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Whap, 10 September 2011
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
On the outskirts of the city of Seattle is an island called Harper's
Island where seven murders took place at the hands of psychopath John
Wakefield. It has been seven years and a wedding ceremony will be
scheduled for local Henry Dunn (Christopher Gorham, the blind CIA whiz
on the Piper Perabo USA Network show "Covert Affairs"), who used to
"wash boats for a living" and Trish Wellington (the stunning Katie
Cassidy, her hair brown on this particular show), daughter to the very
wealthy Thomas Wellington (Richard Burgi) on Harper's Island. Despite
the fact that Wakefield is dead, someone else could be lurking around
ready to slice and dice.
I must say the concept of a slasher themed show did sound interesting to me as I rented the complete series (it only lasted one season) and like the popular sub-genre. Though, saying that, plenty of identifiable traits come with the sub-genre and find their way into "Whap", the pilot episode of "Harper's Island". For instance (and thank you casting director for hitting this out of the ballpark), Cameron Richardson is the sizzling sexpot blond who loves to obviously stir things up and act a little wild. She's a mustang that cannot be tamed. That said, she's a cliché and I just wonder if she makes it past the very next episode because in slasher movies characters like Richardson's Chloe wind up dead rather early because of their promiscuity. I hope this isn't the case because she is delicious eye candy I relish seeing time and again. Chloe, for some reason, is in a relationship with the quiet and meek Cal (Adam Campbell), a polar opposite of the girl, as he isn't really the kind to be impulsive or "live for the moment". Their "dip in the ocean" is a direct example of this. Cal wants to propose to hersomehow I don't think she's the marrying kind just yet.
Right off the bat, someone is murdered. On board Wellington's yacht, a "cousin Ben" is tied underneath the boat, his head right in front of the propeller, soon he's mulch. Who is responsible for this? It would have to be somebody on board the yacht, right?
One of the Wakefield victims was the mother of Henry's best friend, Abby (Elaine Cassidy, herself a beauty with a rockin' figure in a tight red cocktail dress), and she left Harper's Island afterward, making her residency in LA (she is often referred to by a former flame as "big city girl"). But, for Henry, she will return to the island, eventually running into the man she tries to avoid, her sheriff father (Jim Beaver), when a bar fight gets out of control (Henry's "black sheep" brother, JD (Dean Chekvala), is pulled into an altercation with a bar bastard who didn't like that his former girlfriend was being ogled by Dunn). Another developing sub-plot concerns a former lover of Trish's, Hunter Jennings (the handsome beefcake, Victor Webster), who doesn't want to let her go ( a twist involving father Thomas explains a lot about where he stands with the idea of his daughter marrying Henry), calling her several times on the cell phone. Does Trish still have feelings for Hunter? Henry actually notices Hunter calling Trish's cell after the two have sexwhat will Henry do about this?
With any pilot, you have these story lines that are presented, with us wondering how characters will be developed over time. "Whap" lays the groundwork here. Trish seems to love Henry, but what about Hunter? It seems that the main motivation of the show is to see if Trish and Henry will be married or if a killer in midst will make damn sure this doesn't take place.
I need to mention an awesome cameo appearance by Harry Hamlin who is a hoot as Henry's party-hearty uncle, Marty (everyone calls him "Uncle Marty") a man who may be 50 but has the energy, vitality, and personality of a 20 year old. He's a bachelor, very opinionated, and free-spirited, but very loyal to Henry. Henry mentions that his parents are dead and that only JD and Harry are all he has left. Unfortunately, Harry listens in on a conversation between Thomas and someone he wants to disturb the wedding, and confronts Trish's father about not allowing the marriage to be threatenednot long after Harry suffers a tragic fate. You have to wonder if the killer is someone close to Thomas.. If you wonder why the pilot has the cinematic look of a big-budget feature film (it does look like a sort of brother to "I Know What You Did Last Summer"), that's because "Whap" was directed by Jon Turteltaub of the Nicolas Cage Indiana Jones Summer "National Treasure" blockbusters. Slick visuals and impressive stylizations, the look of this pilot is indeed polished.
4 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Oh, no ! They killed the film editor. And the icescream tastes bitter sweet., 11 April 2009
Author: igoatabase from France
When I read it was a Scream-like TV series I instantly thought it was a
great idea. I remember how entertaining films like I Know What You Did
Last Summer and Urban Legend were. Sexy babes running around half naked
and scared to death with the usual dumb and completely irrational
decisions made. So I wasn't expecting Harper's Island to reinvent the
wheel and imprint its own identity in the horror genre. And well after
watching this episode I can say it almost lived up to my expectations.
First there're both beautiful actresses and really dumb characters. The redhot blonde, the naive guy who wants to get married as soon as possible, the fishermen butchering meat in bright daylight, rich and average people clashing against each other, emo-teenagers So It almost felt like hanging in a candy shop and wondering which sweet you will taste next. The other nice thing about it was the actual story. Using an island is not original but at least it allows the writers to better shape things. It's like if the events were taking place in their own time and dimension. There're them and the outside world. It's how it felt when they left the boat, like if they were about to enter the Realm of Scream. One last good thing was the acting. There're many known faces and the performances made the characters more believable even if they weren't all perfect.
However it was far from being flawless and in fact many things disappointed me. For example even if you don't expect the characters to be original some of them are real clichés. It's a bad thing because it's obvious they're already on the death list. But of course the intriguing part is that you don't know when it's going to happen, that leads us to an other problem. Indeed it felt like some scary scenes were just here to fill the blanks. And the real issue is that they weren't scary at all, even ridiculous at times. It was specially disappointing considering how short some of them were. So instead of focusing on too many characters and events at the same time I think the writers should have properly introduced them one after the other. For example what about a new character arriving on the island per episode ? Also an other problem was the film editing. I don't know who was in charge but that person was probably killed before the job was done or it didn't know what continuity means. Sometimes it almost felt like the scenes were randomly filmed and edited. It's not mixing, it's shaking and the result wasn't just awful.
So this episode had both pros and cons but in general I think it achieved its goal of emulating Scream. In fact my only major complain is that it should also have grabbed some ideas from cult films like Final Destination or The Descent. I want to get really scared and have no idea of what will happen next. So I really hope the writers will come up with better story elements in the upcoming episodes or else the viewers will leave the island one by one. Moreover I can't help comparing the protagonists with charismatic characters like Sidney so we'll see if Abby grows on us as much as the emo-girl did in the Scream trilogy.
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