Netflix’s ‘The Midnight Club’ Review: Deeply Moving Horror That Isn’t Afraid To Talk About Dying
Love never dies, people die,” Ilonka quotes this line from Merritt Malloy on Netflix’s The Midnight Club. This is the beating heart of Mike Flanagan and Leah Fong’s adaptation of Christopher Pike’s work in her 10-part adaptation. Trying to understand the end of life through poetry and prose.
This show isn’t about death, it’s about what surrounds the end of life and what can’t be taken away: memories, stories, love… Maybe the message is a little awkward, but this is mainly for YA viewers (despite some sinful visuals and the occasional f-bomb).
Kevin’s story is well done, but you can tell it’s not Kevin’s story. Writers/creators are getting smarter.
And every time the edges of “The Midnight Club” felt a little rough, it reminded me of the youthful swirl of emotion that intensifies around serious subjects like death, rather than dwelling on artistic flaws. Still, fans looking for the quintessential stuff like “Midnight Mass” and “Hill House Haunting” will appreciate just how lagging this show is in comparison, or some of the bigger emotional beats. Think of it as a gateway drug for potential new horror fans—young people who may be thinking about death in new ways for the first time.
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It’s also interesting to learn that most of Ilonka’s adventures in Brightcliffe are the creation of Flanagan and Fong, not the source. It must have been difficult to think of adapting a book about children telling stories without adding any kind of other material, but a former patient who may have lived in the woods and members of a cult This is a show about a group of patients, and the construction of Brightcliffe’s mystery often forces Ilonka to separate from the group and into a separate program of her own.
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The Flanagan/Netflix machines show no signs of slowing production. Next up is his promising adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher, and there should be something after that. Where does Midnight Club lie in its legacy? prize. But it may be a first for new horror fans. And, perhaps more importantly, it could be something that really speaks to young people who are forced to deal with death in unjust ways and are looking for stories to help them figure out how to write their own cans.