@sirenspull Occupation: Barista, Grinds Coffee Shop : Located at the corner of West 30th and Beechtree Ave. in Sector 4.
Home Location: A small one bedroom apartment on the not-so-great side of Sector 4. It's cheap and close to work, who cares if the heating doesn't always work?
All things considered… Tom is really just a normal guy. He’s kind, soft spoken, and compassionate. During the course of the film, a love triangle is very much at the centre of all the action. Sarah, his ex (for whom he is still cares for deeply) still has feelings for Tom, but she is married to Axel who is hopelessly jealous of the remaining sparks between his wife and Tom. Likewise, Tom respects Sarah’s choice, but isn’t afraid to taunt Axel with the fact that she settled for him. Tom even decides to stay in Harmony and not sell the mine after speaking with Sarah a few times. Suspicious that his wife is fucking around behind his back, Axel endlessly challenges him.
Aside from being a generally kind person, Tom’s got a chip on his shoulder. He feels rejected and betrayed by pretty much everyone in his home town, Harmony. He’s bitter over the fact that the town still blames him for the collapse ten years ago, and that the people he thought were his friends literally left him for dead. And really, it’s all completely understandable. Anyone in his situation would feel the same, and, unable to cope, it’s no wonder that he packed up and left.
An important thing to note would be the relationship between Tom and his father. Mrs. Hanniger not being mentioned at all, it’s safe to assume that she is probably dead and has been for a long time. This means that Elias was Tom’s only guiding figure growing up and he idolized his father. Tom was committed to continuing his father’s legacy and it was a detrimental blow when Elias began to openly blame him for the accident.
Another relationship to note is the one between Tom and Axel. Their fathers were known friends and it is generally assumed that they were good friends growing up but had a massive falling out sometime before graduating high school. It could have been over something minor like which positions they played on the football team, or more likely, over a girl. It’s clear that Axel has always liked Sarah, but she chose to date soft spoken Tom instead and he couldn’t take it. Tom remarks at one point that he knows Axel hates him, but that he doesn’t really care. One might be able to infer that Tom also doesn’t really understand the reasons behind Axel hating him. It’s also important to note that Axel was the one that decided to leave Tom behind at the mine.
So as good natured as Tom might actually be, he’s got a lot of baggage that holds him back from moving on and taking control of his life. This fact is a huge part of who Tom is, as it affects every part of him. He is unwilling to let go of the past and carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’s quick to defend himself over the events of the last decade and feels like he’s been cheated out of a normal happy ever after.
And then along came Harry… At first glance, you’d think that it was a split personality, but it’s a little more complicated than that. Being a sufferer of severe PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) ‘Harry’ is actually an illusion projected by Tom’s unstable mind, and like Multiple Personality Disorder, ‘Harry’ has specific triggers. In a typical ‘attack’ something will trigger Tom, Irene fucking a trucker in the next motel room, for example. She’s loud and it pisses off Tom, but more importantly she is a survivor of the Valentine’s Day Murders and was in the truck when he was abandoned. Something within Tom needs closure, and this manifests in a hallucination of Harry Warden.
Although it is physically Tom committing the acts, he sees Harry as the one responsible. ‘Harry’ is never actually seen as he is always wearing a mining suit complete with mask, but it‘s a common consensus that he is the perpetrator. He uses the light on his helmet to blind his victims, and never speaks. In this way, he is a faceless killer with motive not even known to Tom. You’d think it would be to get revenge on the people that abandoned him ten years ago, but Megan’s murder proves that Harry will deviate slightly in order to target his actual victim, or just because they happen to be in the way.
Harry also seems to know a lot more about the general situation than Tom does and it is unclear as to whether Tom has been witness to all of Harry’s kills or only some. He will openly testify that he saw Red killed down in the mine, but that he was trapped in an equipment locker at the time. This is actually true, but that’s not quite how it went down. Dressed as Harry, Tom, in a state of delusion, killed Red before locking himself in the cage and bending the latch to make it seem like he was trapped. He also injured himself in such a way that the wound looked defensive and would help to make his case. When Red’s body was found, and Tom was in the cage, he was suspected but the miners confirmed that Tom was indeed stuck and that ‘someone else was down there’. Once Harry has gotten rid of whatever triggered him in the first place, he will disappear and Tom may or may not remember. He also seems to remember Megan’s death, but doesn’t mention any of the other murders.
Born and raised in Harmony, a small coal mining town in Pennsylvania, Tom has lived and breathed the business his entire life. His father, Elias Hanniger, town co-forefather and head of Hanniger Mines, brought his son up in his foot steps. Not that its all that uncommon in family run towns. In fact, most of the people Tom has ever known have gone on to follow in their family business.
