Playing out like a Hollywood horror movie across 13 bite-sized episodes, TV sensation Harper’s Island is like Gossip Girl meets Halloween. Populated by a cast of uber-gorgeous 20-somethings, some clever plotting and genuine suspense means that, unlike so many Stateside series, this becomes more than just a guilty pleasure.
Set on a stunning and secluded island off the coast of Seattle, a group of old friends and family get together for a week of festivities to celebrate the wedding of former boat boy Henry (Christopher Gorman) and rich debutant Trish (Katie Cassidy). For Henry’s best friend Abby (Elaine Cassidy), however, the trip holds more fear than fun as it means coming back to the place where her mother was brutally murdered by the local serial killer years before. Despite the fact that the murderer was caught and killed by Abby’s sheriff father, the memories still haunt her; and, as members of the wedding party begin to meet some seriously gruesome ends, Abby begins to realise that something evil still lurks on Harper’s Island…
It’s easy to get pulled under the spell of this shclocky TV whodunnit, as it has just the right mix of sex and death to hold the attention. There’s plenty of bare flesh and partying to tempt fans of shows like Beverly Hills 90210, wrapped up in a solid storyline which oozes with enough blood and guts (even for network television) to keep gore-hounds interested. As the mystery builds over each episode, with the body count racking up steadily along the way, audiences can enjoy being kept in the dark while knowing that everything will be wrapped up nicely at the end of the series – there’s no Lost-like multi-season teasing at work here. All in all it’s an extremely well-executed slice of horror television that deserves a place in your viewing schedule. 4 stars
Best of the bunch are the 90 minutes of Harper’s Island Globe Webisodes – originally created for the show’s website they are genuinely atmospheric and act as great companion pieces to the show. There’s also a great set of making of featurettes, plus commentaries on select episodes, promos and deleted scenes which include some moments too strong for broadcast. 4 stars
Stars Christopher Gorman, Katie Cassidy
Distributor Paramount Home Entertainment
Released February 8