Why Now is the Time to Revisit Midnight Mass

by 
 | August 1, 2022

Although it came out in 2021 on Netflix, the concept for Midnight Mass has actually been around for quite some time. There’s a scene in the movie Hush (2016) where we can spot Midnight Mass as a book that Kate Siegel’s character wrote. Plus, as she checks the ending she wrote for her next book, Sweetwater, on her laptop, Father Paul and Erin are mentioned. They are the main characters of this series. Kate Siegel plays Erin in Midnight Mass. There is a lot of character/actor crossover between Midnight Mass and Hush. Midnight Mass made another appearance in book form in Gerald’s Game

Midnight Mass tells the story of a small island community who all start to witness miracles after the arrival of the new priest. There’s obviously a twist along the way, so I will give out my usual SPOILER WARNING.

This limited series is about religion, faith, and... vampires. If you are into vampire lore, then the vampire part is quite easy to figure out from the beginning. I believe that the creators knew this as well. Sure, the reveal may surprise some, but for those who read Anne Rice books or the good old Dracula stories, the signs are all there right at the beginning of the first episode.

This is a typical slow-burner, so if you are expecting something quick-paced and scary… yeah, it might be good to look for something else. I read a lot of comments regarding the show, and my favorite one was:

“There’s too much talk about religion in it.”

It is literally called Midnight Mass, a direct reference to a common Christian religious practice… 

Rahul Kohli as Sheriff Hassan in Midnight Mass

One of the most critical points for me in this series is what happens in the school after they decide to give out the Bible to the students. Sheriff Hassan (played brilliantly by Rahul Kohli) points out the actual similarities and the misconceptions about religion in general. I think that speech should have more attention drawn to it. Sheriff Hassan is easily my favorite character of the whole series. His monologue about what happened after 9/11 and why he had to become the Sheriff of a small town on an island is one of the most heartbreaking ones. Discrimination over someone’s religion, skin color, or sexuality is a disease that doesn’t seem to disappear. And it is because of people like Bev Keane. 

Bev Keane is the real evil of Midnight Mass. There. I said it. It’s not the vampire or Father Paul (Hamish Linklater) whose good intentions led him down the wrong road. No. It’s Miss Keane. Her character represents everything I absolutely hate in people who are blinded by their religion. They hide their horrible actions behind the Bible’s words; they use people’s faith against them. The worst part is that there will always be people - often good people - who will believe them. In Midnight Mass, the mayor and his wife stood behind Father Paul and Bev Keane because they believed that God cured their daughter. Therefore, they had to do whatever was necessary. Even if it was hiding a dead body or cutting off the island from the mainland. They were not bad people, but Bev Keane used their faith entirely against them and made them do horrible things. She was the one whose actions brought death to the island in the end. 

Dr. Sarah Gunning (Annabeth Gish) Father Paul (Hamish Linklater) and Bev Keane (Samantha Sloyan)

Of course, Father Paul believed that he was doing the right thing and that the vampire who saved his life was actually an Angel of the Lord. Sure, many questioned (including me) why no one pointed out that the winged, horrible-looking man might not be an angel. But others pointed out that it works pretty well in the series. There are many depictions of angels, and they are not usually these good-looking human-like beings with white feather wings. According to the Christian text, Angels are a bit more bizarre than that. So people not freaking out and being in awe when the vampire stepped in the church makes sense, especially after all the things Father Paul and Bev Keane preached. 

There are so many layers to Midnight Mass. I loved how they talked about addiction and the demons that can tear a person’s life apart. The struggles each person can have that we are simply unable to see from the outside. Everything was extremely cleverly built up. I loved the performances by the actors. But what captured me the most with this series was, once again, the writing. Other than the dialogue mentioned before from Sheriff Hassan, I think I loved Riley’s monologue the most. He was talking with Father Paul for the first time. 

“See that? That’s the part I cannot square. Because you’re right, there is so much suffering in the world. And then there’s this higher power. This higher power who could erase all that pain, just wave his hand and make it all go away, but doesn’t?”

  • Midnight Mass, Season 1, Episode 2

Midnight Mass isn’t flawless; some things are questionable - like having your main characters act out of character to serve the plot or spending the last episode trying to figure out how to kill everyone. Altogether this is the Mike Flanagan series that captured me the most. I loved the cinematography, the atmosphere, and the music. Everything just added up to create this world. I will often come back to this one, that’s for sure. 

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