Harper’s Island (DVD)

Harper's Island DVD (click for larger imageReviewed by Uncle CreepyParamount Home Entertainment

Horror television has a tendency to be stale. Slasher themed shows often end up being a dull and lifeless nightmare. There’s no doubt the odds were against “Harper’s Island” in terms of if it was going to be any good. Surprisingly enough, the show kicked a copious amount of ass for what it was. It’s too bad not many people tuned in to see it. Now that “Harper’s Island” is on DVD, it’s your chance to make up for some lost time.

Sheriff Charlie Mills (Beaver) has a problem. A maniac named John Wakefield (Rennie) has slaughtered many of the residents of his normally sleepy little island, including Mills’ wife. After a showdown that resulted in what we think is Wakefield’s death, Mills sends his daughter Abby (Cassidy) away from all her friends, and even her boyfriend Jimmy (Thomason). Many years later she returns for the wedding of her best friend Henry (Gorham) to one of the daughters of the island’s richest family, the Wellingtons. Of course, upon her arrival, bodies start dropping and the mystery starts boiling over. Is Wakefield back? Is he alone? Is it a copycat? “Harper’s Island” does a great job of keeping you guessing until the end.

Harper's Island DVD (click for larger imageOne of the things that really surprised me was how much violence they were able to get away with on a network program. Bodies are burned, harpooned, diced, chopped, and generally mangled with reckless abandon. Two of the show’s more juicier moments show up on this set’s deleted scenes along with a bit more exposition and some steamy PG-13 rated sex. If only this racier content was edited in. Still, it’s good to see what we missed.

Other special features include various making-of featurettes and commentary tracks on select episodes. All are fun, but other than the deleted scenes, the real gems in this package are the Harper’s Globe webisodes. They fill out the story rather well and have some genuinely creepy moments to them. My only complaint is the lack of a “play all” option.

“Harper’s Island” is the perfect way to pass a rainy afternoon or just get away from all the crap that populates our TV’s now. If you missed it once, you have no more excuses … check it out for a good yet wickedly evil time!

Special Features

  • Commentaries on select episodes
  • On-air promos
  • Casting Haper’s Island featurette
  • One-by-One: Making Harper’s Island featurette
  • Guess Who? featurette
  • The Grim Reaper featurette
  • Harper’s Globe webisodes
  • Deleted scenes


    3 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    3 1/2 out of 5

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    Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

    • hegemon13

      I completely agree with Mr. Dark. I almost gave up on this after about 4 episodes because the first half is SOOOO slow and involves countless subplots that serve as nothing but filler. But, man, once it takes off (around episode 6 or 7), it REALLY takes off. The violence and suspense were both shocking for a network TV show. They pull no punches, no one is safe, and the final twist is pretty awesome. Overall, it was a great show. It just should have been 6-7 episodes instead of 13.

      Oh, and for those of you worried about being left hanging because of the show’s cancellation, don’t be. It is a complete story with a great conclusion and no silly lead-in for season 2. If there had been a season 2, I believe it was supposed to be a completely different story, anyway.

    • Mr. Dark

      Remove about 4-6 hours of soap-opera drudgery and you’ve got one seriously awesome slasher miniseries. The good thing about DVD is that you can do some fast-forwarding and get to the good stuff.

    • kiddcapone

      I loved the show. It had me hooked right from the start and I couldn’t wait to see the next episode each week. I did have it figured out half way through and even predicted the twist (just check the thread for proof) but it was still a great show none-the-less. Highly recommend.