When and Where Does Mr. Harrigan’s Phone Take Place? Is Harlow a Real Village in Maine?

Image Credit: Nicole Rivelli/Netflix

Netflix’s horror film ‘Mr. Harrigan’s Phone’ revolves around the endearing and intricate relationship between Mr. John Harrigan, an infamous businessman, and Craig, the boy Harrigan hires as his personal book reader. After winning a lottery ticket, Craig gifts a new phone to the old man. When the businessman dies, Craig keeps the phone inside his coat right before the burial happens. The film progresses through the text messages Craig receives from Harrigan’s phone, which is buried along with the latter’s dead body. The period film is set in an earlier period in an isolated village in the state of Maine. If you are eager to know more about the same, you are at the right place! SPOILERS HEAD.

When is Mr. Harrigan’s Phone Set?

The narrative of the film begins in 2003, the year in which Mr. Harrigan hires Craig as his book reader. The significance of the period lies in the absence of technology, especially in the isolated village they live in. By beginning the narrative in a period in which mobile phones haven’t become a normal sight, director John Lee Hancock succeeds in tracing the growth of the usage of mobile phone parallel to Craig’s upbringing as the narrative moves forward. In Craig’s school, his fellow students form groups based on the phone they use and the device also becomes a symbol of status and significance.

Image Credit: Nicole Rivelli/Netflix

Craig’s high school years must have set in the late 2000s, a period that saw the bloom of mobile phones in reality with the introduction of the iPhone and iPhone 3G. He gifts an iPhone to Harrigan, who gets introduced to the wonders the mobile device can perform within his palm. The businessman looks and operates the phone like a child playing with a toy, which wasn’t very different from the behavior or reaction of the early mobile phone users. A few years later Harrigan’s death, Craig finds a footing as a college student and by that time, mobile phones become a common device that is owned by each and every one.

The gradual progression of the narrative from 2003 to the second decade of the second millennium allows Hancock to explore how mobile phones have changed from an alien sight, toy, and luxury to a device, used by everyone, with the potential to heavily influence one’s life, which is metaphorically manifested by Harrigan’s text messages after his death. Craig’s decision to throw away his first iPhone seemingly happens in the second half of the 2010s as he raises doubts concerning its startling influence on his life, aligning with the post-modernist thoughts of the period in real life.

Where is Mr. Harrigan’s Phone Set? Is Harlow a Real Village in Maine?

‘Mr. Harrigan’s Phone’ is primarily set in the village of Harlow, located in the state of Maine. Craig’s high school is located in Gates Falls, the nearby town of Harlow. Both Harlow and Gates Falls were created by Stephen King, who wrote the eponymous source novella of the film. Harlow is just one of the several places in Maine King created to set his novels, novellas, short stories, etc. Harlow is also the main setting of King’s novel ‘Revival’ and the place is either mentioned or appears in King’s other works like ‘Under the Dome,’ ‘Lisey’s Story,’ ‘Bag of Bones,’ ‘The Body,’ ‘N.,’ ‘’Salem’s Lot,’ etc.

Harlow is a region that is similar to other places King had created for his works such as Derry (‘It,’ ‘Dreamcatcher,’ etc.) and Jerusalem’s Lot (‘’Salem’s Lot’). Even though Harlow is fictional, it doesn’t mean that the place is entirely separated from reality. King’s regions have a significant resemblance to the town of Durham, located in the state of Maine, where he reportedly grew up. Harlow, like other regions the author conceived, can be a fictionalized version of Durham. An isolated existence and eventful past are two of the common features of Harlow, Derry, and Jerusalem’s Lot, which also add to the sinister ambiance of the settings.

Read More: Mr. Harrigan’s Phone Ending, Explained