It is October, which means I am once again reviewing another Mike Flanagan horror show on Netflix. This time, The Midnight Club, is a show based on the novels by Christopher Pike about teenagers with terminal illnesses who live in a hospice facility designed to allow them to die on their own terms.
The show follows Ilonka (Iman Benson), a teen who, after being diagnosed with terminal thyroid cancer, moves into the Brightcliff Hospice Centre after reading about a girl who survived her thyroid diagnosis at Brightcliff. There, she joins a pact with the other teenage residents who meet every night at midnight to tell ghost stories. The teens have agreed that the first person to die of their disease will send a signal to the others beyond the grave.
The show shares a lot of elements with other Mike Flanagan shows; cloudy-eyed ghosts, religious extremist cults, and grief as the main theme. It also shares many actors with his other shows. Say what you will about Mike Flanagan, but he must be a good director to keep the same actors coming back again and again.
Although I wouldn’t place The Midnight Club at the top of the list of my favourite Flanagan Horror Shows, I did particularly enjoy the embedded narratives of the ghost stories told during sessions of the club. Mike Flanagan’s ability to tailor each story to the character telling it is truly superb. The narratives are quirky and distinctive and tell us more about each teen in a fifteen-minute sequence than many shows can do in 10 episodes.
For being quite young actors, the performances of the teens were quite good, the standout being that of Ruth Codd, who plays Anya, a young Irish woman with bone cancer who dazzles with her rude wit and pessimistic attitude. When she is on screen, it is all eyes on her, and I am excited to see her in Flanagan’s new show, The Fall of the House of Usher, which is supposed to come out sometime in 2023.
The show ends up leaving questions and it is obvious that a second series was intended, although has not yet been confirmed by Netflix. Hopefully, if it does, I will be back to review it when it comes out.
Although it is not Mike Flanagan’s best show, and although the performances of some of the younger actors cannot entirely compete with their older counterparts, I would recommend The Midnight Club for anyone who is looking for a fun thriller to watch on Halloween. If you’re looking for a good cry too, then the more the better.