Don’t Be Afraid of Mike Flanagan’s “Midnight Mass” | Entertainment
Magisterium. Miracles. Ministry. Monologues. Madness. Murder.
“Midnight Mass” by Mike Flanagan.
I’m not the first to say it, but this series is probably the best series of 2021. Since the start of last year, I had heard rumors about this series and the fact that it was a personal passion project for Flanagan. It was only closer to the show’s release that I saw that the horrors of the show stemmed from the writer, director, and creator’s struggles with religion and alcoholism.
Instead of adapting Stephen King and long-standing horror works as with his previous series, “The Haunting of Hill House” and its successor “The Haunting of Bly Manor”, the horror maestro offers a new series original and terrifying, full of painful sincerity. which draws its horror inspirations from the world’s most widely read book.
The good book. The Bible.
So what is it all about? Glad you asked.
Set on the dying and declining town of Crockett Island off the coast of Washington, “Midnight Mass” features a set of small town characters who begin to feel a renewed religious fervor when a fallen prodigal son from the affectionately dubbed island “Crock Pot” returns and an unknown, enigmatic young priest arrives simultaneously. With the new arrivals on the island, church bells are starting to ring again, but for all the wrong reasons.
Personally, the less you know about “Midnight Mass” the better your viewing experience will be.
Each chapter of the seven-episode series builds on the last one that keeps you locked in and invested in the story. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a slow burn based less on the fear of leaping galore from Flanagan’s “Haunting” works, but more on meditative character work and a demonstrative exploration of how religion can be exploited and manipulated. until its most terrifying theologically. capacity.
It’s no secret that the Bible has been used as an excuse for humanity’s most egregious sins, from slavery to imperialism to genocide. Thus, framing a horror series around those who misinterpret the scriptures portrays the consequences that misled faith has on an entire community. However, the series does this without ever denigrating religious institutions despite its nuanced criticism. It never comes across as “anti-religion”. In my opinion, I would call it “anti-lust” because the series doesn’t hesitate to show how far some are willing to go for their desire for the eternal, eternal life of God.
Mike Flanagan’s singular vision shines throughout the series because “Midnight Mass” might as well be his masterpiece, his magnum opus. He feels honest, humane, and balanced in his poignant ruminations about trauma, guilt, faith, and the big question we all ask our parents when we’re young: “What happens when we die?” It’s scary to think of it, but Flanagan approaches these topics with grace.
Fear not though, “Haunting” fans, because speaking of scary stuff, the horror is here. There are some truly blood-curdling imagery and spooky fears throughout, but I found the show’s true horror most apparent in its shocking, gasping revelations and terrifying atmosphere. The gospel hymns juxtaposed with the visual scenarios were enough to give me goosebumps. The soundtrack of frequent Flanagan collaborators, The Newtown Brothers, is also strangely fascinating.
As for the cast, the whole is simply spectacular from top to bottom. The “haunting” veterans Kate Seigel (wife of Mike Flanagan), Henry Thomas (Elliot of HEY) and Rahul Kohli (my favorite character) are all awesome. Returning Prodigal Son Zach Gilford’s Riley Flynn floored me with his dark and sweet performance. There hasn’t been a character I hated as much as Dolores Umbridge from “Harry Potter” until I testify to Samantha Sloyan’s Beverly Keane, a woman of faith holier than you who hides her contempt behind a disgusting facade of piety. She is a terrible zealot that you will hate from start to finish.
The entire cast is fantastic and shines like the light of God, all from various religious backgrounds, ethnicities, orientations, and more, but no other cast member shines more than Hamish Linklater’s Father Paul. There are many things that history asks of Linklater as an actor, and he pulls them off perfectly in one of the best performances I’ve seen in a very long time. His character is a timeless one who exceeds all expectations.
Performances aside, the characters themselves are so intimately written with heartbreaking seriousness, no matter what their actions. The best thing I can say is that they felt real in every way.
I could write endlessly on Midnight Mass in all its glory for days, maybe even weeks, but just talking about it does nothing to demonstrate its power. In essence, it’s the best show of the year. Carefully descending the tightrope of organized religion criticism, Mike Flanagan delivers a mature, meditative, and methodically crafted horror series that is sure to leave a lasting impression for years to come with a spooky finale for the ages.
“Do not be afraid.”