Midnight Mass, one of Netflix’s newest horror series, has been getting some excellent reviews online. The series was created by Mike Flanagan, who previously helmed The Haunting series (Hill House and Bly Manor) for Netflix and an adaptation of the Stephen King novel, Gerald’s Game. The show stars Zach Gilford (Good Girls) and Kate Siegel (Hush) as young former loves who’ve both returned to their fishing island home in the wake of wayward lives on the mainland. Soon, a new young priest (Hamish Linklater) arrives, and the entire town is hurled down a dark and chaotic path.
Fans have been raving about Midnight Mass on social media, but it turns out that critics love it just as much and more. Over on Rotten Tomatoes, the show’s audience score sits 73 percent fresh, while the critic score is admirable 90 percent fresh. “An ambitious meditation on grief and faith that is as gorgeous as it is unsettling,” reads the Critics Consensus, “Midnight Mass’s slow boil is a triumph of terror that will leave viewers shaking – and thinking – long after the credits roll.” Scroll down to read some specific reviews, and read what critics say about this scary scriptural tale.
“Screams” and “Blood”
“Midnight Mass also justifies itself as a creature of multiple episodes,” writes Wall Street Journal critic John Anderson. “Not every series does. Despite the hints being dropped from the outset, the story’s supernatural elements don’t erupt until about halfway through. By this point, the seven-part series-in which demonic possession will masquerade as salvation has positioned itself as something entirely other: a portrait of a community inhabited by real people with real problems and genuine faith.”
Anderson added, “There will be screams, yes. There will be blood. But not before Midnight Mass has seduced its audience into caring about what happens.”
“As an allegory, Midnight Mass doesn’t have anything particularly groundbreaking to say about religion as an opiate of the masses. That’s okay; the power here lies in the profoundly human struggles faced by the faithful and the doubting Thomases in Father Paul’s flock,” states Kristen Baldwin of Entertainment Weekly. “Beyond the jump scares and the suspense and the looming dread, Midnight Mass summons a message of hope: Sometimes it’s okay to be your savior.”
“Toying With Horror Conventions”
“Buoyed by a cast that includes Henry Thomas and Annabeth Gish, what distinguishes Midnight Mass perhaps more than anything is the nature of its ideas and the extent to which Flanagan wants to contemplate them while toying with horror conventions, seeking to engage the audience in an unexpectedly layered fashion,” CNN’s Brian Lowry wrote. z
“Midnight Mass is beautiful. Yes, it’s long-winded and perhaps one of Flanagan’s meaner works. But it’s also deeply thoughtful about what it means to struggle with faith,” says Mary Beth McAndrews of Dread Central. “It treads a familiar path to previous religious horror films, but it sets itself apart in a shocking back half that refuses to pull any punches. It’s an incredibly complex series that, in just seven episodes, create a fascinating web of characters, personalities, and relationships that make you feel like you’re part of this tiny community. So pack those tissues and hope on the ferry because it’s time to head to Crockett Island.”
“Flanagan had gone on record as saying that, when this series was still just a spec script and a dream, it was the best thing he’d ever done,” writes Rolling Stone critics David Fear. “Let us second that motion: For those of us who’ve admired his work but have found it a little wanting, this limited series feels like both the culmination of what he’s tried to do in the genre and a massive leveling up. It gives new meaning to the sacramental statement that ‘whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.’ And it drives home the notion that the evil that men do is bad, but the evil the good and the pious do in the name of righteousness is even worse. All that, and a series of final shots that perfectly co-mingle the bloodcurdling and the beautiful. We have truly been blessed.”
“This is Flanagan’s true power. He understands the horror genre, and he’s able to conjure up scary imagery (although I have to say Midnight Mass is never quite as scary as it could be). But it’s the emotional heft that he truly excels at,” offered Slashfilm writer Chris Evangelista.
He also added that “it ultimately works because Midnight Mass is so heartfelt. It burns with energy and life. And death. Death is the all-consuming factor here, a thing to be feared and awed at. Midnight Mass isn’t just asking, ‘What happens when you die?’ It’s also asking: ‘What if you could live forever?'”
“Thoughtful, Gripping, and Daring”
“Midnight Mass ultimately gives way to more familiar horror business as the threat to the island mounts but, until then, the scares usually seem secondary to the contemplative back-and-forth and the conflicts between ways of seeing the world,” writes TV Guide’s Keith Phipps. “The frenetic final act, while well-staged and designed to bring the story to a satisfying end, ultimately proves less memorable than what’s preceded it, but what precedes it is thoughtful, gripping, and daring for reasons beyond the fear stirred by things that go bump in the night.”