Harper's Island

Director: TV Series (2009)
Starring: Elaine Cassidy, Christopher Gorham, Matt Barr
Find it: IMDB, Amazon

Harper's Island should be, judging by the description, crack for horrorhounds. It's like a slasher movie, right? Only there are thirteen episodes and the cast is enormous. Each episode is titled something onomatopoeic, like 'snap', 'crackle' or 'pop'. Okay, maybe not that last one, but episode titles such as 'thrack, splat, sizzle' suggest promising violence worthy of a Friday the 13th. Harper's Island should by all rights be the best television series ever. Well think again, silly horror idiot. Harper's Island is like Prom Night or Sorority Row on a much larger scale.
Imagine Prom Night if it had lasted thirteen hours. That's what Harper's Island is like.

Well, not quite. I'm being cruel. Thirteen hours of Harper's Island is still preferable to even ten minutes of that bullshit Prom Night remake. The series takes place on the titular Harper's Island, where a large party have gathered for the wedding of Henry Dunn to Trish Wellington. The Wellington girl being most recognizeable from the Nightmare On Elm Street remake, where she thoroughly sucked. But everybody sucked in that movie, so we won't hold it against her.

Back in the day on Harper's Island, serial killer John Wakefield went on a murder spree and totally killed the protagonist's mother. Well that protagonist - a girl called Abby (Elaine Cassidy) is back for the wedding. But so, it appears, is John Wakefield (or possibly an imitator). As the ceremonies get underway, people begin to die. It's a good ten episodes or so before anyone actually realizes that there might be a killer on the loose. And it was a good five episodes before that when I lost interest. Specifically, the second episode.

The series' big hook is that anyone, supposedly, could die at any time. But aside from a couple of minor surprises, not really, no. Spoilers. It's perfectly obvious that Abby and the happy couple are staying for the duration, and you can more or less predict who'll be sticking around for some time too. The others, you couldn't give two shits about. Well, maybe three or four shits. I kinda liked the nerdy English guy and his girlfriend. Likewise, the identity of the killer becomes more and more obvious towards the end, despite the show's best efforts to throw you off the trail.

Nice try. Maybe I'd care if there were more than two likeable characters, but most of Harper's Island's inhabitants are either dull or unbearable. Maybe they should have called it Arseholes' Island. It's nice to see them die, but not worth the amount of time it takes to see that. Although when the action does amp up towards the end, it is done with an admirable amount of pizazz. Not enough gore, but a high kill count and lots of explosions make up for that.

Harper's Island is passable television. It's melodramatic and annoying and stupid, but horror fans should find something to enjoy amongst all of the nonsense. As it is though, there's only one good TV series about unlikeable people dying on an island. And Harper's Island is not that TV series.

But at least it doesn't end in purgatory. Because that, y'know, would be stupid.

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