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Midnight Mass - Mike Flanagan’s next Netflix series


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Mike Flanagan’s next series has just hit Netflix and is getting rave reviews. Ditching the “haunting of” title and going just by “Midnight Mass”, it sees ex-con Riley Flynn return home to his island fishing community at the same time as a mysterious new priest and shenanigans ensue. 
 

A few Flanagan alum are present and correct including his wife Kate Siegel, Henry Thomas and Rahul Kohli, who played Owen in Bly Manor. 
 

It’s all up on Netflix, there’s only seven episodes, oddly, but it’s all there now, none of that one a week shite that’s creeping its way back into our lives and television shows. 

 

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27 minutes ago, MansizeRooster said:

Thoroughly enjoying this so far. On ep 2.

 

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The new priest is clearly the old one, rejuvenated somehow. I'm thinking vampire.

 


I’d say you’re spot on, there. I’m on ep 3. 
 

The guy playing the priest is very, very good. Never seen him in anything else. 

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I'm only up to ep2 but there's a lot pointing towards it being some sort of ...

 

Ep2 spoilers

Spoiler

Vampire story. The trunk full of dirt being an obvious clue, plus whatever is flying around with yellow eyes. Pruitt somehow being in the body of the young priest seems likely from what the elderly woman with dementia and her daughter called him / commented about his behaviour.

 

At the same time, a vampire also seems too obvious, like it's a bluff of some sort.

 

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I only noticed this because James Gunn retweeted someone from the cast saying about taking the "vow of silence" but hadnt heard of it before that.  I've enjoyed Flanagans stuff so far, I think the "master of horror" title I've seen people bestow on him is a bit overblown, as most of his stuff isnt that scary - there were a few good bits fright wise in Haunting of Hill House, but most of his stuff (Bly Manor, Hush, Doctor Sleep, what I've seen on this) havent been that scary.  Hes a good film maker though, and the strengths of his stuff is usually the other stuff around the horror elements, he just happens to like using that to tie things together it seems, and uses it well to set the tone of his stories.  HoHH was more (for me) succeeded for me because it told a really strong story about the family overall, which ended up being surprisingly tragic.

 

So far I'm just on the last episode and its been what I'd call typical Flanagan - well shot, not that scary but makes up for it with story/characters, and the horror elements are there to hold it all together.  There even seems to be a lot of stuff he typically seems to put into his stuff, as well as the cast being a who's who of people who probably have made most their money in the past 5 years working with him.

 

I was suprised about a few things - as I mentioned, there was a lot of talk on twitter from Flanagan and the actors saying to not spoil it for other watchers, and some spoiler free reviews made it seem like there were a lot of shocking twists and turns, and I dont think there have been.  There's obviously(spoilers if you have watched episode 3 yet)

Spoiler

the fact that its vampires and that "Paul" is actually the original pastor or whatever you call them

but i think it actually telegraphs this pretty clearly so its not really a massive shock. But its very different to what I think I would have expected (though I do like it, which I'll go through in spoilers in a min) so avoiding talk of it till you see it I think is better, but at the same time its not going to ruin it if you know in advance.

 

Spoilers regarding the main stuff thats happening

Spoiler

I like that they went with this take on what is obviously supposed to be vampirism. Like, that his faith was so absolute that he saw him as an angel saving him, and that this was an act of god. Though there is a quote from (I think) Jacobs Ladder which goes along the lines of "what some see as demons taking your life away, if you're at peace, they're really angels freeing you" which fits here, that the idea that perspective affects how you treat things, and in here, in the bigger picture this has always been something that has been a part of the church.  The idea that god works in mysterious ways, that bad things happen because there is a good that comes from them that is part of gods plan.  Here, they take it to the extreme and have the church in the face of something obviously twisted see it a sign from god, and as an angel.  But at the same time, how different is it really to much of what is written about god - something Bev makes very clear, that accepting that god allows horrorible things to occur is commonplace in the church, so when faced with something outwardly wrong but is doing things that can be seen as good like allowing Leeza to walk, surely that is enough to look past that?

 

The only thing is though that not a single person has made the connection to vampires, at least not out loud. I'd expect someone to have by this point!

 

One of the things I thought quite early on as well was that they seemed to purposely cast actors younger than the characters seemed to have aged them up.  I thought it looked a bit odd at first, as I looked up the cast and was surprised by some of them in the roles.  Then episode 2 very much hinted that it was Pruitt who had been made younger somehow, then I suspected that they were going to de-age a bunch of them.  And they did, quite subtly though over the series - the exception being the mother with dementia who they de-age quite drastically, but Bev and Rileys mum/dad both noticably de-age by the end, but its quite "smooth" over the series so it doesnt look to jarring episode to episode.

