For those of you who like your Halloween horror to consist of something more than just a masked killer with a knife, I submit Netflix series Midnight Mass for your consideration.
Midnight Mass is a deep, thoughtful series, as Mike Flanagan’s work usually is, and it’s definitely not for everyone. Flanagan spends a lot of time developing his characters, and those characters spend a lot of time in deep, intelligent conversation.
Riley (Zach Gilford) is returning to his hometown of Crockett Island after spending the last four years in prison for accidently killing a young woman in a car accident (he was drunk at the time). To his surprise, his high school sweetheart Erin (Kate Siegel) has also returned to the island, pregnant and alone.
The other well-rounded characters in Midnight Mass are Riley’s parents (Kristin Lehman and Henry Thomas), his teenage brother Warren (Igby Rigney),religious fanatic Bev (Samantha Sloyan), Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli) and his teenage son Ali (Rahul Abburi), Mayor Wade Scarborough and wife Dolly (Michael Trucco and Crystal Balint), their wheelchair-confined daughter Leeza (Annarah Cymone), and a handful of other engrossing characters.
There is also the mysterious Father Paul, who claims to be filling in temporarily for the much older Monsignor Pruitt, currently on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Paul quickly wins over the parishioners, but Riley is suspicious (spoiler alert: he is right to be suspicious).
Flanagan takes his time in the beginning, allowing viewers to get to know the characters, and to love most of them. Not Bev, she sucks. But, if you have the patience to let yourself get drawn in to the story, you will feel true affection for almost every one of the Crockett Island residents. Things start to amp up when the townspeople seem to reverse in age – eyesight becomes clearer, aching bones no longer hurt, memories are regained – it seems like a miracle.
Those who claim Midnight Mass is not horror weren’t paying attention.
Yes, there is horror, starting with the day hundreds of dead cats wash up on shore, but most horrifying of all is the strange figure Riley sees walking on the beach during a severe storm. The very tall and terrifying “Angel” will play a very prominent (and bloody) role in what ultimately happens on the island.
At eight episodes, Midnight Mass will take some time to watch, but it’s worth it.
Have you seen Midnight Mass on Netflix, or will you watch it this October? Tell us your plans in the comments section.