Five of the best modern horror series ranked (including Swarm)

Swarm - Courtesy Amazon Prime
Swarm - Courtesy Amazon Prime /
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1. Midnight Mass

When deciding which recent horror series I would deem number one in my own book, it ultimately came down to my love for anything created by Mike Flanagan. He brought us The Haunting of Hill House series on Netflix, which is possibly my number one of all time. As a devotee of Shirley Jackson’s novel, I expected to be as disappointed in the series as I was in 1999’s The Haunting, but instead, I fell in love with every single member of the Crain family.

I liked The Haunting of Bly Manor, and I enjoyed The Cemetery Club, but for my money, Midnight Mass was the one that came closest to the level of The Haunting of Hill House.

The nay-sayers will tell you that Midnight Mass is too slow, that it’s boring, and that it has too many long monologues. But, I will tell you it is (like all of Flanagan’s work) deep, moving, emotional and genuinely frightening. And I lived for those amazing monologues!

Set on isolated Crockett Island, Midnight Mass begins with Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford) returning to the island on which he grew up. He has just completed a four-year prison sentence for accidentally killing a young woman while driving drunk. His feelings of guilt are never-ending, and he is prone to seeing the young woman while trying to go to sleep at night.

Also living on Crockett Island are Riley’s parents and younger brother, his childhood crush Erin (now single and pregnant), town-drunk Joe, wheelchair-bound Leeza, and many other richly drawn and very interesting characters.

Chief among them is Father Paul (whose many emotional layers are perfectly played by Hamish Linklater), who is ostensibly filling in temporarily for Monsignor Pruitt at the town’s Catholic Church. When Father Paul arrives on the island, some very strange things begin to happen. Hundreds of dead cats wash up on shore, Erin’s unborn infant mysteriously disappears from her womb, and quite suddenly, all of the adult residents start to become younger.

Anyone who tries to tell you that Midnight Mass “isn’t scary” just wasn’t paying attention. Even if you figure out the ultimate cause of the strange events (it’s not really that hard), there are plenty of terrifying, often bloody twists still to come. The whys and hows aren’t immediately evident, and this horror series digs into the real-life mysteries of grief, trauma, and religious faith.

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What are your favorite more recent horror series? We want to read all about it in the comments section.