“The Midnight Club” revives depth in horror

Mike Flanagan makes a triumphant return as his new show, “The Midnight Club,” makes a stunning debut on Netflix and is added to his roster of horror and emotional dramas. The show was released early on Oct. 7 and fans of the showrunner immediately went to the platform to begin their early-morning viewing. 

The show is based on the book of the same name, written by Christopher Pike, who is known for his supernatural and horror-thriller books for young adults. “The Midnight Club” was published in 1994 and follows the same storyline that the show does. Interestingly, it was written for a young fan of the show who created her own midnight club with friends in the cancer ward of her hospital and would discuss Pike’s book. Pike wrote “The Midnight Club” in honor of her and her friends, even taking inspiration from them to create the characters for his book and subsequently the TV show. 

The show follows teenager Ilonka, a girl that has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and has now become terminally ill. Wanting to be cured, she researches ways to help heal herself and stumbles across the story of Julia Jayne, a girl that went to a hospice house and mysteriously went missing for a week. When the police found her, it was discovered that she had been completely cured and was allowed to go home. 

Determined to fight her illness, Ilonka becomes a new member at Brightcliffe Manor, the home for seven other teenagers who are all terminally ill. After following her roommate in the middle of the night, it’s revealed that the teens meet every midnight to “create ghosts” in the old library. While they tell their own ghost stories, they learn that the house isn’t what it appears to be and must find out what evil lurks behind the walls. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this show because of how detailed and in-depth the storyline was and not just for its horror. Flanagan does a tremendous job at giving us viewers a good scare, but he also has us ponder life, death, religion and legacy.

It’s not a Flanagan show without shedding a few tears, so getting emotional was expected. Hearing each of the kids talk about their terminal diseases and shed light on the struggles they faced before coming to Brightcliffe was so interesting because we normally don’t see these kinds of conversations in media. To actually see the characters talk about their fears of one day dying and reflect on the life they’ve lived really touched me and there wasn’t a dry eye during my viewing of the show. 

While the show has many hidden details, one of the most interesting ones was that as the characters give their thrilling ghost stories a name, they’re all based on the actual names of Pike’s books. Between episode 4’s “Gimme a Kiss” and episode 8’s “Road to Nowhere,” it’s evident that Flanagan did his homework and the slight attention to detail was so amazing to see. I was really taken aback by this small fact and actually made the viewing even better because it shows just how dedicated the actors were to getting each of the stories right. 

Even though there wasn’t as much horror and suspense as its predecessors, “The Midnight Club” knocked me off my feet and I loved every minute of it! The show had even broken the Guinness World Record for “Most Jump Scares” in a single episode, and even though this was Flanagan’s least scary show, it had a ton of heart and narrative that almost anyone could get into. The dynamics between characters like Spence and Cheri to the budding relationship between Amesh and Natsuki are so great to see on screen, and I anticipate that the actors in this series will be in future “Flanaverse” projects. 


5/5 stars 



Photo courtesy of Netflix, Wikipedia