Review: Harper’s Island
[Spoilers!!! Don’t read ahead if you don’t want to see Spoilers!]
I have recently had the privilege to watch a mini-series called Harper’s Island. As you all know, I am a huge fan of Criminal Minds. Harper’s Island is an amazing show for those who love mysteries. It starts with a boat scene. A wedding party is about to arrive on the island and everyone is enjoying each other’s company. No one suspects that there is something lurking on the island and they are all in danger of losing their lives. Seven years ago there have been a series of brutal murders. 6 people were killed by a man called John Wakefield. It may seem like random murders by a madman but he had a purpose. It had been reported that Wakefield was killed by the Sheriff in town. This put everyone at ease and returning to the island for a wedding didn’t seem like a bad idea.
The main character, Abby Mills has returned to the island which used to be her home. After the murders, her dad, Sheriff Charlie Mills, sent her away to California. At the time, Abby was involved with Jimmy Mance, a local fisherman on the island. She also had a best friend named Henry Dunn. Abby is still haunted by the murders and can’t seem to forgive her father for sending her away. When Abby gets off the boat, Jimmy immediately sees her and is, of course, smitten again because he had never gotten over her after all these years. Everything seems normal and Henry assures Abby that the island is as it was before the murders happened. As Abby walks through the familiar paths of her childhood, she comes across the tree where her mom and Henry’s parents were strung up. This brings back awful memories and Henry is there is console her. Everyone has moved on and believes that Wakefield is gone. But there is still a creepy, eerie feeling lurking on the island.
In the show there is at least one murder per episode. The first one to get killed is Henry’s uncle, Marty Dunn. As you go through the show, the cast is whittled down to just a few people. Reading about the show, it was not revealed to the cast who was to die. They only found out on the day the script was given. The only ones who knew when they were going to die was Marty Dunn and Thomas Wellington, Henry’s fiance’s (Trish Wellington) father. As the murders are happening, not many of the characters knew what was going on. Many of the first murders were not revealed until later. They didn’t start worrying about a serial killer until Thomas Wellington was murdered. At this point fingers are being pointed at who might be the killer and Henry’s brother, JD Dunn was the main suspect because of his erratic behavior since he had arrived on the island. JD stopped being a suspect when he was murdered later on. Wakefield, who everyone knew to be dead, became the main suspect.
Many truths are revealed about midpoint into the series. Before JD Dunn died, he told Abby that all of this was because of her. That all the murders happening on the island was because of her. This stuns Abby and behind her you can see a man. You don’t know who is is until the scene changes but it is Henry. This was when it becomes a little weird. At first I thought that this was some sort of oversight by the director/writer. However, as you finish the show, you realize that what you thought at that moment was right. Henry had something to do with his brother’s death. He had just killed him before Abby got to him. It was a total shock to me that Henry was Wakefield’s son and that he was helping him. He fooled us all. With that charismatic smile and those innocent eyes, who would have thought that Henry Dunn would be a complete psycho. And all this time he was killing because he wanted Abby with him. It’s sad that Abby’s mother had something to do with how Henry turned out. I would like to think that Henry would have been fine if it wasn’t for being given away. But Henry did say that he had some urges…so maybe he was just born that way and was lost from the start.
Also, the one thing that I notice while watching the show is Trish’s niece, Madison. It would appear as though she is speaking to spirits when you first see her. She talks to someone she calls her new friend. It’s a bit creepy. And then she stops talking to him…or they stopped showing that she is talking to someone. You then realize that she is actually talking to Wakefield and he interacts with her through the secret passageway that connects the entire island together. Madison may seem as this annoying girl that lies. She has caused several bad things to happen. Through her, everyone thought that Sheriff Mills was the Wakefield copycat. The thing is, being a little girl, she must have been terrified. Wakefield threatened her mother if she told the truth. Madison has been very brave throughout the entire show and she has shown herself to be a very smart girl.
This show had me at the edge of my seat. Watching everybody drop like flies made me afraid for each and every one of them, especially Abby and Jimmy. When I thought Jimmy died, I teared up. When Abby finds out his is actually alive I felt so happy for her. Then near the end, Jimmy “died” again. And I was thinking…what are you doing to me here! It was an emotional roller-coaster for me. I was happy, sad, excited and scared for the characters…and probably several more emotions here and there. The parts where I was most angry were when Wakefield started killing off the main characters. He just made my blood boil. The look of evil on his face was just enough to tick me off. And at the end, when I thought that Abby was never going to see Jimmy again…I was so sad (lol). But then you find out at that Jimmy’s alive. Man, what does one man have to go through to be with his one and only love. Jimmy went through a lot in the show…had his heart broken, almost getting shot, shocked, accused as being Wakefield’s accomplice, locked in a shack and threaten to confess to crimes he didn’t commit. He’s pretty amazing to have survived all of that and still maintained his sanity.
For those of you who have read this far, you can tell that this show is pretty gruesome and violent. This is not for the faint of heart. After watching it, it has become one of my favorite shows. Something that I would probably want in my collection. If you guys have any other shows like this you would recommend, please comment down below. I’m always looking for a good tv show to watch.
Scariness factor: 5
Would I recommend: Yes
*Note: Based on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 being the worst and 10 being the best you could get in a category.