“The Midnight Club” Shows Horrors of Long-term Illness

“The Midnight Club”, produced by Mike Flanagan (“Midnight Mass”, “The Haunting of Hill House”, Doctor Sleep), is a horror/thriller TV series that came out in October on Netflix and revolves around a college-age girl’s life with cancer.  She is part of a group of people who meet at midnight to tell scary stories and encounter the supernatural. The show is a scary, beautiful piece of art, though it has a few minor flaws.

The main character is Ilonka (Iman Benson). Her plans of college are canceled by her illness, and she is forced to seek a cure to her cancer and attend Brightcliffe, a mysterious hospice for terminally ill teenagers. Each night, the teenagers come together to tell scary stories.  The series features new upcoming actors such as Benson, Igby Rigney and Ruth Codd. Most fans were disappointed when the news came out because they were expecting more of his actors that played in “The Haunting of Hill House”.

Each patient is diagnosed with a different illness. The show shows the reality of having such severe illnesses. For example, the character Spencer, after being cut, goes to see a nurse and it shows an emotional moment between the two. The nurse explains he isn’t scared of him and that it isn’t his fault, and that the stereotype of AIDS being an “only a gay person’s thing” is wrong. Ilonka is diagnosed with thyroid cancer and while at the hospital she tries at-home remedies. Ruth, someone who’s been there longer, doesn’t like the idea and is constantly getting mad at her Ilonka’s “newbie” behavior. While dealing with real issues, the fictional series cannot be taken seriously as reality, and it has a twist which is well expected as a horror thriller. 

Each night is a different story with different characters and plots. Overall, there’s an evergoing story of a girl who went missing and returned cured when the establishment was first created. Things can get a little confusing when each night passes. The story of the missing girl shows randomly while the stories each night only shows once.  The jumpscares also are a little cheap. The first story had jumpscares that were repetitive. But the scary “monsters” and in some cases demons make up for the jumpscares with their horrifying appearances.

Overall, the show is absolutely amazing. In combination with the acting, story line, and overall performance the show has viewers screaming, crying, gasping and laughing throughout the whole thing. Flanagan’s work once again doesn’t disappoint.