Mike Flanagan has made a name for himself as one of the biggest upcoming horror directors around at the moment, next to names like Jordan Pele, Eli Roth and Karyn Kusama. Having signed with Netflix for multiple titles, Flanagan has spawned a thriller film, Gerald’s Game, and many of Netflix’s most favoured horror series, namely The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Midnight Mass, The Midnight Club, and the upcoming The Fall of the House of Usher. Leading up to Halloween, it’s the perfect time to explore some chilling and gripping titles. And I highly recommend checking out Mike Flanagan’s Midnight Mass on Netflix if you haven’t seen it already. It has been dubbed “the best vampire thriller of the decade” and it truly lives up to this title.
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Midnight Mass is a chilling and gripping tale of what happens when a small town with strong Catholic convictions is led astray by their priest. Thinking it might be a cult situation, the series unexpectedly starts with the murder of a young teenage girl by Riley Flynn who has fallen asleep, drunk, at the wheel. A former start-up investor, Riley can’t shake the guilt that he feels over his favourable outcome, leaving the scene of the gruesome car accident with nothing but a hangover and a few scratches, while the young girl has been robbed of her life and her future.
After serving a relatively short sentence, Riley heads home to the small fishing town of Crockett Island, a quaint place with less than 100 inhabitants, surrounded by miles and miles of water. Now needing to reintegrate with society, Riley finds himself having to face the daunting tasks of repairing his relationships, going to his AA meetings, and working on how to deal with his guilt.
Things start to heat up when a new preacher comes to town, to replace the beloved Monsignor John Michael Pruitt who has mysteriously fallen ill after a spiritual retreat to Israel. Along with this mysterious new priest come strange but real miracles, inspiring the community to return to their faith. The thrills start when the community starts to realise that this new priest isn’t who he says he is and has brought along with him an unhinged idea of faith.
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Inspiration Behind The Masterpiece
Although the premise of Midnight Mass is terrifying in and of itself, what truly gives it its thriller kick is the meaning and inspiration behind the series, and how it is inexplicably based in reality. Mike Flanagan has shared before that while the series is heavily inspired by Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, it is also inspired by his own experiences as an altar boy in his youth, and his struggles overcoming addiction.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly last year, Flanagan shared some of what truly inspired the show, “Here’s this long scene I had written about atheism. Let me look at that a few years later and rebut it. Let me try to honestly come in and challenge my own idea. Here’s a long scene about alcoholism. Let me really try to come in and talk about recovery. Being in conversation with my various selves over the last 11 years, that have all dipped into this story, that’s what makes it so personal for me. I don’t know that I’ll ever be lucky enough to have that experience again with another piece of work.
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While the show is not too heavy on jumpscares, the haunting monologues are what drive this frightening story. Just before the show released on Netflix, Flanagan shared on Twitter that, “The ideas at the root of this show scare me to my core,” once again showing that just because there isn’t a slashing killer, and wild chases, or the constant threat of a demonic flesh-eating angel lurking in the shadows, doesn’t mean that with the right core, a show can’t be bone-chilling.
If you are up for an unconventional thrill and want to explore some terrifying concepts this Halloween, I really recommend you check out Midnight Mass. It is truly a binge-worthy thriller that both have an amazing conclusion and leaves you wanting more.
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Have you watched Mike Flanagan‘s Midnight Mass on Netflix yet?