Midnight Mass is the latest creation from Mike Flanagan, who you may know from his previous works; Haunting of Hill House, Haunting of Bly House and Doctor Sleep. His latest series developed for Netflix steps into the ring, and is a passion project he’s been working on for the past 10 years. I must say, it definitely pays off! We get such a dark and twisted take on religion, guilt, faith and many of things in this character driven drama/horror. If you enjoyed the previous two series’, then I definitely think you should check this one out too!
Minor spoilers from here on out.
Midnight Mass starts off with the character Riley, played by Zach Gilford, who we are shown is dealing with a very tragic aftermath of a DUI incident. He’s found guilty and sent to jail, and can’t stop getting the image of the woman he killed out of his head every night before he sleeps. When he gets out 6 years later, he returns to his childhood home, a quiet island with a very small population. He’s welcomed by his family and old time friends. He’s learning to fit in with he community, learning about the townspeople, such as the new sheriff played by the wonderful Rahul Kohli, the religious folk, an old childhood friend played by Kate Siegel, the children, the charismatic doctor, and even the neighborhood drunk and his canine companion. During his stay on the island, we learn that the local priest Monsignor Pruitt has left and has not come back, and is actually later replaced by a mysterious , charismatic new priest called Father Paul, played by Hamish Linklater. Once the arrival from Father Paul makes way, the island of inhabitants start experiencing miracles and mysterious events start taking place. Here in, is when the story starts unraveling it’s dark secrets.
So, I have to talk about the acting first things first. The writing is brilliant, and all the actors brought their A game. The one major player that completely stands out for me is Hamish Linklater, who is the main driving force for the story. His performance stands out and dare I say, I’m seeing so much potential for award nominations here. He balances out the soft spoken nature of his character so well with the mystery and intrigue. It makes you want to believe his character, and you can feel that the character genuinely thinks he’s doing the right thing. Hamish just shines in this role. It’s a very challenging and multi-dimensional character that wouldn’t work with a weak performance since I feel like he is the central part of the entire story. Also, as a Catholic myself, I have to say, his performance during the mass sessions were so energetic and eerie, I’m sure it will leave your skin crawling. Tremendous work all around. I do also want to put the spotlight on another scene stealer here. There is a character called Bev Keane played by Samantha Sloyan. Boy when I tell you I absolutely loved hating her character so much and I just know you will too! No other character got under my skin as much as she did and my gosh I think it takes a special someone to play a role like this so effortlessly. She’s a nun who’s completely blinded by her faith, and looks down on others who may oppose. What a great performance.
I also want to highlight how natural and organic the town feels. The small island is definitely its own character, and the entire ensemble cast do a fantastic job bringing it all to life. For us to understand the story, we must first understand the characters and all its inhabitants. We learn about the misfortunes, the miracles, the shortcomings, the religious, the faith, and the traditions they carry out(crock pot luck). Everybody knows everybody, and the beginning of the series takes its time making sure you know who they are too.
I won’t reveal the major twists of the story, but I will say that for me, the way it was slowly unveiled was so tremendously satisfying. When I managed to piece it all back together in my head, I felt so rewarded. It’s not one of those shows where the answer is obvious, but they laid out just enough clues for you to pick up on after the fact that will leave you with your jaw dropped. I remember thinking to myself, “Oh, I need to rewatch this,” as soon as I was done because I wanted to go back and pick up the small details I may have missed the first time around. My only small complaint is that it is slow paced at first, but it’s worth it once things really start kicking off. This is no doubt, horror at its finest. I also think in my opinion, this is creator Mike Flanagan’s best work so far. We get a story with great storytelling. and great writing. Multiple themes are explored here such as faith and fanaticism and are blended wonderfully with the horror element. A stellar cast with a strong performance. I can go on all day. If you enjoyed Mike’s previous works, you are sure to love this one too!
Check out Midnight Mass premiering September 24th on Netflix.