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4.5 out of 5 stars
Harper's Island - Season 1
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
This 13-part series is about the wedding of Henry Dunn and Trish Wellington, which takes place in Harper's Island. One of the guests, Abby Mills, is still haunted about the murders that happened seven years before, caused by John Wakefield. Suddenly, the wedding guests are killed one by one, and everybody is a suspect.

A friend of mine who lives in the US raved on about this show so much that he sent me the recorded show a few months ago and once I started watching, I just couldn't stop and I had all 13 episodes finished in just 2 days - it is so addictive! The style is a bit like SCREAM or I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER mixed with the whodunit style of AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. Apparently each of the actors didn't know their character's fate until they were given the script for the episode, so when this was being shown in the US, it was a complete secret to everyone about who was going to be killed each week (generally one or two characters per episode). The murders are all very gruesome which was unexpected at first as this is just a TV show, not a film, after all. The acting is good, I only recognise one actor from the whole cast (Richard Burgi from HOSTEL 2 and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) but they are all excellent and play their parts well. The story is very well presented, starting off quite slowly, helping you to get to know the large cast of over 25 characters and as a bit of a dark comedy (in a very similar style to SCREAM) and then moving on to being a more serious, fast-paced and suspenseful thriller.

Overall this is without a doubt one of the best shows I have seen in 2009 and I am really glad this is now being shown in the UK and is being released on DVD. This is a must see for anyone who loves a good murder mystery that will keep you thinking right until the end.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 11 October 2010
I really enjoyed this series, even though I watched half of it from behind my hands.

I admit the premise for the series isn't original, the run up to a wedding is interrupted as the guests are slowly picked off one by one. It is the sort of thing you would normally find in a film and reminded me of "I know what you did last summer" and "Scream".

The viewer is given hints as to who is responsible for the killings but there are twists and turns along the way which kept me guessing right up to the end.

The only thing I didn't like was that there was a number of people disappeared and no-one seemed to bat an eyelid and just went along with the idea that they'd decided to head home without mentioning it to the bride and groom.

I'll be buying this for a number of friends/family as I don't believe it's been on British tv and I'm very certain they'll really enjoy it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Invitations to a posh wedding on a secluded island. What could be more romantic? True, there were those horrendous murders seven years ago, but they are not worth bothering about now.

So wrong! Most of the guests have not long to live....

Here is television's answer to the slasher movie. Great art it is not, nor does it pretend to be. It is, though, much fun -for those who enter into the spirit of the thing. The producers certainly did - adept at keeping us guessing who will be the next to go and just how gorily. (The first departure is almost at once, it setting the tone and ingeniously contrived.) Episode titles give clues - Crackle, Thwack, Sploosh, Gurgle and the like. Most of the cast did not know their fate until each new script was delivered, apprehensively turning straight to the back page when it came.

Adding substance is Jim Beaver ("Supernatural") as the sheriff - initially above suspicion, until the doubts grow. Older viewers will recognize Harry Hamlin ("LA Law"). The bridegroom is played by Christopher Gorham (so appealing as the geeky boyfriend in "Ugly Betty"). Seriously creepy is that little girl. Surely madness must run in her family?

Of course there are loopholes and absurdities. (Where were the locals during all this?) Of course cliches abound. Of course much depends on characters being incredibly stupid. ("We stay together, right?" As if!) All are expected - part of the fun.

13 episodes, some with commentaries. (Be advised the first commentary assumes viewers have seen the whole show and contains spoilers for those who have not.) Bonus "Webisodes" owe much to "The Blair Witch Project". There are interesting features on how the cast was chosen and how the many stunts were staged.

DVD is by far the best way to watch - without interruptions, tension increased most dramatically. Do not feel guilty for enjoying it so much. Do not hesitate either to congratulate yourself if you deduce the outcome before the final two episodes. Although by now there are very few people to choose from, the mystery's solution may well surprise.

Sheer escapism with no pretensions. Great!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Very little to say about the plot, as other reviewers covered this admirably. (golden rule of the slasher genre, dont give away the twists) Suffice to say I liked the show enough to add my own humble opinion, though the previous reviewers are right on the money.
The trouble with slasher movies is you litterally have under two hours with the cast as they get whittled away by the psycho one by one. This usually ends up meaning most of the cast being bland cyphers that are merely there as cannon fodder for a series of gory murders, acting as the suspense scenes for the movie, here with 13 episodes at about 40 mins each you actually get time with the characters that allows them to break free from the cliche stereotypes and allows you actually care about their fate. I was initially dubious about a slasher tv series after hearing about the concept, but fortunately it works, the whole thing feels almost formula in places, but is fun the murders are pretty brutal and The characters are good. As i said before, the format actually gives you the opportunity to care about the characters and root for them which is pretty new to me as quite often I find myself rooting for the killer.
Overall then the series is worth a look for fans of slasher movies, and other u.s tv fans may get a kick out of it too as long as they can stand all the killings. The series comes in a snazzy slipcase with commentaries and making of, and is pretty slim packaging so won't fill up the shelf.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This 13-part series is about the wedding of Henry Dunn and Trish Wellington, which takes place in Harper's Island. One of the guests, Abby Mills, is still haunted about the murders that happened seven years before, caused by John Wakefield. Suddenly, the wedding guests are killed one by one, and everybody is a suspect.

