The Harbinger is a movie about viruses, infections, and masks. It takes place during the pandemic’s early stages, when there was no vaccine and the Coronavirus was decimating New York City’s elderly and middle-aged populations. Watch free movie The Harbinger Afdah online in HD.
Monique ‘Mo’ Cartwright (Gabby Beans) and her brother Lyle (Myles Walker), both adults, have returned to their widowed, immunocompromised father Ronald (Raymond Anthony Thomas) in upstate New York near Binghamton. The family’s three members have locked down and spent long periods of time together, forming a tight bubble to keep Ronald safe – but there is a fourth presence in the house. “I know your mother is here,” Ronald says of his late wife. It is not just her urn, which is prominently displayed by her picture, but a rich web of loving associations that keep her alive, at least in the minds and memories of her family. After all, she is a part of who they are and has left an indelible mark on their lives.
Still, an old college friend Mavis (Emily Davis), whose intervention once saved Mo’s life during a suicidal mental breakdown, summons Mo from her rural domestic idyll back to ‘Ground Zero’ of a city in lockdown. Although there is a Covid case in her apartment building, Mavis is afflicted by a strange sleep disorder that causes her to struggle to wake from nightmares that all feature a terrifying figure wearing a plague mask.
Mavis is also terrified that she will be completely erased from memory as a result of her dreams. “I’m not ready to be forgotten,” says Mavis at the start of the film. When Mo, who has never forgotten her friend, comes to stay, she begins to have similar dreams and worries about being forgotten. Their desperate zoom call to the medium – and mother of two – Wendy (Laura Heisler) leads to a tale of an elusive creature known as the Harbinger, a “off the record, unpublished myth” that lodges into people’s heads as a “bad idea” that is impossible to shake, then hijacks their dreams before taking them forever, leaving virtually no trace of them in the collective memory.
The Harbinger, like Covid, is a communicable condition that spreads by being storied (verbally, online, etc.) and eventually erasing its own path of transmission by eradicating all trace of its carriers. This creates an unsettling reception paradox. People would be turned to stone simply by looking at the Medusa of ancient myth, so visual representations of the Medusa have a special frisson for any viewer.