Series Review: Harper’s Island (2009)

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So now we are taking the next step in the Month of Spooks. And by next step I of course mean “yeah, here’s a new post for you or whatever”. And before we get into it, I just wanna mention something. I remember that there was a lot of hype when this show came out/was airing, at least here in Sweden, so that’s kind of why I decided to do it here. Anyhow, backstory over… time to review.

Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to… “Harper’s Island”.

Harper’s Island, a small island located not too far from Seattle. The island was the location where a series of gruesome murders happened seven years prior to the start of the series. Henry (Christopher Gorham) and Trish (Katie Cassidy), two attractive, young people, in love and about now about to get married on this island, feeling that it’s safe. However, weird stuff starts happening on the island. People start disappearing and even dying. And I’m not gonna say more than that, because I want my reviews to be as spoiler-free as possible. But yeah, now we have a bit of an Agatha Christie style mystery that also takes influence from various horror flicks. The way I’d describe the story is as a combination of “And Then There Were None” and “Friday the 13th”. Which actually is a pretty cool idea for a show. However, the plot doesn’t feel as engaging as that… at least not at first. The first 4-5 episodes are a bit meh, not bad just… meh. Then from episode 6 and forward we get a pretty suspenseful and surprisingly engaging show. I mean, there are still some dumb moments every now and then throughout the good episodes, but they are at least much more interesting in terms of plot. We get some decent twists through those episodes as well which add to the mystery, which I actually enjoyed. And I actually didn’t see a good amount of them coming, which I applaud. Yeah, interesting idea that takes a while to become truly good/engaging.

The characters in the show are pretty much walking clichés. Or at least they are at first. But as the show goes on and more and more shit starts going down, they really begin developing as characters. I really started caring about the people I had no real interest in at the start. And the acting in the show was really good as well. I mean, with people like Christopher Gorham, Katie Cassidy, Elaine Cassidy (no relation to Katie), Harry Hamlin, and Jim Beaver, the acting would of course be really good. Not the best ever, but definitely good.

The music for the show was composed by David Lawrence, and while some bits take cues from typcial horror sounds, the overall score helps build tension in the show and actually sounds really good overall. There are also a decent amount of licensed tracks in the show as well, most of them being modern pop-rock stuff that I never cared much for. The tracks never detracted from the show, but I wasn’t a huge fan of them either. And I swear, during a scene in a bar very early on in the show I swear I could hear a cheap knock-off of AC/DC’s “Back in Black”. I promise, there were several cues in that background music that were so close to “Back in Black” without being “Back in Black”. I don’t know, it’s just weird.

Not gonna lie, this show has a surprising amount of graphic/brutal imagery for a show that ran on CBS. Seriously, you get to see some decently gnarly stuff in this show. Also, when the show finally decides to give us some legitimately tense sequences, it does. There are scenes from episodes 6 and forward (the good episodes) that really gives us some pretty tense moments. I was really feeling the suspense in those scenes and I was really surprised at that because the first few episodes are pretty soapy and mediocre, with the occasional bit of gnarly imagery. Speaking of imagery, one fun thing I noticed was that in an episode we get a good look at a bottle of scotch, labeled “Robert McLachlan”. If you¨pay attention when the credits roll early on in the episodes, you will see that Robert McLachlan is the show’s cinematographer… so that’s a pretty fun easter egg. There are also plenty of scenes that pay homage to classic horror movies, so keep an eye out for those. I’ll also warn you, the dialog in the show is pretty amateurish… so prepare to not be impressed by that.

This show has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 65% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Harper’s Island” is by no means a perfect show. But it is definitely very entertaining. IT has a pretty good plot, pretty good characters, really good acting, good music, good directing, and some really tense sequences. However it is dragged down a bit by those mediocre first few episodes and from some mediocre dialog. Time for my final score. BOO! My final score for “Harper’s Island” is an 8,45/10. So while quite a bit from perfect, it’s still worth watching.
worth-a-watch

My review of “Harper’s Island” is now completed.

A neat little package if you want some chills a cold fall evening.

 

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2 thoughts on “Series Review: Harper’s Island (2009)

  1. I think i marathon this show few years back when it got buried on a small channel in UK, it was fun and i can see how the game UNtil Dawn got the idea too

  2. Pingback: The Month of Spooks 2016 roundup | TheMarckoguy

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