There are few horror tropes as played out as creepy kids, but no matter how many times filmmakers go back to that same well, I’m always going to love it. The juxtaposition of evil and innocence is one of the most terrifying things you can ever see, so even though creepy kids can be eye-roll-inducingly bad when they’re executed poorly, they’re a thing of horrific beauty when they’re done right. This is one of my absolute favorite horror tropes, so when I saw the trailer for The Harbinger, I was instantly hooked. Here’s what the film is about:
Daniel and Theresa Snyder move their troubled young daughter Rosalie to a quaint Midwestern town. Soon after they arrive, neighbors begin to die. The townspeople suspect Rosalie and shun the Snyder family. Fearing something evil followed them, the tormented parents seek the advice of a Native American seer who tells them that only death can save Rosalie. When more people die and a detective starts looking into the mysterious deaths, the Snyders must do whatever it takes to protect their family.
Admittedly, that premise doesn’t sound particularly original, so it looks like the story isn’t going to be the real draw here. Rather, it’s all about the execution, and if this trailer is any indication, The Harbinger is going to excel in that regard.
In particular, star Madeleine McGraw looks great as the creepy kid. She first caught my eye with her awesome performance in The Black Phone, and while this appears to be a very different kind of role, it looks like her performance is going to be just as good. In fact, she reminds me a lot of Lulu Wilson in Ouija: Origin of Evil, and that’s high praise indeed. Wilson’s character in that movie was one of the best creepy children I’ve ever seen, so if McGraw can even come close to matching that performance, we’re in for a real treat.
The Harbinger hits select theaters and VOD on September 2, but in the meantime, you can check out Sean Parker’s review of the film from the 2022 Dances with Films Festival.