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The Midnight Club, a Netflix Original limited-run horror series released in 2022, based on a fiction work by Christopher Pike, is an important component of the so-called “Flanaverse” and it’s a limited-run series worthy of any horror fan’s leisure time.
It’s categorized as “intimate, dark, and emotional” on Netflix and as horror, mystery, and thriller elsewhere.
What is The Midnight Club About?
I think this is a multi-protagonist series. It’s about a group of eight teens, all of them with terminal illnesses, (we’re shown the story mostly as seen through the eyes of only one of them) that go to a hospice called the Brightcliffe Home to spend their last months of normal life before they become sick and pass to a better existence.
These eight teenagers follow an old custom, that was started by a group of previous guests, called The Midnight Club. It’s a daily meeting, at midnight, where each of the teens shares a (generally spooky) story.
It took me some mental effort to realize that the adult lead was the actual Heather Langenkamp of Freddy/Elm Street’s fame.
I never could get enough of Heather (for me, she’s very pleasant to look at) so to be able to watch her as Dr. Georgina Stanton, the head of the creepy hospice, meant I was going to binge on this series for four or five days straight.
For me, the most memorable parts were the ones played by Ruth Codd, as Anya, and Igby Rigney as Kevin. You’ll know what I mean when you watch it, or you already may know why I think those two characters were the most memorable if you already watched it.
And I couldn’t stop giggling when I analyzed what Shasta (played by Samantha Sloyan) was telling Ilonka when they had their meetup in the woods. That thing about misfits she said. It took me a while to realize she was the same actress that played the sanctimonious lady in Midnight Mass.
Having seen everything (except Houser of Usher, I only saw a few seconds of its trailer) that Mike Flanagan did as a Netflix showrunner I concluded that the quality of his series’ cinematography is consistently above average in most cases.
A director can create a horror atmosphere through many different components of an episode. Generally, I’m satisfied if the script and how the actors deliver it produce a fulfilling art horror feeling in me while I’m watching, to be interesting to me, but Flanagan goes way beyond this.
Maybe not so much in The Midnight Club, but in the other Flanaverse series a lot is going on at the photography level and he is more than able to also exploit the visual side of an episode to add to the atmosphere of dread that the story alone evokes.
In a way The Midnight Club is an anthology series, and that means it is very unlikely that the series will bore you. Unless you are one of those anxious watchers who can’t take the content in as it comes and think that if something doesn’t fit the preconceptions about a horror series you have you consider it tedious, bad, or otherwise boring.
It’s not a pure anthology series since it has an important wrapper story and I think the balance achieved between each chapter between The Midnight Club yarn (the stories inside the story, if you will) and the greater arc of the story is okay.
The Midnight Club has effect which are very cool to look at. The look of the scary scenes and the scenes where the story goes back in time are terrific. The characterization of paranormal entities also is top-notch. Overall, this limited-run series is very entertaining for fans of horror series.
While this series resorts to the long-tale telling club gimmick to deliver a horror anthology series experience, the wrapper story is, to me, much more atmospheric than the ones told by the characters.
I disliked a few of the stories the teens tell during their nocturnal meetings, but I extremely liked others, like for instance Dusty’s tale. I also like the setting. After the odd backdrop that Midnight Mass had (not that I disliked it, to the contrary) a more claustrophobic setting was nice for a change.
Should You Watch this Limited-Run Horror Series?
The Midnight Club ends on a relatively positive note considering the plight of each of the eight teens. I think the moral message it gives is two-sided.
Once Dr. Stanton reprimands Anya in the last episode it makes her understand something that you’ll have to find out for yourself since I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t watched it yet.
I wouldn’t recommend this limited-run series to anyone who has a terminal disease or somebody close that has. As I said, it has a relatively up ending, but I feel its potential for depressing sick persons is high. It depressed me a little, and I’m not sick with anything at this time.
I watched it one year ago and I was going through the last phases of a major depression and I assure you, it didn’t help in that aspect, it added to the stress and depression, but in a good, relaxing way.
On the other hand, as a horror series fan you would do yourself a disservice by not watching it.
Media Attributions: Netflix
© Bholenath Valsan 2024 — The Midnight Club Review – Horror Series