Midnight Mass review: Haunting series’ follow-up is a holy terror

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Mike Flanagan’s projects are fast becoming a Halloween tradition on Netflix, thanks to a pairing of terrifying limited series, known collectively as “The Hunting Anthology,” premiering in October 2018 and 2020 to rave reviews was done for. After the success of those series, Hill House Haunt And The Haunting of Bailey ManoroFlanagan brings another stylish thriller to the streaming service just in time for Halloween this year titled midnight Mass.

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As well as offering plenty of compelling narrative twists to go along with its big scare, midnight Mass Presents the kind of smart, character-driven horror story we’ve come to expect from one of the genre’s most talented storytellers.

Hamish Linklater as Father Paul in Midnight Mass.

think again

Written and directed by Flanagan, midnight Mass A seven-part series set on an isolated island where the arrival of a new priest and the return of a former resident with a troubled past coincides with the occurrence of miraculous, supernatural events that begin to shape the local community. As events cast a sinister shadow over the events on the island, its inhabitants grapple with issues of faith, grief, redemption, and morality in the modern world.

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Flanagan had a great track record in horror long ago Hill House And Bailey Manoro Put them on the collective radar of mainstream audiences, with 2013’s haunted-mirror thriller oculus and the slasher of 2016 Keep quiet Both earn heaps of praise for their fresh, innovative approach to the genre. that positive critical acclaim led to both ghostly The series – both adaptations of well-known novels – as each one of them explored themes of trauma, addiction, love and loss through the lens of a truly terrifying haunted story.

Together midnight MassFlanagan continues to explore some heavily emotional and existential concepts through the horror genre and does so with a cast that includes several returning actors. ghostly Chain. The series kicks off in a new direction within that genre – a better secret left to preserve one of the story’s original wonders. Suffice it to say that midnight Mass The particular horror holds a place for itself among some of the sub-genre’s best examples, and speaks volumes to Flanagan’s versatility and understanding of how to make a film stand out in a crowded field.

Kate Siegel in Midnight Mass.

creep fear, proven

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like ghostly Earlier series, midnight Mass A slow-burn story that succeeds as much at its character development as its horror elements.

In midnight MassOf course, Flanagan isn’t afraid to spend the bulk of an episode focusing on only a few characters’ relationships and what has brought them to this particular point in their fictional lives, and the patience she shows with each character has an added flair. Not afraid to dive deep. We pay off in the emotional connection we develop with them and their stories. It’s an approach that can easily stifle less skilled storytellers, but Flanagan’s use of sound and subtle motion, along with framing and other visual techniques, stuns even the most over-drawn dialogue scenes. Manages to feel clever and captivating.

people familiar with ghostly the series should probably accommodate their expectations of what’s to come midnight Mass, however, because the horror of this story is neither as frequent nor as shocking as the moment you jump out of your seat. Hill House And Bailey Manoro. scares inside, like the pace of the story midnight Mass There are slowly developing fears that haunt you gradually, increasing the feeling of dread and foreboding as events on the island become increasingly dire. The sense of impending doom is maintained well after each episode ends, and Flanagan’s use of consistent, ambient sound to the credits amplifies the impact of each episode’s closing moments.

Rahul Kohli in a scene from Midnight Mass.

familiar faces

Flanagan’s frequent, on-screen collaborators are returning midnight MassIn this, Kate Siegel delivers some powerful, emotional gut-punch in her portrayal of a woman who returns to the island after a long absence, hoping for a fresh start but struggling to leave her past behind. In a short but memorable role after cooking at home Bailey ManoroRahul Kohli made another outstanding performance as the island’s sheriff midnight Mass, a principled man who seeks peace for himself and his family, even when the island’s community makes it hard to find.

Samantha Sloane, who appeared before Keep quiet And Hill House, the scripture-quoting of the island, also gives a wonderfully furious performance as Bev Keane, the conservative busybody. When it comes to inspiring fear in audiences, his self-righteous belief in his moral superiority often outweighs the supernatural elements of the story, and this speaks more to Sloane’s portrayal of the character than a lack of powerful fear.

The standout of the series, however, is Broadway and television actor Hamish Linklater, whose portrayal of the newly arrived Father Paul is absolutely stunning in all seven episodes of the series. At times deeply honest, and at others completely unreadable (as the story goes), Linklater’s performance is the glue that holds the central narrative of both midnight Mass together and presents some of the most intriguing questions of the series. Father Paul is the cosmic riddle wrapped in a riddle, and Linklater does a wonderful job of pulling you into that puzzle, bit by bit, revealing never more, while simultaneously teasing out the answers to all your questions that await. is worth it.

Linklater’s role in midnight Mass Flanagan has the best single, standout performance of the trio of Netflix series to date, and despite the show’s ensemble foundation, it’s hard to imagine her effectively unfolding in the story without her.

Hamish Linklater as Father Paul in Midnight Mass.

Expect

Anyone hoping for a third installment ghostly Anthology will be surprised by the pivots Flanagan takes midnight MassBut experiencing a story that goes to unexpected places is a big part of what makes the series so entertaining and rewarding. more than the sum of its fears, midnight Mass Flanagan’s exploration of the potential of the most thoughtful, carefully developed horror genre ever made, and that’s saying a lot.

If a new limited series from Flagon is something we can start to expect every Halloween season on Netflix, midnight Mass It makes it clear that binge-watching sessions on the streaming service are going to become an annual tradition for horror fans.

Mike Flanagan’s midnight Mass Premieres September 24 on Netflix.




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