A midnight mass-terpiece

A brief summary and glowing review of Midnight Mass, a limited series on Netflix.


art by Ava Brokate

An eerie church, reminiscent of the religious horror series “Midnight Mass.”

From inspiring the Satanic Panic to acting as cautionary tales to those brave enough to watch them, horror flicks and religion have had a complicated history. However, the culmination of the two has proven itself to be one of the best sub-genres of horror, and Midnight Mass, a Netflix-limited series, is no different.

Set on an island secluded from the continental United States via ferry ride, the limited series begins with the protagonist, Riley, reeling from the aftermath of the drunk driving accident he caused. With the camera acting as a third eye, the audience experiences the same grisly details that Riley is sent to prison for, and haunted by, for years. Throughout the series, rather than being used as a throwaway plot point, the importance of sober driving and other relevant issues is explored and emphasized wonderfully as the main storyline is propelled forward. Upon being released from prison and returning home, Riley resists participating in church as he questions the new pastor in town and prefers to battle his demons on his own. Then, with Riley’s history established, viewers are introduced to church workers, the town drunk, and the sheriff, who is dealing with various oddities occurring on the island. And as what appear to be miracles torn from the bible itself begin to develop, the once insipid town slips into feverish madness.

In my opinion, the series does a phenomenal job of reeling the audience into the same feelings of desperation and fear the characters experience. The cold, gloomy atmosphere contrasts with fiery sermons in a constant and gripping building of tension. All of the characters feel real and impactful to the story, though I wish that the theme of guilt had been incorporated into the story more. Additionally, I appreciated that the show includes some diversity. However, I wish the aforementioned diversity wasn’t tied so heavily to the characters’ plots and that the characters’ identities were defined by how they were tied to the plot instead. Aside from that, I enjoyed the messages of the show. It warns against the damage blind zealotry and religious persecution can cause to society as a whole.

In conclusion, this limited series defines the future religious horror and I hope to see more like it. It has its downfalls and dull points but maintains itself as an excellent, slow-burn series with chilling monologues and a thrilling plot. So, next time you lose faith in the future of horror, watch Midnight Mass – it deserves all the praise. And remember, once you start, there is only one way off of the island.