HBO series “Sharp Objects” delivers a refreshing take on the murder mystery genre

Noah Levine

Amy Adams + a sharp object + murder = Fantastic television. Step into the twisted town of Wind Gap and uncover its dark secrets with HBO’s series “Sharp Objects.”


“Sharp Objects” premiered in 2018 as an eight-part television series directed by Jean-Marc Vallée based upon the 2006 novel of the same name written by Gillian Flynn. The show follows reporter Camille Preaker, played by Amy Adams, as she reports on the murder of two little girls in her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri. “Sharp Objects” is a brilliantly executed series that masterfully uses high stakes, chilling character revelations and a killer soundtrack to take the viewer on an unforgettable journey. 


Amy Adams brings a tragic yet beautiful take to the character of Camille Preaker. Camille’s movements seem calculated yet hesitant at the exact time, offering a complex aspect to the character. In addition, Adams beautifully switches between distressed and focused as Camille deals with heavy trauma and important leads all at once. Camille is clearly a fragile character, and Adams displays this brokenness with grace and excellence. 


Although the show primarily fixates on Camille’s perspective, a host of strong supporting characters make an impression. Camille’s overly-caring mother Adora Crellin is played by Patricia Clarkson, and Camille’s mischievous step sister Amma Crellin, is expertly portrayed by standout actress Eliza Scanlen. Chris Messina shines, portraying out-of-state Detective Richard Willis, who is determined to uncover the truth about the Wind Gap murders. The diverse and intriguing attributes possessed by these characters add to the general uneasiness and secrecy of the show’s setting. 


While “Sharp Objects” could have easily been another generic and poorly written murder mystery show, it blows all preconceived notions out of the water. The show’s success can be largely attributed to Vallée’s excellent direction coupled with Adams’s finely-tuned acting chops. 


Vallée beautifully captures the essence of a town shrouded in dark mystery with mesmerizing yet haunting imagery and multi-layered townsfolk. Several words and visuals in the environment are often rearranged to reflect the deteriorating mental state Camille resides in. This tactic is visually engaging, while simultaneously adding life and character to the town and people within the story. 


Every character in “Sharp Objects” seems to have a story to tell, inviting the audience to uncover their stories. The series is also continuously complimented by its fantastical soundtrack, which features haunting and eclectic melodies from The Acid, Led Zeppelin and Johnny Cash.


“Sharp Objects” delivers a slow burn, with each episode providing just enough information regarding the murders to keep the audience hooked. By prolonging the solution of the mystery, viewers are able to get invested in any new leads. Rest assured, the mystery is solved at the conclusion of this eight-episode mini-series, and it is a jaw-dropper that feels earned yet appropriately shocking. 


While HBO’s “Sharp Objects” does not shy away from grisly images and graphic details, it does so while conveying a heartfelt and gritty story of one woman coming face to face with the demons of her past and trying to get justice in a town consumed by murder, corruption and deception. 


“Sharp Objects” is available to stream on HBO GO or On Demand. 




“Sharp Objects” is a wonderfully executed murder mystery due to the masterful acting, directing, and overall story the series conveys.