Carrying minor celebrity status while growing up, Tom was popular and well liked both for his family name and for his genuine character. In high school, he played as star quarterback for the Harmony High Panthers, kept decent grades, and had managed to get a girlfriend. His one and only serious relationship: Sarah Mercer. The possibility of attending higher education had presented itself though a football scholarship, but it was turned down in favor of going into the mines.
And that’s exactly what he did. It was hardly a day after he graduated that Tom had signed the paperwork and set to work two hundred feet below the surface under the supervision of the experienced shift leader Harry Warden. Having practically grown up in the mine, Tom was confident and skilled, but…not always on the ball.
Having a general dislike of Tom, Harry was often tough and took a little pride in being an all around asshole.
“We’re rescue training down below. You vented the methane on 5, right?”
“I know my job, Harry.”
“Like fuck you do, Hanniger. Just because your daddy owns the mine doesn’t mean you know shit.”
All normal enough until February rolled around. Harmony carried the long standing tradition of a Valentine’s Day dance, to which the entire town would show up. Eager to get the hell out of the tunnels, away from his asshole boss, and up to Sarah, Tom left that night a little more than preoccupied. It was an honest mistake, but he had forgot to ventilate the methane in Tunnel No.5 and the gas line exploded, trapping six men (including Harry) inside. It would be days before the rescue team could reach the survivors, but when they did, authorities found that only one had managed to pull through. Curious enough, it wasn’t the collapse that had killed the other five men, but murder. Harry Warden, had slaughtered them with a pickaxe to preserve his own air and was dragged out alive, but in a coma where he would stay for a year.
Now, despite the murders being by Harry’s hand, it was Tom that took the majority of shit from the town’s folk. They saw him as the fucker who couldn’t do a simple job, and even if it was an accident, they blamed Tom for it occurring in the first place. His own father, barely able to look in Tom’s direction, turned to alcohol which ended with his death some years later. Now alone, save for Sarah, Tom tried to pick himself up and carry on.
One year later, another misfortune struck. A few actually. All the kids in town got together to celebrate their own Valentine’s Day party in the remains of Tunnel No.5. Beer, sex, and scary stories of Harry Warden wound their way around the tunnel. Tom got dragged to the party because Sarah wanted to go, even though it was the last place he wanted to be. And Harry Warden woke up from his coma, hell bent on revenge for the collapse. He slaughtered several men, women, and children before leaving the hospital and making his way to the underground party. Now, there’s been speculation as to whether or not he knew there would be a party there, but the answer is probably no, and that he stumbled upon it by coincidence. Enraged by all the drunk asshole teenagers in the mine, he donned his old mining suit and proceeded to slaughter everyone he could find. Twenty-three in total.
It just so happened that Harry eventually found Tom and Sarah, along with Tom’s ex-best friend Axel and his girlfriend Irene. Isolated and hunted in the claustrophobic tunnels, they tried desperately to escape, barely making it back to the surface and into Axel’s beat up truck. Well, not quite. Set in Harry’s crosshairs from the start, Tom was the last to make it out and attacked by the mouth of the tunnel. Unable (or unwilling) to get out and save him, Axel pulled the truck in gear and got the hell out of dodge - abandoning Tom to die.
[[The best explanation of the setup and important information is provided by a montage in the beginning of the film, here:
It’s not very long and definitely worth a quick look-see. ]]
Now fighting for his life, Tom scrabbled up and tried to fight Harry off on his own but having little to no fighting skill, and relying on basic instinct, he didn’t get too far. It was a split second between the final blow and the police finally showing up. Shot from behind, Harry dropped to his knees but managed to get up and disappear into the mine. The police followed, leaving Tom covered in Harry’s blood and thoroughly traumatized.
It wasn’t long before Tom suffered an outright breakdown, and now abandoned by the only person who didn’t already hate him, he packed up and disappeared from Harmony without a trace.
No one knows where he went, and it was common belief that Tom was in fact dead. It isn’t until after his father’s death ten years later, than Tom shows back up to sell the mine. [[There’s evidence to suggest that Tom returned for a short visit three years previously but it’s pure speculation.]] Trouble starts the second he hits town as time hadn’t quieted the people’s opinion of him and selling the mine to some faceless corporation is only making it worse. Hanniger Mine is Harmony’s life blood and handing it over spells uncertain futures for everyone. Still, the fact remains that Tom is majority share holder and he refuses to back down to the pressure.
That is until he meets back up with Sarah and sees that she has carried on, married Axel, and had a son (Noah). It seems that Tom isn’t the only one to come back from the dead, though, as Harry Warden emerges quietly from the shadows to end what happened a decade ago.
