best way).
Outside of Mitton’s writing and directing, The Harbinger has a lot of other things audiences are sure to love. Gabby Beans (House of Cards) is phenomenal as Monique (aka Mo). Not only is the character endearing, but Beans’ performance helps to ground the film, even as the supernatural elements become more and more strange. Emily Davis (The Plagiarists) also gives a haunting performance as Mavis, Mo’s friend in need of help. All of the wonderful cast performances, unsettling dream sequences, and disturbing imagery combine to bring Mitton’s disturbing vision to life.
The Harbinger is a gut-punch of a film that seamlessly brings together emotional drama and demonic terror.
OVERALL RATING: 8.5/10