The Midnight Club review: Profound yet mellow on scares

Netflix’s The Midnight Club is a horror series created by Mike Flanagan and Leah Fong. It is an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Christopher Pike and focuses on a group of terminally ill teenagers living in the Brightcliffe Hospice. They gather every night to tell ghost stories and make a pact that whoever dies first will signal the others from the afterlife.


The plot of The Midnight Club starts in the mid-1990s when a teenager named Ilonka is diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After months of treatments, she is declared terminal and moves to Brightcliffe Hospice despite protests from her foster dad.

The reason for her moving to a facility in her last days lies in the history of the place. A patient from the ’60s named Julia Jayne, who was also diagnosed with the same illness, cured herself in Brightcliffe. Ilonka hopes to explore the property and find that miracle for herself.

She meets the owner of the place, Dr. Stanton and gets acquainted with her fellow residents Kevin, Spencer, Sandra, Amesh, Natsuki, Cheri and her wheelchair-bound roommate, Anya.

That night, Ilonka secretly follows Anya into the library at midnight and observes a meeting of the Midnight Club. She soon becomes a member and sets her sights on exploring Brightcliffe for clues about Julia’s healing process.

The kids meet regularly and narrate stories that are means of expressing their hidden traumas. Ilonka soon meets a woman named Shasta, who lives near Brightcliffe, and gets to know more about a cult that operated there before Stanton bought the place.

With her research getting deeper, Ilonka discovers some sinister secrets.


Just like all other Mika Flanagan shows on Netflix, the performances in The Midnight Club are absolutely brilliant, to say the least. The main cast, featuring Iman Benson, Igby Rigney, Ruth Codd, Annarah Cymone, Chris Sumpter, Adia, Aya Furukawa, and Sauriyan Sapkota, are a treat to watch.

These eight young artists dig deep into their respective characters and give out such layered performances that seasoned actors would be jealous of.

The highlight of the lot, however, is Ruth Codd. It is astonishing that this is her first acting job ever. She is stellar as Anya and manages to explore multiple aspects of her personality with her performance. Even though she is in three fewer episodes than the others, she still manages to make the most impact.

The supporting cast is full of Flanaverse veterans like Samantha Sloyan, Matt Biedel, Zach Gilford, and Heather Langenkamp, among others. These adults are the perfect compliments to the young leads and put their best foot forward when it comes to showcasing their acting chops.


The Midnight Club has a lot of positives, and what tops the list is its ability to talk about death and grief in a way that isn’t uncomfortable or jarring. It handles the kids’ terminal aspect brilliantly, allowing expertly written dialogues to do the heavy lifting.

The show breaks taboos around AIDS, Cancer and even delves into religious aspects of analysing love and hate. The Midnight Club also explores numerous genres and themes via the stories these kids share.

We go from sci-fi thrillers and slashers to mental health dramas and apocalyptic actioners. However, the narrative never loses sight of what it is all about — love and acceptance in times of tragedy.

There are various moments which will force you to pause and maybe introspect about what you’ve witnessed on screen. These include discussions about faith, agency, trauma, fear, love, perspective, miracles, identity, logic, and death, among others.


The show suffers from a slightly weak story. It, unfortunately, doesn’t do justice to the strong acting performances as the plot leaves a lot to be desired.

The horror element is also quite mellow. The show does have scares, and some very unconventional ones, but they just aren’t enough to stick the landing. Mike Flanagan has spoiled us with the standards of ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ and we expect more of the same from all his projects.

The runtime doesn’t help its case either. With 10 episodes running for almost an hour, The Midnight Club soon loses steam towards the latter stages. The real-world plot gets interesting as episodes go by, but the nightly stories start to feel like tasks to get through.

A lot of scenes could have been omitted or cut short to make the flow faster and more consistent.

Furthermore, the actual conclusion is underwhelming and leaves so many questions unanswered. You would think that almost 10 hours would be enough to tell the whole story, but such is not the case.

These plot points may have been left untouched for a second season but it causes this one to feel incomplete.


The Midnight Club, despite its obvious issues, is still a worthy entry into Mike Flanagan’s Netflix horrorverse. It is profound, discusses some very important issues, showcases versatile themes and most of all, is a satisfying watch.

The performances will blow your mind but the underwhelming story and drawn out scenes may dull the fun a little.

The Midnight Club
The Midnight Club review: Profound yet mellow on scares 1

Director: Mike Flanagan, Michael Fimognari, Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr., Axelle Carolyn, Viet Nguyen, Morgan Beggs

Date Created: 2022-10-09 01:07

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: The Midnight Club ending explained: Does Ilonka cure herself?

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