In terms of horror tv, I feel it’s protected to say that Mike Flanagan has cornered the latest Netflix market with 5 implausible collection on the streamer. However with nice affect comes nice debates about which present of the 5 is one of the best. In the end, that honor ought to go to Midnight Mass, Flanagan’s 2021 collection a few small island that’s rocked by a spiritual revival with lethal penalties.
Sure, The Haunting of Hill Home, The Haunting of Bly Manor, The Midnight Membership, and this 12 months’s The Fall of the Home of Usher are all nice in their very own proper, significantly Hill Home, however there may be simply one thing so particular about Midnight Mass, which out of the Netflix TV combine is Flanagan’s solely absolutely authentic work. Whereas Hill Home set a excessive bar as Flanagan’s freshman TV outing, Midnight Mass takes the weather followers have come to like in his work and elevates it to a degree I’ve but to see once more.
Whereas all of Flanagan’s different exhibits take inspiration from literary works and figures, with The Fall of the Home of Usher most lately paying homage to Edgar Allan Poe, Midnight Mass takes a typical horror aspect and transforms it into one thing mind-bending and new. Following a dwindling group on Crockett Island, Midnight Mass tells the story of Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford), a younger man who’s returning residence after spending years in jail for killing a younger girl in a drunk driving accident.
Upon his return, Riley finds himself to be an outsider amongst his judgemental islanders, and he isn’t the one outcast. Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli) and Erin Greene (Kate Siegel) additionally discover themselves on the outs within the predominantly Catholic group with him being a Muslim and her being a pregnant single younger girl.
When a mysterious man who calls himself Father Paul Hill (Hamish Linklater) greets parishioners at St. Patrick’s Church for Sunday mass although, all the things is modified. He ignites a renewed non secular fervor within the absence of the church’s aged Monsignor John Pruitt, delivering impassioned sermons and seemingly performing miracles, amongst which embrace paralyzed teen Leeza’s (Annarah Cymone) unparalleled restoration.
Every passing week the pews develop fuller and fuller with Crocket Island’s inhabitants, making believers out of naysayers, however not all are satisfied of those miracles. Because the thriller behind Father Paul unfolds, viewers be taught he’s Monsignor Pruitt, reworked after an encounter with what he calls “The Angel,” throughout a pilgrimage in Israel.
The Angel in query is a vampire although, which Father Paul introduced again with him to Crockett Island, explaining an odd array of occasions like a mysterious determine strolling across the island in Monsignor’s jacket and hat, in addition to a seaside stuffed with blood-drained stray cats after a serious storm. It additionally explains the seemingly miraculous occurrences, most notably evident within the de-aging of Dr. Sarah Gunning’s (Annabeth Gish) mom, Mildred (Alexandra Essoe) who begins the collection as an aged girl within the throes of dementia and finds her youthful and fitter than ever. The reality is that The Angel has been draining its personal blood into the Sacramental wine for the consumption of St. Patrick’s parishioners, altering them in unimaginable methods.
As with most secrets and techniques, they will’t keep hidden for lengthy, and what begins as a well-intentioned, however misguided effort to convey positivity to the island, turns into one thing hideous and devastating. Linklater’s efficiency is so riveting and layered you could’t assist however really feel the conviction with which he speaks to the churchgoers. His actions juxtapose these good intentions although as he’s modified by The Angel’s blood, making him a remorseless killer beneath the guise that The Angel’s miracle will save Crockett’s folks.
Feeding the flames is Bev Keane (Samantha Sloyan) who’s surely Flanagan’s finest villain to this point. A bigot and a schemer, she forces her faith upon all she encounters, and when she learns the reality about Father Paul, she makes use of that unyielding fanaticism to elucidate away her unhealthy deeds, previous and current. She helps Father Paul on his mission, however when even he realizes the errors of his methods, Bev doesn’t relent, even enjoying god in with regards to the fates of others.
She’s an ideal embodiment of the hazards of spiritual radicalization, which is an overarching theme on this thought-provoking collection. Whereas Father Paul represents this as effectively, his skill to step again and see the larger image proves that not all who’re radicalized in something are past restore, however the lesson or hope is that you just’ll come to this realization earlier than it’s too late, in contrast to Father Paul.
Riley, Erin, and Sheriff Hassan additionally symbolize points of society which are usually neglected or ostracized, with Riley representing addicts and incarcerated folks, Erin representing girls’s well being, and Sheriff Hassan because the receiving finish of Islamaphobia. In the end, it’s these figures who’re accountable for taking motion to forestall Father Paul’s plans from following by way of.
The best way Flanagan builds this thriller and pays it off is each satisfying and utterly mesmerizing as a result of it retains you considering lengthy after the credit roll. And don’t get me began on the monologues! Flanagan’s exhibits are all the time nice at delivering engaging dialogue, however Siegel actually will get to shine alongside Gilford when delivering minutes-long monologues about life and demise.
Midnight Mass looks like a literary story that has come to life onscreen, and in some methods, it’s, as Flanagan initially got here up with the idea as a novel earlier than reworking it into a movie script, and later this collection. The title seems way back to 2016 in Flanagan’s movie Hush, wherein Midnight Mass is a best-selling guide by the character Maddie Younger (additionally performed by Siegel).
Whereas Flanagan has leaned on literary references for his different exhibits, Midnight Mass stands as an authentic creation, which continues to be his finest. As horrible as a few of the characters are, one factor Midnight Mass will get us to do is care about its characters, regardless of their flaws. Even Father Paul has one thing redeemable deep down as a person who’s in the end determined to maintain a household he by no means had the braveness to assert, collectively.
As for Bev and The Angel? They’re nonetheless unhealthy, however doesn’t each horror story want a monster or two? In the event you’ve but to tune into this Flanaverse title, do your self a favor and binge his finest Netflix present to this point, as a result of being a Flanagan fanatic is much much less harmful than being a fanatic on Crockett Island.
Midnight Mass, Streaming now, Netflix