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THE MIDNIGHT CLUB (2022, USA) – 7/10

Mike Flanagan continues to tirelessly stamp horror series for Netflix. After “The Haunting of Hill House” inspired by the works of Shirley Jackson, “The Haunting of Bly Manor” by Henry James and “Midnight Mass” which he devised himself, he reached for the works of another relatively famous American horror writer, Christopher Pike. “The Midnight Club” is an adaptation of Pike’s novel of the same name, but in the ten-part series, Flanagan also included motifs from another 27 of Pike’s books, and it was perhaps the weakest of all his previous series. We follow the fate of eight terminally ill teenagers who were placed in the Brightcliffe hospice in the Seattle area sometime in the mid-nineties.

All these kids ended up there because they were diagnosed with some serious illness from which there is no cure, and the hospice has been open since the sixties and countless unlucky teenagers have passed through it. However, since the sixties there has also been a midnight club started by the patients themselves, and they meet every night in the local library at night to tell scary horror stories aimed at scaring the rest of the team, which is certainly not an easy task because they are all terminally ill and it is difficult to scare them. And all these kids have practically come to terms with their fates and are aware of what awaits them, but Ilonka, who arrived there due to metastasized thyroid cancer, hopes that she could find an unconventional medicine there that will save her.

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She believes that she could make a miraculous recovery and get out of there alive, and she will find a support for her optimism when she realizes that at the end of the sixties, a girl managed to do that. Ilonka will understand that in that old house where the hospice is located today, some kind of cult was once located, so we will also have hints of the occult, and as with all of Flanagan’s series, the biggest problem for me was that it was too long. It was forced into ten hour-long episodes and maybe it would have worked better in eight or six episodes, but it wasn’t so bad in the end, regardless of the fact that the basic premise itself sounds quite morbid. The stories that these young patients tell each other are mostly fun.

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Both in terms of sensibility and style, and also thematically, all these stories are quite different, and while some are classic horror stories, some are noir crime stories, while some seem to have fallen out of the Twilight Zone. All these stories are also quite personal because each of these kids not only brings a lot of things from their own lives into it, we will understand, and through these terrible stories they mostly talk about their own lives and destinies, but all these kids also interpret characters who appear in stories. Of course, at the same time, something strange is happening to that old house with a dark history, and since the time of the action is the nineties, so the soundtrack was also very nice to me. Even though the basic topic is quite well affected at a time when various holistic methods are flourishing, alternative medicine and various quasi-experts are widely selling their brains and making wisecracks about the fact that classical medicine is not good and that it is better to listen to some shamans, holistics and similar fools, I am still from I expected something more from the “Midnight Club”.

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