Reviews of movies and TV focused on women

The Midnight Club, ghost stories, mysteries, and horror

Ruth Codd, Annarah Cymone, Sauriyan Sapkota, Adia, Aya Furukawa, Iman Benson, William Chris Sumpter, and Igby Rigney in The Midnight Club

The Midnight Club is a YA series so chock-full of ghosts, angels, devils, mysteries, Greek myths, and jump scares that it almost turns into fun rather than horror. It deals with some heavy topics because the main characters are terminally ill and live together in a hospice.

The Midnight Club is a nightly meeting in the library – at midnight, natch – when the residents of the hospice meet to exchange ghost stories. The stories they tell have an old-fashioned quality, like the ghost stories you tell around a campfire. All the stories are based on novels by Christopher Pike. Mike Flanagan and Leah Fong developed the midnight club concept for television.

Heather Langenkamp in The Midnight Club

Dr. Stanton (Heather Langenkamp) runs the hospice in a very old building that is full of secrets. Dr. Stanton is full of secrets, too, not all of which are cleared up by the final episode. There’s no news of a second season yet, but the creators have made it known that they have ideas for more seasons and unanswered questions from this season will be explained later.

The nurse Mark (Zach Gilford) is the other other medical personnel on site. There’s a friendly woman named Shasta (Samantha Sloyan) in a nearby community who is regularly in the story.

The overarching story is about the terminal patients and their lives and deaths. The history of the building and the site is part of the overarching story, with the topic of patients who healed spontaneously after being there of great interest to the current group of patients.

Ruth Codd, Annarah Cymone, Sauriyan Sapkota, Adia, Aya Furukawa, Iman Benson, William Chris Sumpter, and Igby Rigney in The Midnight Club poster

Everyone in the regular cast played multiple parts. In the main story, the young people were Kevin (Igby Rigney), Sandra (Annarah Cymone), Ilonka (Iman Benson), Anya (Ruth Codd), Chris (William Chris Sumpter), Cheri (Adia), Netsuke (Aya Furukawa), and Amesh (Sauriyan Sapkota). Those regulars appeared in the stories within a story as other characters, sometimes joined by recognizable actors there for one episode.

Each of the terminally ill young people had their own story and issues. Each was well developed. The ghost stories they told at midnight often reflected some issue they were dealing with in their real life. Thematically, the characters ran the gamut. Foster kids, gay kids, neglected kids, unloved kids, religious kids, smothered kids, immigrant kids. Their stories involved serial killers, angels, magic, suicide, the past and the future. Death, dying, and what comes next were constantly at the top of everyone’s mind.

If you’re inclined to tick off jump scares every time one happens, you’ll start to realize that this series has more jump scares than Google has search words. So many jump scares.

The young people themselves were fascinating and well-acted. Add in the ghost stories told at night and it made the series a constantly interesting, intriguing, ghoulish mystery. It wasn’t the best thing Mike Flanagan has ever done, but it is right up there near the top. I definitely want to know the answers to the mysteries, secrets, and unanswered plot points that hung open at the end of the first season. Fingers crossed for more.

The series is on Netflix. If you watch it, I’d love to hear your reactions to the characters, the mysteries, and the themes.

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