Mike Flanagan has built such a solid career in horror that Netflix nicknamed his productions as “Flanaverse”. In this universe, we have movies like Dangerous game and unmissable series like The Curse of Hill House, Bly Manor and Midnight Mass. Talented, agile (from Hill House so far it’s been less than 5 years!) and a deep connoisseur of the genre, Flanagan is now risking a new format. And again it does remarkably well in The Midnight Club.
The new format is thanks to the teenage content of the project. While Hill House it was a family drama, Bly Manor flirted with romance and Midnight Mass explored the secrets and cracks of a small community. Already The Midnight Club explores the relationships, qualities, and problems of a group of ailing teenagers who come together on a retreat. Flanagan, however, is not invested in cheap escapism or bullshit. Although it has young people and a more objective language, the drama and the characters are still in the forefront.
One Midnight Club: horror as salvation
In the plot, Ilonka is a young woman who discovers she has cancer. With only a few months to live, she does desperate research on the internet. It is then that she finds an exclusive retreat for teenagers in the same situation as him. They are young people with different serious illnesses, who share the burden of imminent death. There, the group forms a club, a meeting that takes place at midnight and serves to share horror stories – real and imagined.
With this, the script has space to play freely with different approaches. Each club member tells a story and each has a different narrative and style. There is the horror of jumpscareO noir, the criminal, the ghost. Flanagan and his team then have fun in a playground infinity, as they weave the main narrative, in the retreat, with the same intensity with which they tell the horror stories by the light of the fireplace.
Young cast shines in series with few scares
The Midnight Club, however, it’s not as scary as Hill House or provocative and philosophical as Midnight Mass. Here, the goal is to emulate the old books aimed at young audiences, which bring a macabre and fast story. Thus, despite constantly dealing with illness and death, the series is never depressing or dependent on the morbidity that surrounds the characters.
The cast of young actors, by the way, does an excellent job of mixing the sadness of the circumstances with the typical joy and excitement of adolescence. And it’s worth pointing out that this is not a CW series. So, don’t expect muscular actors and actresses from the catalogue. the young people of The Midnight Club are diverse, different from each other and close to reality. And the best: everyone is talented, which helps in the identification and development of stories.
Engaging narrative ensures the experience
Without leaving the same impact as Hill House or Mass, The Midnight Club it is a minor piece in its creator’s universe. There’s no problem with that, however, as it was designed that way, as a more direct and simple series. Some scares are scarce and other mysteries are slow to develop. The story, however, never fails to involve.