Midnight Mass Doesn’t Break New Bread, but Remains an Enjoyable Romp

by Gordon Shelly

Creator Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House) returns to Netflix with his short-run mini-series, Midnight Mass.

To dig too deep into this series would be to spoil the final few episodes; however, the world of Midnight Mass is not what it seems and something much darker exists on the isolated world of Crocket Island. And, yes, it’s an island.

While the story takes place in contemporary times, it feels like a throwback to an era dominated by Puritan values and the ever present threat of eternal damnation, in a city where most of the residence visit Catholic mass on a daily basis.

The story follows the primary characters Erin (Kate Siegel), Riley (Zach Gilford), Father Paul (Hamish Linklater), Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli), and Bev (Samantha Sloyan), along with many of the other town folk of Crocket Island.

The crux of the story begins when the local priest falls ill and a youthful Father Paul comes to replace him. In short order, minor miracles begin to occur and the majority of Crocket Island is overcome with a religious fervor bringing out the zealots who begin to fall in line with the nefarious evil lurking just below the surface.

And, yes, there is a nefarious evil hanging over the town. However, to reveal the evil would be to reveal one of the key plot points in Midnight Mass.

Midnight Mass tells a layered story that is a horror story but also a modern political commentary — whether it means to be or not — it absolutely is about politics, about America, about religion, about the gullibility of society.

The people of Crocket Island want so badly to believe in something pure and true, that even when they have a revelation about its true nature, they majority forgoes the facts and surrenders to what they wished were true. The outcome is no less than apocalyptic for the community.

At times, Flanagan presents an atmosphere that is dark and deeply compelling. At other times, he breaks the rules of his own world asking his viewers and characters to completely forgo any sense of verisimilitude within the confines of Crocket Island.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable genre series. Heavily flawed, but well-acted, and enjoyable. However, to reveal the exact genre would be to spoil the most significant plot point of this allegorical tale.

Gordon’s Grade: B-