Harper's Island

Film
3 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Two groomsmen take a look at the future of television series in Harper’s Island.
Photo: Chris Helcermanas-Benge/CBS

On the surface, the whodunit murder mystery of Harper’s Island seems like the worst type of schlock—cheap thrills and gross-outs liberally mixed with clueless, moderately attractive stock characters. Most of them, according to Darwin and every single slasher movie ever made, won’t survive the night. It’s a single-season mystery packed into a 13-week event, paired with a special website (harpersglobe.com) in an attempt to harness the buzz of social networking. However, the idea of incorporating a vicious serial murderer into such an indulgent, Gossip Girl--type setting isn’t a totally unappealing one.

The idea here is that a posh wedding party has headed over to scenic Harper’s Island for some R & R. Wedding party members include Christopher Gorham (who romanced Ugly Betty) and Harry Hamlin (who’s been romancing us all since 1981’s Clash of the Titans). The thing is, a bunch of people were murdered at a nearby vacation hot-spot several years before; it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that some ax-wielding maniac will slice the happy clan like a chain saw through baguettes. Harper’s Island is best enjoyed in terms of class conflict and cartoonish brutality—who doesn’t like seeing a bunch of Ralph Lauren types get disemboweled? Look past (or embrace!) the poor acting and oh-so-spooky camera angles to the hilariously grisly deaths and endearingly corny dialogue. It’s actually kind of fun—and it’ll be over in another 12 episodes anyway.

Harper’s Island premieres Thu 9 at 10pm on CBS.

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