A friend of mine who lives in the US raved on about this show so much that he sent me the recorded show a few months ago and once I started watching, I just couldn't stop and I had all 13 episodes finished in just 2 days - it is so addictive! The style is a bit like SCREAM or I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER mixed with the whodunit style of AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. Apparently each of the actors didn't know their character's fate until they were given the script for the episode, so when this was being shown in the US, it was a complete secret to everyone about who was going to be killed each week (generally one or two characters per episode). The murders are all very gruesome which was unexpected at first as this is just a TV show, not a film, after all. The acting is good, I only recognise one actor from the whole cast (Richard Burgi from HOSTEL 2 and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) but they are all excellent and play their parts well. The story is very well presented, starting off quite slowly, helping you to get to know the large cast of over 25 characters and as a bit of a dark comedy (in a very similar style to SCREAM) and then moving on to being a more serious, fast-paced and suspenseful thriller.

Overall this is without a doubt one of the best shows I saw in 2009. This is a must see for anyone who loves a good murder mystery that will keep you thinking right until the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Despite sporting what I regard as a rather awful DVD front cover artwork, this 13 part CBS mini-series is actually a very good little horror thriller. It's something I savoured, watching two episodes a night, and I'm disappointed that I don't have it to watch anymore. If you like a good mystery, a good old fashioned slasher, then I have no hesitation in recommending this box to you.

'Harper's Island' strongly takes the basic plot of Agatha Christie's classic tale 'And Then There Were None', but adds much originality to it. Seven years ago, the Island was a place of bloody murder, with serial killer John Wakefield taking the lives of six people, one of whom was the mother of Harry's best friend Abby (Elaine Cassidy). Harry (Christopher Gorham) is a man soon to be married to beautiful Trish (Katie Cassidy), and they invite a group of friends to the secluded island. As the wedding day nears, secrets are revealed, relationships are up to the test, and one by one the guests are murdered. Who is the killer? This is 'Scream' meets 'And Then There Were None'.

With top notch acting, many interesting plots twists and keep on flowing all the way through to the very last episode, and much unpredictability, 'Harper's Island' is great fun to watch. I was on the edge of my seat, but left me feeling frustrated that I was unable point the figure at one person, as the killer could have been virtually any of them. There's not much in the way of humour, but plenty of chills and suspense.

This deluxe DVD box contains four discs, with the complete 13 episodes broadcast originally between April and July 2009, as well as special features like four featurettes, commentaries on various eps, and scenes which ended up on the cutting room floor.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Abby Mills (Elaine Cassidy) is returning home. She hasn't been to Harper's Island since John Wakefield killed 6 people seven years ago. One of those people was her mother. But her father the sheriff (Jim Beaver) killed John Wakefield, and the island has gone back to normal.

The reason Abby is returning is the wedding of her best friend Henry Dunn (Christopher Gorham) to the very wealthy Trish Wellington (Katie Cassidy). But returning to the island means facing the past she's been hiding from.

Unfortunately, murder once again rears its ugly head on the island. Someone is killing the members of the wedding party off one by one in the same manner John Wakefield did all those years ago. Is he really dead? If so, who is doing the copycat murders? And, more importantly, why?

I don't mind telling you I was completely hooked on this show. The first few episodes were rather light, but about episode 5 things picked up and never looked back. I spent every episode on the edge of my seat wondering who was going to die next. See, every episode included at least one murder. This is a show that will thrill fans of the slasher genre. It's intense and as gory as they could get away with on network TV. The show was too crowded with characters at the beginning, but by the end, the victims were so well developed it was honestly heart breaking to see them die.

Unfortunately, the show did suffer a little from its ties to the genre. There were a couple of times the killer did something that made no sense other than advancing the plot. And the ending was a bit out there. But this is coming from someone who prefers straight mystery to slasher most of the time. If you view it with that genre in mind, it makes for great television.

So turn on the lights and gather your friends to see if anyone survives this blood bath.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2011
When this programme was on TV, I didn't miss a day! Couldn't get enough of it.
The storyline is amazing, it gets quite gory in some places. It has such a good twist to it too!
Definately keeps you on the edge of your seat, wanting to know what will happen next. I recommened it to anyone who enjoys thriller and mystery. And if you like any of them TV murder programmes. It's like them only difference is you get to know the characters, which I think adds to it. Because you don't want them to die!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 May 2010
I really didn't know what to expect from this series, but once I saw what it was about and the characters started getting interesting, I had to watch the whole thing. I mean two people who want to be together and get married, invite their family and friends onto Harper's Island to see them married, but as soon as the journey started, each character gets bumped off one by one, until you can't believe the ending, I won't spoil it for you, you have to see it for yourself. A serial killer got caught after killing seven people, but starts once again, as this wedding party lands on the island! Is the killer doing all the work or is someone helping?
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on 9 January 2011
When seeing a preview of this for the first time i was very skeptical on whether it had the right punch to be an entertaining watch and boy was i blown away. It starts out as what would seem a teen slasher but as you get into the series your left with all sorts of theorys in your mind on whats going to happen next....

Each episode leaves you gasping on the edge of your seat and the further you get into it, the more the suspense keeps on building. Many of the characters fatalities you witness shock you a lot more than you would think as you have been sitting there, watching and built up a likeness for them. I felt very sympathetic for some of the events that happened as i was not expecting anything like what is shown to take place.

The acting in my opinion is superb and has a great mixture of cast set in a wonderful location. The whole atmosphere of the series kept me wanting to know the final result which took me massively by surprise as i was left guessing throughout who it might be. I had my theories on a collection of characters but i wasn't prepared for the final result of the story.

To sum up, Perfect series that leaves you after each episode feeling the need to carry on watching. Highly recommend to anyone who wants outstanding entertainment for a decent price.
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