Harper’s Island may choose to wade through the waters of TV’s tamer horror genre rather than create major ripples with a cannonball into the deep end, but for me it still manages to be a welcome allusion to the campier horror films I grew up with.
It follows Henry Dunn (Christopher Gorham), Trish Wellington (Katie Cassidy), and their wedding guests as they spend the week on the island before the ceremony. Included in this party is Henry’s best childhood friend, Abby Mills (Elaine Cassidy), who hasn’t returned for 7 years because of a string of horrific murders that claimed her mother as a victim. As a welcome gift to all the wedding party members, someone begins killing them off, one by one. Whether or not these two events are connected, clearly someone is not willing to hold their peace.
Though I regret not tuning in to Harper’s Island when it aired last summer, I actually think it is a lot better to sit through the whole season in a couple of days. This is mainly because I don’t know if I would have been patient enough to wait all that time just too see who is behind it all when my copy of I Know What You Did Last Summer is sitting right there. It too has the young, upcoming cast (well, at the time), the mystery, romance, a leading, slightly depressed brunette being picked on, fishermen, yada yada yada, but it only takes a couple of hours to get through.
Basically, when you get down to it, the essence of both these things is really similar (though a little Scream is mixed in if you know where to look); however, what IKWYDLS cannot dream to compare to this is the body count of Harper’s Island. Sure, you have to wonder how it takes people that long to notice that people are going missing, especially considering most of them are there as members of the wedding party. I guess the texts coming from some of the characters post mortem can be believable to an extent, but how dumb do you have to be to not question why that many people that you invited to take part in your wedding aren’t there? What depths did you have to sink to if the members of your wedding party don’t even care to show up? Do you not have closer friends? But I digress…
Not only were there a lot of deaths, but they were messy. Take the death that ends the first episode. The sounds that accompanied what was happening below the camera were gross enough, but I could not believe that what was revealed when the camera pulled out had aired on CBS. My jaw literally dropped. But that is far from the only gross out moment, with each new death trying to one up the previous. And don’t worry, there is plenty of blood to go around.
When you get down to it, Harper’s Island is far from being unpredictable in its storyline, but it remains intriguing enough to see it through. Especially considering that when you know a death is coming, chances are you won’t guess how it was going to go down. And that ending (or rather, the extent to which they take it)… Now that was unexpected.
Final Grade: B+
PS – Now I don’t know if the episode titles connect to the types of deaths contained within, but make sure to give them a gander. They definitely make the imagination run wild.