Does HBO’s Adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s SHARP OBJECTS Count as Horror?

When we first shared the news that HBO was putting out a new miniseries based on Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams and Patrica Clarkson, I put forth the question, “Is the series ‘horror’?”

That question got some interesting responses, but now that I’ve had the chance to actually check out the first two episodes of the 8-episode limited series, what did I think? Is HBO’s adaptation of Sharp Objects for horror fans? Let’s find out!

Let it be known right off the bat that I’m writing this up after only checking out the first two episodes. I have not seen any of the remaining 8 episodes at this time. Just getting that out of the way. So judging by the first two episodes of this new series, is it for horror fans? Yes and no.

First let’s start this out by putting forth the series’ official synopsis, which reads: Based on the book by The New York Times bestselling author Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Dark Places), this eight-episode series tells the story of reporter Camille Preaker (Adams) who returns to her small hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Trying to put together a psychological puzzle from her past, she finds herself identifying with the young victims a bit too closely.

That synopsis is one of the many reasons I wasn’t sure if this series was going to be horror or not. I mean that’s all pretty vague and it could either go True Detective and/or Se7en with that premise – or it could go… shit, I don’t know, softer, like a series I wouldn’t bother watching. But now that I’ve seen the first episode, I know that this show isn’t afraid to go to some truly dark places – and I can only imagine those dark places will get 10x darker and more disturbing as the series keeps on truckin’.

What do the first two episodes give us as far as horror goes? Well – no spoilers (see above synopsis) – we get two dead little girls. Both of the little girls’ corpses are laid out in shocking and super-creepy fashions, which I’m not going to spoil here. Needless to say, the reveal of one of the girl’s corpse is a (relatively) fun bit of horrific cinematic slight-of-hand that will have you hitting the rewind button, for sure. So, yes, the show knows how to handle not only its FX but more importantly, the staging and the reveal of said FX. Brr.

Another aspect that makes me think that you fellow horror fans will dig the new series is its cast. No, I’m not talking about Amy Adams or Patricia Clarkson. They have been in their fair share of horror films, don’t get me wrong – with Adams starring in films such as Arrival, Nocturnal Animals, and let’s not allow her to let us forget her role in the campy classic Psycho Beach Party. And Clarkson gracing our beloved genre in projects such as that TV remake of Carrie where she played Margaret White, Blumhouse’s recent Delirium, Larry Fessenden’s Wendigo, Lucky McKee’s The Woods, Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, Sean Penn’s The Pledge, and even an episode of HBO’s Tales from the Crypt (“Mute Witness to Murder”).

No, I’m NOT talking about the series’ adult cast – what I’m talking about is the series’ KID cast. Yes, like Stephen King’s IT, this new series boasts an impressive cast of kids as well, which fittingly includes Amy Adams’ character as a preteen, played by none other than Stephen King’s IT breakout star Sophia Lillis. Again, at the time of penning this article, I have only seen the show’s first two episodes, but still, Lillis, Like in IT, is ethereal and spooky in equal measure. This is going to be an actress to watch for years to come (ala Emma Watson), I’m calling it now.

And on top of Lillis, the show boasts another one of modern day horror’s top leading (little) ladies with Lulu Wilson. Wilson, for those who don’t watch new horror movies, has been the star of such recent neo-classics as Mike Flanagan’s Ouija: Origin of Evil and David Sanberg’s The Conjuring spin-off sequel Annabelle: Creation. You’ll know her when you see her.

In the end, it’s still too early to know if HBO’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects is going to be (anywhere near) straight horror, but these first two episodes sure doesn’t hold back on the darkness that lies within the hearts, minds, and back alleys of small-town America. Let’s put it this way, the series isn’t anywhere near as “horror” as True Detective, but it is much more “horror” than Flynn’s other recent adaption, David Fincher’s Gone Girl. Does that help? Is this a series you should be checking out along with me as it airs Sundays on HBO? I think so. This series is more than primed to go to Hell and back and I’m all set to sit back and watch it all happen. I think you should too.


HBO’s Sharp Objects is an eight-episode miniseries directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club) from a script adapted by Marti Noxon (Fright Night) from the book by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Dark Places). It stars Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina, Eliza Scanlen, Elizabeth Perkins and Matt Craven. It is currently airing on HBO with new episodes airing Sundays at 9 PM.



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