Midnight Mass Review & Summary: Mike Flanagan At His Absolute Best

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Video Source – Netflix (Netflix YouTube Channel)

Midnight Mass is a Limited Series which releases on Netflix on 24th of September. It is created by Mike Flanagan, who is also the creator of shows like The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor.

Midnight Mass Series Cast

  • Hamish Linklater as Father Paul
  • Zach Gilford as Riley Flynn
  • Kate Siegel as Erin Greene
  • Samantha Sloyan as Bev Keane
  • Rahul Kohli as Sheriff Hassan

Midnight Mass Series Plot

Midnight Mass is based in the isolated location of Crockett Island, which sees some strange miracles in the works, after the arrival of a new priest. Things change for good and then for worse, and faith is put to test.

Midnight Mass Series Review

Midnight Mass is outright beautiful. By beautiful I mean bone chilling, terrifying and extremely heart touching. Loss, death, rebirth and eternal life is something every character is tested upon and what comes out of the other end is bound to surprise you.

Mike Flanagan is a person who always has something up his sleeve. Haunting Of Hill House was based on a family trauma, Bly Manor was a love story at its core and now Midnight Mass is a petrifying thriller deep rooted in our belief of god. Its depth relies on its characters and their journeys to redemption.

We begin with Riley (Zach Gilford), a relatively successful tycoon, who has just killed a woman by his car. The usual case of drunk driving and expectedly, this incident takes everything from him. His life is reduced to guilt and his next four years are spent in jail. Devoid of a clear purpose, he heads back to his home in the far off Crockett Island. Boundless seas cover the shores all around and the noise of seagulls scatter everywhere there’s land.

With such a massive lack of population, this town emanates extreme loneliness which is beyond eerie. So the people of this town turn to church everyday, and follow their belief in god as their purpose in life. Monsignor Pruitt, the long-time priest of Crockett has gone on his voyage, and so Father Paul (Hamish Linklater) graces the island with his presence and brings miracles with him. And with every miracle, there’s a strange and ruthless price to pay.

Midnight Mass has a pacing which never lets itself chew more than it can swallow. It is such a laid back slow burn, however, laid back isn’t how I would describe the show. Everyone on this tiny little island has a purpose, even if that purpose is unbeknownst to them. And all of them get the chance to undergo introspection, retrospection and catharsis in this 7 episode long run. There are monologues which are as existential as they are pitch black.

Every Mass gathering uncovers a new chapter into their lives and every revelation brings them closer to a twisted version of eternity. It is as much a psychological study as it is a bleak horror. But calling it bleak would pretty much take away the immense attachment and relationship I developed with these characters.

Riley has never been devoid of guilt and self hatred whereas Erin Greene’s (Kaye Siegel) entire personality is a product of her cruel and messy past. Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli) is a Muslim Police Officer who can’t get away with racism and Islamophobia, even in an island like Crockett. There is a past and a present to all these characters and the gradual progression into the story uncovers everything, piece by piece. It’s difficult to get around at first but the consistency pays off with each and every redemption.

Mike Flanagan is master of his art and the way he integrates Christianity into his tale of the twisted angel is beyond fascinating. And the performances in the show only elevate his idea and add uncertainty into the mix. Every shot, every monologue and every moment that brings depth into a person is steady and long. I found myself glued to these characters while they underwent countless moments of truth.

A monologue about death from two characters moved me more profoundly than anything else in a long time and this wouldn’t have been possible if the performances weren’t at par with what the script was trying to achieve. Hamish Linklater’s priest brings peace in times of need and in his solitude, he brings mysteries and ambivalence. He is essentially the centerpiece of the story along with Riley and Erin Greene, yet Samantha Sloyan’s Bev Keane takes the front seat many times.

Every story demands an antagonist and Bev Keene, with her racist beliefs and extreme narcissism, makes it all the more easy to root against someone in a story about characters with quivering moral compass, lacking a control on their lives. The cinematography and the production design blew me away with how effectively they transport the sense of exclusion and isolation. But this is a very VFX heavy show, and there were times when shots looked a bit far fetched and underdone. It has some weird color tonality issues that feel out of place from time to time, but nothing that will break your immersion from the lonely Crockett Island. 

Midnight Mass Review & Summary

Midnight Mass and Its Deep Rooted Mythology

Midnight Mass utilizes terror, not in the form of countless demons and creatures scattered everywhere, like Flanagan did in The Haunting of Hill House. In this tale, more than anything, it’s the lore and the idea behind the harbinger of ill omens which makes it so spine chilling. And in some ways, what The Haunting Of Hill House couldn’t do in its various jump scares, Midnight Mass does it with nothing but its Mythology.

I did not intend to compare the two shows as they both happen to be two of the best Horror Shows out there, but I can only put this point across through a comparison of what makes them work so well. There’s a constant divide between reason and miracle, and for a show that always juggles in between the two, when it finally reaches a concrete side, it makes everything all the more worth it. These miracles pave way for some of the most crazy, jaw dropping plot twists. The score which is a constant mix of irregular blares will also lift your hair from time to time. 

Is Midnight Mass Mike Flanagan’s best work yet? Quite possibly Yes. Is Midnight Mass one of the most profound and surreal Horror Thrillers you will watch in a long time? A definite Yes. Midnight Mass is bleak yet at the end, when everything falls into place, it becomes undeniably hopeful.

The characters become relatable and the viewers will find themselves connecting with their journeys, regardless of whether it takes them in a morally corrupt or a divine path. Its raw beauty isn’t something which is merely a product of its technicalities, rather its the premise and the idea of it all that makes it so unique and inviting. Religion has always been the provocateur of Myths and Horrors, yet no one does it better than Mike Flanagan, and it becomes ever so clear in his latest installment. I for one, can’t wait to see what this man does in the future, and I can’t thank him enough for reinventing the horror genre by following his surreal and extremely creative gut. 

The Movie Culture Synopsis

Midnight Mass is some of the best horror television that you will watch and Mike Flanagan happens to be a creator whose horror sensibilities are always a step ahead of the time. He knows his audience, and he knows what the genre demands. It paves a way for dread inducing films which solely rely on sheer creativity and passion. Don’t miss Midnight Mass when it comes out on 24th September on Netflix.

Author

  • Hardik is a Mumbai based writer who is a cinephile. Nothing interests him more than movies and visual entertainment. His other hobbies include reading and singing (At least, he likes to think that he sings well). You can connect with him on his Instagram.