“Midnight Mass” Review



Hamish Linklater as Father Paul Hill in “Midnight Mass”

After four long years in prison, Riley Flynn returns home to the diminutive, isolated Crockett Island in the new Netflix series, “Midnight Mass.”
Created and written by Mike Flanagan (previous titles include “The Haunting of Hill House” and “Doctor Sleep”), “Midnight Mass” is a twisted and dark horror mini-series. It primarily takes place on Crockett Island, a tiny piece of land surrounded by at least 30 miles of ocean in any direction, with much of the story happening within the island’s church—St. Patrick.
The story takes off when a charismatic priest, Father Paul Hill, comes to the island shortly after the return of Flynn—a man who drunkenly killed a woman in a car accident four years prior. When Father Paul Hill arrives, mysterious events—which some call miracles—begin to transpire.
“Midnight Mass” stars Zach Gilford as Riley Flynn, alongside Kate Siegel who plays Erin Greene, the hard-working, soon-to-be-mother who also returned to Crockett Island after leaving her abusive spouse several months before the story takes place.
Hamish Linklater plays Father Paul Hill, a strangely familiar man to some of Crockett Island’s residents, including Mildred Gunnings—an old woman taken care of by her daughter, Sarah, a science-driven doctor. Rounding out the main cast, Samantha Sloyan gives a fantastic performance as Beverly Keane—a devout, evangelical Christian.
With Father Paul Hill, Keane and many of the island’s residents faithful Christians, it gives way to many interesting interactions between characters such as Beverly Keane and Sheriff Hassan, an earnest, Muslim man, as she tries to tempt him and his son, Ali, into Christians.
“Midnight Mass” is a beautifully-shot series with well-written characters and themes like fanatic religion and the belief that religion can atone for one’s sins. It takes time to show how religious scriptures—like the Bible—can be horrific in their own way and all culminates in a frightening eight hours.
Even with its great cinematography and performances, due to the series’ writing, it loses much of its mystery and horror midway through. Flanagan creates a perfect atmosphere for Crockett Island and the horror you should feel, but once or twice lost my interest with too many monologues and a twist that reveals its hand too early.
Overall, Mike Flanagan’s new series may not hold up to his previous works, like “The Haunting of Hill House,” but it’s still a methodical, thought provoking series and a great weekend binge show.