FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE NOT YET SEEN MIDNIGHT MASS, THIS IS A NON-SPOILER REVIEW.
Mike Flanagan has taken the Netflix horror world by storm with his limited series’, The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor… As well as the Stephen King-adapted film Gerald’s Game. And now he is back to the streaming platform with a new original series called Midnight Mass, just in time for the spooky season. And while this horror auteur doesn’t hit the heights that he did with Hill House, it is, in my opinion, far more captivating than Bly Manor. This is definitely a bingeable and spine-tingling series, worth your time.
WHAT IS MIDNIGHT MASS ALL ABOUT?
Midnight Mass follows a young man returning to his isolated island home after being incarcerated for a drunk driving accident. Just as the prodigal son makes it back, the small religious town is met with the arrival of a charismatic and mysterious young priest — who is taking over for their elderly patriarch, after going missing in the holy lands. As we slowly learn more about all of the members of this community, strange, horrific and also miraculous events start occurring… that will change their lives forever.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ISSUES WITH THE SERIES?
Going into Midnight Mass; this was one of my most-anticipated series of the year. The Haunting of Hill House is easily one of my favorite Netflix properties… and Flanagan has become one of the best-working modern directors in horror. And I would like to get the negatives out of the way first so I can concentrate on what this series does well.
I must admit that there was a tinge of disappointment and frustration I felt as the middle section of these seven episodes seriously lagged. This is a dialogue-driven script, filled with heavy-handed, long-winded philosophical and religious monologues that just seem to go on and on… and on. It’s as if the characters are constantly rambling at times… I have a gut feeling that this slow-burn approach will certainly turn off some viewers who are just looking for a good scare. And, I couldn’t help, but feel like Flanagan’s vision would have been much stronger as a two-hour film, than a 7-hour limited series.
HOW IS THE CAST?
But, there is so much to love about Midnight Mass. First and foremost, the ensemble cast is absolutely outstanding. While the script could be incredibly dense and overdone at times, the performers make up for it with their stunning takes on these characters. The underrated Zach Gilford and Hamish Linklater, along with Flanagan’s powerhouse wife Kate Siegel all give it their all… and it really is hard to take your eyes off of them. But, it is Samantha Sloyan as rigid nun Bev Keane, who blew me away. I was unfamiliar with her until this show, but she is definitely one to look out for.
HOW DOES IT ALL COME TOGETHER? AND IS IT SCARY?
Mike Flanagan’s flare for putting together an exquisite production is all here, as well. Including his intense wide-shots, exquisite cinematography, detailed production and costume design, prosthetic work, haunting score and his now-famous long-take tracking shots. I was constantly impressed with the intricate details in this show, and although it can tread on being a little messy at times; it’s still beautifully put together.
And while the first episode is creepy; many of the middle episodes lack much of anything involving scares. But, when the last two episodes come around… boy, does this series become one insane, balls-to-the-wall fright-fest. I was hoping Flanagan could salvage his script for an amazing finale, and I truly think he pulls it off. Not only is it action-packed, it is delightfully scary, violent and what I appreciated most… ridiculously bonkers. And while some people might guess what is going on nearly halfway through, the way it all comes together is shocking and wholly satisfying.
Midnight Mass will be streaming on Netflix Friday, September 24th.
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