July 22, 2024

THE MIDNIGHT CLUB (2022) – Mixing scary tales with a nightcap

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Rating: ⭐⭐ 1/2

It’s the month of October, which means an unusual onslaught of movies and TV series in the horror genre being released this month. With Halloween just around the corner, horror fans would probably find themselves hard pressed to digest all of this unwholesome fare to mark the occasion. One of the more notable entries is the latest Netflix series by horror maestro Mike Flanagan, The Midnight Club. Mike Flanagan has the impressive filmography which includes The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Byl Manor, Doctor Sleep and the excellent Midnight Mass last year. So, it is with high expectations when The Midnight Club made its entry to Netflix.

To be fair, last year’s Midnight Mass was going to be a tough act to follow even for Mike Flanagan himself, so it is not without too much of a surprise for The Midnight Club to fall short of our expectations. The story is an adaptation of a 1994 novel of the same name by Christopher Pike. The premise of the story follows a group of terminally ill patients at a remote Hospice, who have nightly meetings at midnight to tell each other horror stories. They also make some sort of morbid pact among themselves to make an effort to reach out to them from “the other side” when they are dead. This itself seems an unlikely and unusual form of escape for a bunch of sick people but for the sake of entertainment”, we can go along with this.

The characters are interesting enough for us to invest our time in binge watching the series to find out what happens at the end. This thanks to the usual high standards in the script and overall acting from the cast that we have come to expect from a Mike Flanagan offering. What is a bit unsettling is the tendency for the series to feel like an anthology series whenever it ventures into the various “ghost stories” that the club members tell each other. These are presented like mini standalone stories which breaks the flow of the main story. Like any anthology series, some stories are better than others so what we get is an uneven mix of the good and the bad.

Overall, I did find the story enthralling enough for me to stay on the course, but I have to admit that I felt a bit short changed at the finale. Several key elements were not satisfactorily explained which just makes little sense. Case in point, being the motivation and outcome of the mysterious character Shasta (played by Samantha Sloyan) who was befriended by the story’s main character Ilonka (played by Iman Benson), was highly unsatisfying. And what’s with the final surprise reveal at the film’s final shot? That raised more questions than answers and felt like a cheap shot that one would expect from a B-grade slasher movie. Perhaps the loose ends are openings for a season 2 but I am under the impression this was more a one off series. Anyway, manage your expectations with this one guys.

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