In the series, college-bound students face imminent deaths, which is definitely upsetting and distressing. If you, however think about it, even in fiction, it can be challenging to generate spooky thrills without also eliciting emotional manipulation from a real tragedy.

Mike Flanagan is evidently a creative genius and horror genre maestro. His wildly popular Netflix series The Haunting of the Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor are two examples of his exceptional work.

Both these adaptations were centered on the theme of the haunted mansion and were full of family drama and contemplation.

Midnight Mass, another excellent horror series he created, turned scarier and gorier as the dark secret of island society was unearthed. But unlike previous works, Flanagan's latest, a collaboration with co-creator Leah Fong, The Midnight Club, is a horror mystery-thriller completely devoid of horror. A complete let down.

The 10-episode Netflix series, which was adapted from the book by Christopher Pike, debuted on October 5.

The story is set in 1994, the year the novel was written and it is set in a hospice for teen patients who suffer from terminal illnesses.  

In the story's opening scene, a young woman who defies her diagnosis arrives at Brightcliffe, a small, friendly hospice with the requisite mysterious past. IIonka  [Iman Benson], a cheerful, audacious, and exhausting upbeat patient, claims that all she wants is to spend her remaining time with people who can understand her situation.

In reality, however, she came to Brightcliffe after reading about a patient who had the same cancer diagnosis as IIonka in the past and returned home cured.

Her quest immediately puts her at odds with Dr. Georgina Stanton [ Heather Langenkamp], the hospice's caring but aloof founder, since she is armed with handcrafted herbal medicines and desperate to find the origin of the hospice's purported healing abilities.

There are not many rules in the club. The most crucial rule is that when any of its members passes away, they must make every effort to send a sign back to the living, a flicker of hope that there may be something on the other side.

The teenagers have yet to encounter any noteworthy paranormal activity though, which is an anticlimax.

Pike novels serve as the basis for the tales presented at the Midnight Club. They range from noir to slasher in style. As the stories are narrated, actors from the show's main cast appear in them, perhaps expressing their unspoken feelings.

For the majority of the scares and character development in each episode, Flanagan and Fong mainly rely on these vignettes. It is understandable considering that no one likes to see kids who are close to death being even slightly tortured.

This implies that for The Midnight Club to qualify as horror, the most brutal violent and cynical acts must take place elsewhere and not in the main plot. This merely serves to disrupt the show.

Despite numerous scenes that constantly suggest depth, the series never delivers an integrated, thematically rich series that was promised.

If Flanagan had not been sidetracked by cliched story elements and excessively sensitive to his ill characters' darker aspects, his horror settings could have worked well. 

Come to think of it, these shortcomings point up Flanagan's flaws, which vary from inconsistent to slow pacing, are actually ignored. Let's face it : The Midnight Club horribly failed to live up to our expectations.

The World Students Society thanks review author Zehra Batool.


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