If “the voice of the story is the voice of life”, as one of its characters reflects, Midnight Club Energetic. In its central narrative, a teenage girl (Iman Benson’s Elonka) arrives at Blackcliffe Hospice after a terminal cancer diagnosis, along with at least a dozen others: The vaguely mysterious history of Blackcliffe , biographies of other young residents of Blackcliffe, plus the horrific fictional stories they share by the fireplace every night, waiting for someone to finally fulfill their pact, reaching out from the other side once they’re gone.
Not all stories included in Midnight Club are all equally good, and some are intentionally inappropriate for all. Overall, however, they make a compelling case for why stories matter, and why scary stories matter in particular, despite how inelegant or imperfect they may be — and in the process, will Caused some shaking, some gasps, and lots of tears.
Bottom Line A moving and sometimes creepy series about the power of story.
Air Date: Friday, October 7 (Netflix)
actor: 90 Iman Benson, Igby Rigney, Ruth Codd, Annarah Cymone, Chris Sumpter, Adia, Aya Furukawa, Sauriyan Sapkota, Matt Biedel, Samantha Sloyan, Zach Gilford, Heather Langenkamp
9090creator: Mike Flanagan , Fang Liya
Like co-creator Mike Flanagan’s previous series The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor (the latter has Midnight Club co-creator Leah Fong as the Producer), The Midnight Club is a literary adaptation, albeit with less solemn material – it’s based on Christopher Pike’s YA horror novel. Still, the result sits alongside his other brilliant, emotional dramas, down to solemn, possibly haunted houses, and lengthy, exploratory monologues on exciting topics like love, death, and death.
Ilonka’s stubborn refusal to accept her destiny drives the main action of Midnight Club’s 10-hour episode, Because we soon discover the real motives behind her coming here. Blackcliffe pinned his hopes on despair. Decades ago, she heard rumors of a mysterious recovery from a resident, and she was determined to recreate the same miracle for herself. Her quest leads her to grasp naturopaths and dig deeper into Blackcliffe’s hidden history of mysterious activities, culminating in the help of new friends like a hippie neighbor (Samantha Sloyan), Elonka seems to venture into the dying every time Happens when caring for the woods around the hospital.
The Midnight Club setup seems to offer a shortcut to the depths (if any premise is easier than Exploiting words) a sick child, there are eight), but Flanagan and Fang are careful to avoid reducing their role to their diagnosis. When tears come, they don’t come easily. Empathetic writing and lively acting produce personalities that pop off the screen — perhaps none more so than Ruth Codd’s Anya, Elonka’s self-proclaimed roommate’s bitch , Chris Sumpter’s Spence, a gay AIDS patient, accepts his sexuality and his diagnosis. Meanwhile, Benson’s stubbornness and empathy make her the ideal anchor for the series’ painful empathy.
During the day, young patients in Blackcliffe are treated in a group therapy session under the warm, firm hand of Dr. Stanton (Heather Langenkamp) to manage their complex feel. But it’s at the unsanctioned midnight club gathering that they really open up to each other through wild, terrifying fiction. Much of each chapter is devoted to portraying these stories, recapturing some of the unpredictable joys I remember book after book; fans of his work might be happy to hear that though Midnight Club borrows the structure of one of his works, but many more are adapted from these fantasies.
Flanagan and Fong are not terribly subtle about the way they reflect teenage plight. Through these stories, these children can write for themselves the endings they secretly long for or fear, addressing their worries and regrets by projecting them onto ghosts or demons or time travelers. Often, they become a way of wrestling with hope, as Amesh (Sauriyan Sapkota), who has a crush on Natsuki (Aya Furukawa), invents a sci-fi thriller about a man like himself (who also plays Sapkota). A shy freak, he tries to get girls (played by Furukawa).
What saves the gimmick from being dreary and conceited is a sense of play. Midnight Club gleefully jumps at the chance to delve into different styles and genres, with one chapter even recreating a grainy black-and-white palette and 4:3 aspect ratio for a classic The proportions of film noir — albeit centered on a femme fatale chewing a toothpick rather than smoking — reflect her blunt creator Sandra (Annara Symon). Their cast consists mostly of Midnight Club themselves (with a few cameos from other Flanagan regulars), and their narration is often interrupted by listeners who are quick to rant about over-reliance on jump scares or play each other in absurd details. laugh at.
The varying quality of the stories in these stories only adds to their fun. Every shaky wig or awkward accent makes it feel like we’re watching a homegrown troupe put on a show that means a lot to them, even if they lack the slick professionalism of a Broadway production. In The Midnight Club, storytelling is not a solo performance by a maestro, but a public project where the story gathers meaning as the characters mix their own interpretations, twists, or critiques , and ended up responding with a story
In contrast, despite the high production value, the main narrative lost momentum. Like pure horror, Midnight Club is less scary than last year’s Midnight Mass . The horrors at Blackcliffe may be valid in the moment – corridors seem to teleport themselves to other times, “living shadows” stalk the dying, sometimes seeming to reach out to choke them – but often feel like an afterthought , is pinned down to the end of a chapter that has culminated on other emotional levels. Those who prefer detailed explanations and neat solutions should be warned, The Midnight Club mystery has subsided rather than peaked and ended on the last button, which is sure to confuse and Not to clarify.
But it’s also true to some extent for a project that prioritizes deep feelings over cheap thrills or easy answers. Towards the end of the season, Kevin (Igby Rigney), the clean-cut boy-next-door whose serial killer thriller has gone on for several nights, confesses that he is so reluctant The real reason why things ended: “Once people knew the ending, the rest of the story just disappeared.” In the show’s typical meta-fashion, it’s clear he’s talking about his own impending demise and the final chapters of his story. How touching is that Midnight Club itself, with its characters wandering in the mind after the drama, proves him wrong.