After being released from prison, a recovering alcoholic returns to his hometown, an isolated island called Crocket Island. At the same time, a mysterious yet familiar new priest arrives in the town and starts performing “miracles.” Simply from the description above, no one will be too surprised when Stephan King praised the new Netflix limited series “Midnight Mass” on his Twitter. This new show created by Mike Flanagan, who’s famous for films such as “Gerald’s Game” and “Doctor Sleep” (both are adapted from King’s novels), is a dark and gory tale that people might think is based on another King’s novel.

Like his previous two excellent Netflix shows “The Haunting of Hill House” and “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” Flanagan’s “Midnight Mass” gives more space to the theme and characters instead of showing the horror or scares. The supernatural beings in his story are not evil villains but representing the traumas people have gone through, showing his empathy for these broken characters. “Midnight Mass” is a profound study of the dark side of religion, resurrection, and immortality. Just like lots of horror fiction, horror and religion are often connected. 

Throughout the intense seven episodes, Flanagan leads us to a biblical, often philosophical, journey that examines the nature of good vs. evil (no spoiler: angels vs. demons); how religion can sometimes be toxic that results in destruction and torment; and the danger of blinding yourself to the faith. The extremely deep and complex narration can easily become one of the most challenging shows on Netflix, but that’s exactly why “Midnight Mass” is appealing once you fully embrace Flanagan’s interpretation.

The show reveals the mysteries and builds up tensions so slow in the early episodes that it might lose some audiences whose seeking cheap horror. However, with the outstanding performance delivered by its great ensembles (most of the cast are also in Flanagan’s previous Netflix shows), “Midnight Mass” rewards us with one of this year’s craziest horror and bloodiest mayhem in the final two episodes. What a satisfying treat! 

GRADE: B+

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  • Distributor: Netflix
  • Production: Intrepid Pictures and Netflix Studios
  • Creator: Mike Flanagan
  • Director: Mike Flanagan
  • Writer: Mike Flanagan, Joyce Sherrí, Teresa Sutherland, James Flanagan, Elan Gale, Jeff Howard, and Dani Parker
  • Producer: Kathy Gilroy
  • Cast: Kate Siegel, Zach Gilford, Kristin Lehman, Samantha Sloyan, Igby Rigney, Rahul Kohli, Annarah Cymone, Annabeth Gish, Alex Essoe, Rahul Abburi, Matt Biedel, Michael Trucco, Crystal Balint, Louis Oliver, Henry Thomas, and Hamish Linklater
  • “Midnight Mass” streaming on Netflix on Sept. 24, 2021

Read the review in Chinese

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