 

I've really enjoyed it, and the ending of episode 6 was deffo intense, though I'd say I prefer Hill House still at the moment.  Looking forward to the last episode later today!

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1 hour ago, Fierce Poodle said:

I take it this is better than Bly Manor? Because that was absolute cat shit.

 

Yes, it is. It's pretty slow and overall not as good as Hill House, but plenty to ponder about later.

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7 minutes ago, Monkeyspill said:

One thing kept bothering me. It shouldn’t as it’s just a TV series but…

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How did the priest manage to transport the box with the vampire in it back from Israel? Getting it past customs would have been a bit tricky.

 

 

 

He said something about it, or Bev did.

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Binged this today and really enjoyed it. There are a lot of things early on you pick up on just from familiarity with movies and TV, but I didn't think the reveal was all that important anyway.

 

Spoiler

To me, the story was always a thinly veiled jab at the worst excesses of organised religion. How terrible events and ideas can be wrangled and interpreted into justifiably necessary, or good. How easy it is to whip up a mob or have them go along with you on a slightly askew version of their held beliefs. It was however quite even-handed on the more rational level, with Bev really being the only truly hysterical disciple. Even Paul was more a victim of the power of his own faith and the persuading effect of the 'miracles' he'd witnessed. I never though of him as a bad guy.

 

I did however think Erin's final speech kind of undermined her character's adherence to Christianity and God. She basically described existence on a scientific level, which doesn't really jibe with the idea of a deity who takes a direct interest in human lives, and has a paradise prepared for them where they retain their sense of self.

 

I thought all the performances were strong (although the cadence of Paul's speech tended to grind on me). Some of the sermons were quite compelling and I loved Riley's description of his own death. Lots of long take actor moments. 

 

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1 hour ago, Monkeyspill said:

One thing kept bothering me. It shouldn’t as it’s just a TV series but…

  Hide contents

 

 

How did the priest manage to transport the box with the vampire in it back from Israel? Getting it past customs would have been a bit tricky.

 

 

 

Spoiler

He said he'd travel and wait for it to catch up - I'm guessing it only went in the box when necessary i.e. during the day. If he arranged to travel by boat it would have been easier as the creature could fly during the night and land and sleep in the boat overnight - but they didn't explicitly say otherwise.

 

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I have the last episode to watch tonight, it's good and I have enjoyed it but with all Flanagan’s stuff I find the build up is great but gets gradually worse as the full story is revealed.

And it should of been called Midnight Monologue, my god do the characters waffle on sometimes, had me rolling my eyes a few times, esp episode 4.

the Doctor
 

Spoiler

could of just said 'I believe you' but no she needed to monologue a history lesson instead.

 
Muslim Policeman

 

Spoiler

Was useless, he had 3 missing people on an island of around 120 in a matter of days and all he did was pray and sit at his desk, great actor, underused.


Also...

 

Spoiler

Surely there was one fucking copy of Salem's Lot on that island, it would of saved a hell of a lot of time, Flanagan’s obviously read it multiple times

 

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13 minutes ago, Melon_Bread said:


Also...

 

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Surely there was one fucking copy of Salem's Lot on that island, it would of saved a hell of a lot of time, Flanagan’s obviously read it multiple times

 

 

I just took it that...

 

Spoiler

It's like the Walking Dead. In that show no-one had any prior knowledge of zombies - like they had never been created as a fictional concept.

 

I assume the same is true here. Vampires never existed in popular culture in the show's universe, so no one spots the obvious clues that the audience picks up on.

 

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37 minutes ago, FishyFish said:

 

I just took it that...

 

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It's like the Walking Dead. In that show no-one had any prior knowledge of zombies - like they had never been created as a fictional concept.

 

I assume the same is true here. Vampires never existed in popular culture in the show's universe, so no one spots the obvious clues that the audience picks up on.

 

Yeah of course, however...

 

Spoiler

Riley has a Dana Scully poster on his wall and there's a few vampires in the X-Files.

 

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1 hour ago, Melon_Bread said:

Yeah of course, however...

 

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Riley has a Dana Scully poster on his wall and there's a few vampires in the X-Files.

 

 

 

And

Spoiler

a shelf full of Stephen King book. Don't think I spotted 'Salems Lot in there but I'm sure thers's vampires in other SK books. 

 

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