After reinventing haunted houses, Mike flanagan has brought up to date another of the great classics of the horror genre, vampires. On Midnight mass, his new series in Netflix, is left behind the image of the handsome and seductive bloodsucker that the saga offered us Twilight. We are faced with a monstrous and terrifying creature that, like the Alien from Ridley Scott, much of the plot remains hidden. A fierce force of nature almost as unstoppable as his lust for blood. Although at Midnight Mass the rules change a bit about what we have seen about these monsters on the screen so far. Crucifixes don’t seem to be very effective against your thirst for hemoglobin. The episodes have been available for a week and have become one of the most viewed titles on the platform. After the success of The Curse of Hill House, Mike Flanagan became one of the house’s pampered authors. To the point that the big N company thought about continuing it as an anthology, dedicating each season to a new house with ghosts. Thus was born The Curse of Bly Manor. The director is a safe bet for all those who want to enjoy good horror stories. Browsing through the Netflix catalog you can find other feature films by the filmmaker available, before they went to streaming. In his third Serie, Flanagan swaps supernatural specters for razor-sharp fangs and bat wings to explore new terrain to tell haunting stories.
The first great curiosity is that Midnight Mass started from a novel that does not exist. In reality, it was a script that had been in a drawer for years without finding someone to finance it to bring it to the screen. Perhaps that is why other Flanagan titles contained nods to the existence of this ghost book. On Be quiet, a film directed by Flanagan in 2016, the protagonist is a young deaf writer who lives isolated in a cabin in a forest until one day she begins to be harassed by a masked psychopath. The character is played by Kate siegel, Flanagan’s wife in real life and habitual in many of his titles, and the book that made her famous is precisely, Midnight Mass. A physical copy of the novel of yore also appears in a scene from Gerald’s game, a film that the director made a year later and adapted a book by Stephen King. The prolific novelist has declared himself a staunch fan of Flanagan. To the extent that he prefers the filmmaker’s adaptation of Sleep doctor, the continuation of The glow, to that of the mythical version of the first part made by Stanley kubrick. For me, Kubrick is a lot Kubrick, but I just put his opinion on the record. King’s phobia of Kubrick is attributed to a clash of egos during filming.
In Midnight Mass, Flanagan approaches the world of vampirism to offer us a vision closer to that of another novel by the literary master of terror, The Salem’s Lot Mystery. The admiration between Flanagan and King is seen to be mutual. The two take place in small closed and decaying communities where nothing ever happens, until one fine day people begin to disappear without any explanation. In the Netflix series, the action takes place on an island that lives off fishing, as isolated from the rest of the world as the protagonist of Silencio does. A totally decadent place, where fewer people live every day and the decrepitude is palpable in its wooden houses. It almost seems like some kind of prison for losers who seem resigned to never being able to leave. There is a Crockett island in Australia, but I’m afraid that is not the place where the action of the series takes place, since the fictional one is in the United States. The stage is as imaginary a place as is the book it supposedly adapts. The plot begins when new inhabitants arrive in town. A man who returns home to his family after spending the last few years in prison for killing a young woman in a traffic accident while driving drunk; and a priest who takes charge of a church that is even more in decline than the island itself and where the pews are emptier every Sunday. Until the miracles begin to happen, behind which we know that there can be nothing good.
The cast has a series of actors whose presence indicates that we are facing a Flanagan play. From Kate Siegel to Henry thomas, known as the one who was the boy of ET and that he gave a real turn to his career since he worked with the director; as well as Samantha sloyan, which here embodies one of the most hated characters in the series, a religious fanatic full of prejudices and hatred who shows that there are people who can be scarier than monsters.
The plot it is simmering and the first four episodes help us get fully into the stories of the characters that inhabit Crockett Island. It may be one of his most intimate directorial jobs and that is why it had been difficult for him to find funding. As the great mystery unfolds, Flanagan takes the opportunity to tell us about such intense things as guilt, penance, redemption, sacrifice, life after death and faith. Each chapter contains Biblical references in its titles. It is in the last three episodes when the plot picks up speed to remind us that we had come to see a horror series. From the twist in the middle of the season, we know that anything can happen and that we cannot become fond of any character. Precisely the most introspective episodes serve so that we can identify with their protagonists, know their motivations and that we suffer for them when things get really ugly. Flanagan shows that he still has the ability to generate moments of great tension and create creatures that make us hit a good boat on the sofa when we see them appear. Midnight Mass is not a series of scares, but there are some. His terror is more psychological and in some moments he will get a tear out of us. We have the doubt whether the series will be renewed for a second season, because the plot leaves open the odd loose end. Although it is a closed story. For now, the next project that Flanagan is working on for Netflix is titled Midnight Club, but that allusion of the title to the moment of the day does not have to be the clue for a second part. It is the adaptation of the novel by another teenage horror writer from the 90s, Christopher Pike (pseudonym of Kevin Christopke McFadden). Is that alias a tribute to the first Star Trek captain? History seems to leave us with the feeling that miracles exist and that a group of losers can save the world, although it is very possible that Humanity is left without knowing their feat.