If nothing else, "Harpoon: Whale Watching Expedition"
wins the award for the year's best title. Luckily, there's more to it
than just that. The film represents Iceland's first attempt at a slasher
flick, and nice try, guys! Turns out the country has more to export
than just The Sugarcubes.
Created by lots of people with accented Ús and Ós in their names, it throws together a multicultural cast onto a tiny, grimy ship for some scenic whale-watching. It's not the most ideal of trips — one woman gets seasick, another is nearly raped — but things grow really worse when the captain (Gunnar Hansen, the original Leatherface from "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre") is fatally injured in a senseless accident.
Stranded in the ocean, the hapless passengers soon get "rescued" and plopped on another boat, where a demented, "Chain Saw"-esque family immediately lets them know they're in "Hostel" territory by planting the business end of a hammer in the forehead of one of them.
From there, it's an exercise in staying alive, staying alive. All this and a killer shark!
Although infused with a little humor, this film is grim and gory. Don't be confused by the somewhat nudge/wink title, as "Harpoon" indulges in nautical nastiness with lots of spurting blood and no apologies. It's not a genre standout, but better than your average DTV effort. Reel it in. —Rod Lott