Fantasia 2022 review: ‘The Harbinger’ is a waking nightmare.

THE HARBINGER

Mo is taking every precaution possible in lockdown with her father and brother. When summoned to the city by an old friend, Mo’s loyalty takes precedent over her protesting family. She arrives to find a strung-out Mavis claiming something is controlling her dreams. When Mo then begins to have her dreams invaded by a hooded figure in a plague mask, things go from bad to downright terrifying. Writer-director Andy Mitton, who brought The Witch In The Window to Fantasia in 2018, dives headfirst into his new supernatural horror and extra creepy Fantasia 2022 entry, The Harbinger

The script slickly combines historic iconography from the plague to mirror current events and builds upon the concept of mass hysteria and mental health. Mitton introduces demonology and then mixes in the idea of viral internet posts, an issue directly addressed in Jane Schoenbrun‘s brilliant film, We’re All Going To The World’s Fair. Combined with the rapid spread of misinformation, internet challenges like Momo, and urban legends like Slenderman, the spread of evil becomes exponential. But this is really simplifying the fear in The Harbinger

Gabby Beans gives us every ounce of herself as Mo. She is the heartbeat of this plot. Beans brings a grounded vulnerability, and I cannot imagine any other performer in this role. The film has everything and then some. Jarring imagery, thoughtful camera work, cool-as-hell production design, and meticulously placed jump scares keep your pulse pounding as this story unfolds. On top of the authentic terror we all experienced at the beginning of the covid lockdown, The Harbinger is a masterfully crafted, waking nightmare. 


DIRECTOR

Andy Mitton

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Cassidy Freeman, Clark Freeman

PRODUCER

Jay Dunn, Richard W. King

WRITER

Andy Mitton

CAST

Gabby Beans, Cody Braverman, Emily Davis, Ray Anthony Thomas, Myles Walker

CINEMATOGRAPHER

Ludovica Isidori

COMPOSER

Andy Mitton

EDITOR

Andy Mitton

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Fantasia International Film Festival review: ‘THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW’ takes its place among the classics.

The Witch in the Window has a classic ghost story feel. Anchored by a local legend, the film’s uniqueness is amped up by the fact that the locals can also see the ghost in question. With all of the usual tropes in place, The Witch in the Window uses humor to keep the peace in a genuine way between father and son until the subtle scares become huge ones… in broad daylight. That’s the key to this film. Much like Ted Geoghegan‘s We Are Still Here, it’s the daylight scares that make The Witch in the Window so powerful. While Geoghagan’s makeup FX are beyond compare, this film’s in your face close-ups are what grab you. I literally shouted, “OH!” as I was not expecting to be yelled at from the screen. You absolutely feel like you are in that house. Alex Draper and Charlie Tacker are outstanding together onscreen. Their father/son chemistry is extraordinary. Writer/Director/Composer/Editor (and clearly all around badass) Andy Mitton‘s storyline may also be taking a page from David Robert Mitchell’s IT FOLLOWS. To say much more would take away from the viewer’s experience. It is a solid film that should garner its rightful place in ghost story cult catalog. 

Check out the awesome trailer below.

Fantasia International Film Festival closes tonight, but we will keep you updated on all of the release dates for films that screened at the fest!

Divorced dad Simon (Alex Draper) brings his 12-year-old son, Finn (Charlie Tacker) out to Vermont to help him renovate an old house he recently purchased. Used to the speed of New York City, Finn has an impossible time slowing down to a smalltown pace, and he’s disappointed before even getting there. So is Simon (“I guess I was hoping I would catch you on the 12 side of 12, instead of the 13 side of 12”). Afflicted with a rare medical condition in which there’s a literal hole in his heart, Simon, ever resourceful, does what he can to make things good as he and his son attempt to repair what’s broken. Soon, a series of nonsensically terrifying happenings occur, nightmarish and incomprehensible. It becomes clear that they aren’t alone in the house. That there is more work to be done than either could be capable of grasping. That death is a partially living state. And that they are in a very special kind of danger.