The primary time Mike Flanagan tried to adapt Christopher Pike’s younger grownup novel The Midnight Membership, Pike’s writer despatched Flanagan a stop and desist letter. Now, after carving out a profession of “status horror” choices — from the critically acclaimedto — the director has lastly earned a shot at taking up Pike’s materials.
The Midnight Membership, a 10-episode first season streaming on Netflix, seems to be and looks like a chapter from the Flanaverse. But it has all of the hallmarks of a younger grownup fantasy. It is populated by ghosts, witches, zombies, cyborgs, aliens and extra. Its elevator pitch: The Fault in Our Stars meets Are You Afraid of the Darkish?
However The Midnight Membership is much extra disturbing than it sounds. A serial killer, a cult and reflections on mortality elevate The Midnight Membership to a extra refined realm. At its core, The Midnight Membership is a shifting portrait of these processing their impending loss of life, when their lives have barely begun.
The Midnight Membership itself is the identify of a gathering between terminally unwell teenage sufferers at Brightcliffe Hospice. These sufferers — Sandra (Annarah Cymone), Anya (Ruth Codd), Spence (Chris Sumpter), Natsuki (Aya Furukawa), Kevin (Igby Rigney), Cheri (Adia) and Amesh (Sauriyan Sapkota) — creep into the library at night time to inform one another ghost tales. Drawn from different Pike novels and performed out as mini-movies, these fantastical tales mirror actuality greater than you’d assume. They permit the sufferers, dealing with their mortality, to depart one thing behind after they’re gone.
The newcomer to those longstanding halls is Ilonka (Iman Benson). A once-prospective Stanford scholar, Ilonka’s future fades with the ringing in her ears when she receives a surprising physician’s prognosis. Together with her fiercely shiny and curious thoughts, Ilonka is the proper investigator into the unusual happenings at Brightcliffe. Other than a “possessed” elevator and a ghost creepily named Cataract Lady, a thriller a couple of potential remedy propels the principle story ahead.
Like ’80s-set The Haunting of Bly Manor, The Midnight Membership is a interval piece. Set within the ’90s, it drops era-specific various/indie songs over the credit. An eerie glare shines over characters dialing up the web on their chunk computer systems. In stark distinction, Brightcliffe breathes the 1900s. The design of this haunted home is meticulous. Round occultist symbols are seemingly echoed within the stained glass home windows and arch hallways — or is that only a charming coincidence?
Much like Midnight Mass, The Midnight Membership dangles a veracity to its inconceivable components, in order that its foremost characters would possibly simply assume a magical remedy is actual. With characters so near the brink of loss of life, any escape, irrespective of how fantastical, is value exploring.
In delicate discussions, different figures — akin to mysterious Dr. Georgina Stanton, performed by scream queen royalty Heather Langenkamp from A Nightmare on Elm Avenue — advocate accepting loss of life and appreciating life. Others search to delay life by means of less-established means, akin to hippy-type Shasta, performed by an always-magnetic Samantha Sloyan. Together with Rahul Kohli and Zach Gilford, Sloyan is considered one of a number of from Flanagan’s common appearing troupe to assist inform his newest story.
Inevitably a number of the ghost tales are extra thrilling, shifting and distressing than others, however all of them match surprisingly easily into the framework of episodic mini-movies. It is the climax of the ten episodes, the identical size as The Haunting of Hill Home, that does not essentially repay in a approach that wallops you within the chest — a aspect impact of organising the sequence for extra to return.
Nonetheless, as an entire, season 1 is immense. It may not be the identical private tour de drive exposé on religion as Midnight Mass, however The Midnight Membership echoes a compelling meditation on perception and its capacity to heal. Co-created with Bly Manor producer and author Leah Fong, The Midnight Membership is a cautious, sleek illustration of youngsters reconciling with terminal ailments and loss of life. It offers with different critical areas — self-harm, intercourse, alcohol and medicines — however tragedy is not the defining issue. The Brightcliffe children all have a humorousness. With compassion connecting them, love is the prevailing drive irrespective of how darkish the corridors change into.
Ailing heroes face their impending doom in Mike Flanagan’s tackle younger grownup horror. The Midnight Membership is a novel, absorbing dissection of the facility of perception — reaching far past the realm of normal teenage fare.
Motion pictures Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and Extra
See all photographs