Thursday , December 3 2020
Who will survive? Who cares — just sit back and enjoy the bloody brainless fun!

DVD Review: Harper’s Island – The DVD Edition

Imagine if you took the campy fun of an ‘80s slasher film and turned it into a TV drama aimed at the teens — complete with hip, young, pretty, and overly-dramatic individuals. That would leave you with (if you were lucky) one season of dense dialogue and a homicidal maniac lurking around and killin’ folk. Now, fuse mixture that with something like that Lost show (set the program on an island), and, finally, add a dash of an Italian giallo flick from the ‘70s (giving your killer that superfluously artistic talent to dispatch his/her victims in the most original of ways). Now, despite their faintness in flavor, these last two ingredients are perhaps the most crucial of all. Without them, Harper’s Island would be a complete pile of crap.

As a lover of mystery and slasher films alike (especially the aforementioned giallos), Harper’s Island is the kind of series somebody should have made a long time ago. But, if you’re someone who downright loathes “teen” shows and the bad writing/acting that usually inhabit them (and my heart goes out to you if you do), then Harper’s Island can easily switch you off in a heartbeat.

The story is about as simple as you can get: an entire wedding party takes a ferry out to Harper’s Island, off the coast of Washington. From the moment the ship’s rudder starts to spin, it is clear to the audience that an unknown (and very disturbed) killer has it in for someone — or, perhaps, everyone— in the wedding party.

Who is the crazed assassin?

What is his or her beef with the members of this wedding party?

Will anyone survive the entire week on the island?

Who cares — just sit back and enjoy the bloody brainless fun on Harper’s Island! It’s certainly more entertaining and plausible than Lost.

CBS/Paramount brings all 13 blood-soaked episodes of the mystery television series Harper’s Island in a 4-disc set that is subtitled The DVD Edition. Presented in an anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen, the episodes look pretty sharp on Standard Definition DVD. A rather nice 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround track adds to the fun, with 2.0 Stereo Surround mix on back-up. Accompanying the episodes are several special features, including audio commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes, webisodes, and original network promos.

OK, so it probably isn’t what you’d call award-winning material. At times, it’s utterly goofy. But, no matter how you serve the end result, you have to give the makers of Harper’s Island a bit of credit for actually taking the quintessential “stalker movie” formula and turning it into a mainstream TV show. Kudos, fellas.

About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the alter-ego of a feller who loves an eclectic variety of classic (and sometimes not-so-classic) film and television. He currently lives in Northern California with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.

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