Midnight Mass

Midnight Mass ★★★½

Midnight Mass is overall a frustrating experience to sit through despite its glimpses of Mike Flanagan greatness. Criminally overlong and far too preachy for its rather simplistic story, Midnight Mass is for sure one of Flanagan's weaker outputs.

Midnight Mass is equal parts a small-town character study and a new spin on the theme of religious mania. The microscopic depiction of breakdown and resurrection of faith is intriguing but definitely not groundbreaking, which means the main selling point of the whole series is not nearly as airtight as Flanagan's previous masterpieces such as the Haunting. Its highly philosophical approaches appear more as a tactic to drag out its runtime rather than a genuine inquiry into the mystery of the human psyche.

The acting caliber, on the other hand, is rather high, with probably the only exception of Zach Gilford, who seemed somehow inadequate with his deliveries to pull off the complexity of his character Riley, an ex-con who returns home after jail time in search of redemption. The fact that most of the long, cumbersome monologues in the series involve him certainly doesn't help. Hamish Linklater, the standout of the ensemble, on the other hand, was phenomenally believable as the passionate central figure in this sinister Stephen King style horror story.

Despite its over-stretched plot and fair share of cliches, especially in the painfully formulaic final episode, Midnight Mass still has its moments of pure genius with potent ideas, mostly in the first three episodes, as well as that glorious ending of episode 5. Everything else ranges from serviceable to just okay.

Midnight Mass doesn't wow me, but it's still memorable nonetheless because of its ambition and resolve to explore further into different genres. But I believe a certain 70s classic horror miniseries is the superior and more economical alternative in comparison.

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