I am not typically a fan of slasher films, with the exception of Halloween, Psycho and the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre I generally find them pretty dull. Horror for me is largely about atmosphere, and while there is sometimes a black comic thrill in over the top gore, I have a hard time buying into the suspense of most slashers because they typically feature such an unlikeable cast that their deaths are more of a relief rather than a source of a tension.

Harper’s Island was a short-lived television series that aired on CBS, about a group of childhood friends gather on an isolated fishing/tourist island for a wedding between one of the poorer kids and the daughter of one the island’s elite. Much to everyone’s chagrin the island is stalked by a mysterious killer. While, the show is full of slasher cliché characters such as nerdy guy who panics, obnoxious fratty guy, the bitchy girl, the haunted girl, etc., what separates Harper’s Island from Generic Teen Slasher #214 is the depth of the character development that takes place over the course of the series.

Over the course of the 13 episode run the viewer has the chance to develop a relationship with the characters in a way that is pretty uncommon for serial killer flicks.

And a funny thing happens, by the last third of the series as cast is winnowed down I began to realize I had favorites among the cast and by the end I was genuinely rooting for them to survive.

Like, Twin Peaks it also makes good use of its location, the titular island is covered in a large medieval forest that seem to hide some kind of threat behind every turn.

The only real criticism I have is that like most twisty thrillers the final reveal isn’t that satisfying. It honestly almost feels like the writers simply chose the final reveal at random, because it didn’t make any less sense than any of the other possibilities.

But like all good thrillers its the journey not the destination that matters.