[[Quoted from the wikipedia article and amended for accuracy:] “In quick succession, Irene [Axel’s old girlfriend] is murdered by Harry Warden at the motel where Tom is staying [as well as a trucker named Frank and the motel’s owner], then as Tom goes to check out his newly inherited mine, [Red] a miner is murdered…[Whilst underground Tom is ambushed by Harry who traps and forces him to watch the man die.] As the rest of the mining crew arrive to see what is the matter, Warden flees and suspicion is cast on Tom despite the fact that he was locked in a cage the entire time.”
“Sheriff Axel then asks Burke, the retired sheriff, what happened to Warden. He says that he and his deputy killed and buried Harry the night he attacked everyone. [The wiki article originally states that the retired sheriff is Axel’s father and that he and Elias Hanniger killed Warden, but canon points out that Elias and Mr. Palmer drank themselves to death so that information is incorrect.] Axel, [his deputy], Tom, Sarah and Burke go to the spot where Warden was buried to see that his body is no longer there. [The plan was to use the remains as proof that Harry was indeed dead and it was just some copycat, but the empty grave only serves to increase the paranoia]. Next, Megan [A cashier that works for Sarah, is sleeping with Axel, and newly pregnant] is killed by Warden [after she and Sarah are attacked at work].” ]]
This is followed by the deaths of Ben Foley (the current mine manager), Burke, and Rosa (the Palmers hired help). Released from the hospital after her encounter with Harry at the Mercer’s grocery store, Tom picks up Sarah and brings her to Axel’s father’s old house where he has discovered evidence that points to Axel as the killer. Along the way, Axel calls and informs her of Tom’s past. It turns out he suffered a complete psychotic breakdown and has spent seven of the last ten years institutionalized. He claims that Tom is the killer and that he has killed their nanny and gone after their son.
“I know I’ve been horrible to you, and I’m sorry ok? you can leave me if you want, but just get out of the car. Sarah, please, get out of the car!”
At her husband’s instructions, Sarah crashes Tom’s truck on the side of the road near the mine and runs into the forest. She calls Axel back and he tells her to take refuge in his father’s house until he can come and get her. She agrees and leaves Tom injured on the side of the road. There’s just enough time for Sarah to get into the house and discover the evidence Tom was talking about before Harry shows up. Dozens of candy boxes pour from the kitchen cabinet and Sarah remembers that Harry was putting the hearts if his victims inside the same box. She also finds a ten year old photo of herself and Tom next to a valentine from Megan to Axel. Sarah realizes that Axel had been using the house as a love nest but before she can do anything else, the front door is opened and a fully suited Harry Warden is standing in the doorway. A fight ensues and Sarah only just escapes back into the forest. Having dropped her phone when she jumped out the window, she hoofs it to the nearby mine now convinced that Axel really is the killer. She grabs a light and goes underground to hide.
Sarah is soon found by Axel who denies being the killer. Tom, previously left behind, catches up to the couple and also denies being responsible for the killings. They quarrel at Sarah’s gunpoint as to what is really going on and Tom seems to be winning the argument before he slips up and gives out a vital piece of information.
He knows Megan is dead.
Tom claims that Sarah told him but it just isn’t true and as she gets ready to take Tom down, he sees Harry coming towards them.
“W-what is that? Sarah.. It’s him! It’s Harry! Sarah you gotta shoot him! He’s right there, Sarah shoot him! Shoot him now!”
Only no one can see Harry but Tom and he freaks out more and more the closer he gets to the trio. Harry advances until he is face to face with Tom before disappearing. The hallucination triggers something in Tom and he realizes the truth for the first time. Its been him all along.
Sarah: “Harry’s not here Tom.”
Axel: “No, he’s here. That you Harry? Livin’ inside Tom?”
Tom/Harry: “Ohh, I’m right here.”
Axel: “I fucking knew it.”
At that point Axel attacks Tom (now Harry) and the two fight until ‘Harry’ manages to stab Axel through the stomach with an axe and take off down into the tunnel. Sarah fires a few shots before going to aid her fallen husband but before they can escape, ‘Harry’ returns a few minutes later to finish them off. Seeking refuge behind a partition, Axel tells Sarah that they have one bullet left.
She waits as long as possible before confronting their attacker. “Tom” She yells, and he actually stops. For the briefest of moments Tom is able to take control of his body, but ‘Harry’ is just too strong and Sarah fires just as he is about to attack her. The bullet goes clean through his hip and hits the methane tanks that line the wall causing a massive explosion.
It’s hours until rescue workers are able to dig them out. Axel and Sarah are found first and evacuated from the collapsed tunnel. Tom is discovered alive by a lone rescue team member but before he can signal for anyone else, ‘Harry’ manages to kill the man and get into his uniform. Axel, in critical condition, is loaded into an ambulance and ’Harry’ slips by in his disguise. When questioned as to Hanniger’s whereabouts, Axel simply answers “Toms dead.”