Upset by having done the practical special effects for The Thing prequel (2011) but ultimately replaced by CG, a special effects company decides to make its own movie to showcase its capability in practical animatronic and makeup effects.  The result is Harbinger Down.  So I’ll talk about the monsters first.  Although I don’t think the designs of the monsters are in anyway new or inspired, some of them look good in dim lighting and can look better than CG.  Some of them do not, however, especially in bright lighting.  The climactic monster, being a bunch of tentacles, is a letdown.  The production quality is respectable for the little budget they had.

As for the plot, it is yet another trash-quality ripoff of Alien (1979), by changing the spaceship into a fishing boat.  There are a few critical plot problems that I cannot discuss without spoiling it.  The single monster takes different forms at different times with no good reason other than to be a showcase.  There are shaky camera footage with poor video quality for no good reason (disclosure: I hate them in any movie even if there are good reasons).  Some scenes are too brightly lit that exceeds the camera dynamic range, and images look washed out.

Perhaps I’m being critical of this movie, but as far as ripoffs are concerned, it is at least slightly better than some other TV movie or direct-to-video ripoffs of Alien.

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