The Harbinger, a horror film that seeks to depict the unimaginable deaths of those who have forever shaped the world as we know it, is one of the primary sources of inspiration. It can be evocative, provocative, and even tragic about the collective trauma we are experiencing.
Mavis (Emily Davis) is experiencing a near-death experience in her Queens apartment. This is both because her family is on lockdown throughout the country and because they would not visit her anyway unless she was told otherwise. In particular, her brother Ronald (Raymond Anthony Thomas) expresses his displeasure with his sister over a birthday dinner for their father who appears to be somewhat unwell.
The film is almost like a time capsule of those early days of worry and uncertainty. Both Monique and a neighbor enthuse about whether or not she has been exposed, and they all feel like they have been limiting their exposure. Eventually, Mavis realizes that the pandemic is just the cherry on the shit sundae for her. For example, they both begin to notice the menacing visage of a plague doctor, complete with the elongated mask and robe, that haunt
The whole experience feels cold and distant in all the wrong ways. Dialogue can often feel clunky and clunky in a way as it is the extent of their relationship becoming established. This could also be the result of the dialogue itself being rather forced.
The Harbinger's plot is a disaster, as there are a few decent scenes that are truly well-constructed. One particularly striking moment comes when Monique is talking with her family, who we had been missing for a long time.
The Harbinger is a good film that we get to see in moments of horror and the conversations we do get to see play out. It's just that the film is unable to fully convey the emotion of each one. Is it about a family trying to keep it together while living in an uncertain time? Is it about a friendship built around shared support for terror and grief and loss? It's not to say that the film needs to say anything at all, but it should feel more emotionally meaningful than it does here.