Hatched from the crazed minds of Martin Sonntag and Kim Sønderholm (who also co-wrote and star in the short), Harvest is about a doctor known only as John, who also works as an organ harvester for a wealthy client. His latest assignment is harvesting a kidney from a victim with a particularly rare blood type, but unfortunately for John, the assignment goes wrong and he ends up ruining the kidney. As a result, his unforgiving client gives him 16 hours to solve the problem or else he would have to offer up his own kidney as punishment, as he too shares the same rare blood type. Scrambling for a solution, John quickly meets up with the mysterious Nadja in order to murder her and gain her kidney. Of course, nothing goes according to plan.
Harvest is a sick, twisted, and bloody affair, and having an intro delivered by none other than Troma guru Lloyd Kaufman tells you immediately what you are letting yourself in for. The story itself plays out like a simple urban legend with a crazy twist at the end that descends into dark satire. Despite how insanely OTT the short is with its setup and gory effects, everything is played completely serious, and that almost straightforward tone runs through the whole film.
Kim Sønderholm gives a grizzled, yet stoic performance as the enigmatic doctor, whose emotionless exterior makes him impenetrable and hard to understand. In contrast, Siff Anderson brings the most energy to the film, and her performance is sly and sultry, yet mysterious and deadly. She almost has an air of Katharine Isabelle in her performance, which is definitely a good thing and bodes big things for her future.
The practical special effects are a mixed bag, ranging from absolutely insane levels of splatter-gore to body parts being dismembered, mutilated and shredded on screen in pretty graphic results. It’s almost exploitative in its approach to dismemberment in order to give that shock factor and also to have its horror cake and eat it. At times the practical effects work, yet occasionally the skin and blood effects look really fake or just barely effective.
Now this can surely divide the core audience, making them decide whether to go with it or not. Personally, some of the effects could’ve been better and it could’ve benefited with a bit more character development in order to get a handle on the main character himself. But in the end, it’s still a fun short little morality nightmare that gets more right than wrong, its maniacal heart is in the right place, Sontag and Sønderholm make a good team, and the two leads give solid performances. Flawed, but admirably flawed.
HØSTEN (HARVEST) / CERT: N/A / DIRECTOR: MARTIN SONNTAG, KIM SØNDERHOLM / SCREENPLAY: MARTIN SONNTAG, KIM SØNDERHOLM, BASTIAN BRINCH PEDERSEN / STARRING: SIFF ANDERSON, KIM SØNDERHOLM, SLAVKO LABOVIC, JULIE KUNZ, MARTIN SONNTAG / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Expected Rating: 5 out of 10