Review by Dan Skip Allen
Netflix has doubled down on director Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Doctor Sleep, Gerald's Game). He has quite the resume of shows and movies in his young career. Midnight Mass is the latest show from him, right on time, about a month away from Halloween. People are looking for new and interesting material to watch around Halloween. This is that. It'll get all of those horror juices flowing for sure.
The series takes place on a sleepy island called Crockett Island, known as the Crock-Pot, a place where all different kinds of people from different walks of life and religious background live and worship together. The show focuses on a new young priest (Hamish Linklater) that comes to town. He brings miracles in the form of healing the old and crippled. This causes the small community to enamor him, looking for some salvation in a hard time.
This series pulls on popular horror and fantasy tropes we all love and admire. Religion has played a part in a lot of movies and shows in the past. It's something that's not always understood as far as the mythical and supernatural. God is misused to create a feeling of belonging yet ends up being a vessel for evil and wrongdoing. The title says it all, as well as the episode names, pulled from the books of the Bible. That's only half of it though. All the mysteries involving the characters play a part in making this show entertaining and right for the masses on Netflix. Flanagan knows his audience.
Flanagan's frequent collaborators, The Newton Brothers, once again do the score for this series as well. They make the music very haunting and atmospheric. The soundtrack kicks in with some amazing songs right when they are needed. One song in particular from Neil Diamond is spot on and perfectly placed. Many others are chosen very well for the series. A good soundtrack can transport the viewers into the world of the show or film. This one does just that.
The production value on this series was pretty good as well. There are quite a few scenes with blood spillage and fire damage toward the end of the film. The setting was cool because it was a small village on an island and suffixes for this production. The catholic church iconography was well done as well. Flanagan and company kept this story light and beautiful until it wasn't. It is definitely different from the dark and dank settings from some of his previous work on Netflix. I felt this drew me into the story quite nicely
Based on Flanagan's track record, people should give Netflix and Midnight Mass a chance. This series has very good acting from its huge cast. It develops its characters very well to make us care about what happens to them. The horror tropes are well thought out using the tried and true theory of religion as its backdrop. Priests have made good villains in many movies in the past and do so here as well. Netflix has marketed this show perfectly and it's coming out at the right time. The audiences seeking new and interesting spooky fare will enjoy this show with familiar horror concepts.
Midnight Mass hits Netflix on September 24. All seven episodes reviewed.