Midnight Mass: Season One
September 24, 2021 1:16 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The tale of a small, isolated island community whose existing divisions are amplified by the return of a disgraced young man and the arrival of a charismatic priest. When Father Paul's appearance on Crockett Island coincides with unexplained and seemingly miraculous events, a renewed religious fervor takes hold of the community - but do these miracles come at a price? A new horror series by Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House).

Streaming on Netflix.
posted by DirtyOldTown (55 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Flanagan’s previous TV shows have beguiled and frustrated me in equal measure. I’m halfway through episode three of Midnight Mass and so far it’s giving me BIG TIME Salem’s Lot vibes. EXTREMELY Kingy stuff, and I’m here for it. I also… have theories. Like, who Father Paul Hill really is. Normally I’d talk spoilers here on FF, but given this is a full season discussion I guess I’ll come back once I’ve finished the whole thing (which I suspect won’t take long).
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 2:45 PM on September 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Tuned in last night and I'll be sticking with it for now.

When modern Western life leaves you bereft of community AND inner resources... what might take center stage to fill the void? Perhaps being haunted isn't the worst fate that could befall a human.

Cat lovers (like me) take warning. The final shot of episode 1 reminded me that late medieval Christian church authorities went after cats for being witches / familiars.

Gore / body horror is understated so far, thankfully.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 8:03 AM on September 25, 2021

Have finished ep 4 and wow things sped up fast. I had seen some of those events coming but didn't expect them quite so soon. I'm very intrigued to see how the last almost half turns out but it is nearly 2am and I need to sleep.

The cats would have bothered me a lot more if they hadn't looked so obviously fake. That is not a criticism.
posted by Athanassiel at 8:52 AM on September 25, 2021 [4 favorites]

Just started with this. My expectations are very low but I like boats and islands, and I am enjoying watching this as trash horror, and it's fun speculating about who is the were-pterodactyl. I hope it's glove girl Kate Siegel just for amusement's sake.

Also, all the fucking teal and orange set decoration, fucking ugh. Why do they do this, who are the people who do these things, who tells them to do it this way.

But I mean I love that they found an excuse to have all those glowing cat eyes looking out from the background.
posted by fleacircus at 11:04 PM on September 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

I love the ambiance and the tone, and a lot of the framing of shots is staged in a deliberately obvious purposeful way that I enjoy. The plot is not the strong suit, but they've made some solid choices, and it's certainly not been a bad plot so far (up to episode 5). They're relying on flavor and putting good actors in close-up and letting them do face work and it's great.

It's *very* Stephen King, though. Like, Bev Keane just got lost on her way to The Stand or The Mist or something. She's hilarious with how badly she's been waiting her whole life for a monster to swear eternal servitude to.
posted by Scattercat at 12:58 AM on September 26, 2021 [9 favorites]

I rarely binge series but this one got me. I really loved it. I think I enjoyed the setup and delivery more than the punchline but I think this whole thing was a fun horror premise that was really elevated by a strong cast. Some really great shot composition and use of music throughout as well that help this stand out.

I've been a fan of Flanagan for years and continue to enjoy his work.
posted by slimepuppy at 12:05 PM on September 26, 2021

Oh no someone told Flanagan that faces at the window are the scariest thing.
posted by fleacircus at 10:37 PM on September 26, 2021

I am *not* reading the comments yet because I'm only on episode 3 but I wanted to note one rather subtle and lovely effect - in a lot of the long talking scenes like the AA conversation in episode 2, the camera gently bobs up and down a little, like the scenes are taking place on a boat.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:24 AM on September 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

I loved it from start to finish. I cried so much at the end.

This also is the most beautiful Netflix show and one of the most beautiful shows I've seen on any streaming service. It's in Dolby Vision which doesn't mean a lot to most people, but it finally was using the technology well so that it had excellent lighting/shadows/darkness. It was really a show I would put on to show off the power of a great OLED TV.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:46 AM on September 28, 2021 [4 favorites]

Oh no someone told Flanagan that faces at the window are the scariest thing.

He's been aware of this for quite some time; nobody told him this recently.
posted by LionIndex at 9:47 AM on September 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

Lol ok thanks for that information.
posted by fleacircus at 11:53 AM on September 28, 2021

It's almost the B plot of The Haunting of Hill House.
posted by LionIndex at 12:26 PM on September 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oh! But you wouldn't put the scariEST thing in a B plot! That would be silly. I'm afraid you're probably mistaken, and someone did recently tell Flanagan about how faces at a window are scary, probably in a telegram that also let him know that dark doorways are also quite terrifying.
posted by fleacircus at 1:18 PM on September 28, 2021

Well, no, dark doorways are the C plot of Hill House. So he got the memo in 2014 or so.
posted by LionIndex at 1:41 PM on September 28, 2021

No no, LionIndex -- it was not a memo, it was a telegram.

I decided to double-check because I want to resolve this matter.

I'm over at Mike Flanagan's house. He wouldn't answer the door, but I could hear him inside in the bathroom, singing something about Carla Gugino. I shot an arrow through the window, which arrow had a paper attached designed to unfurl to display its message: "Faces in windows are the scawiest thing :3" I couldn't see Mike's reaction (I had to arc the shot in), but he did cry out, "I know! I got a telegram last August!" This checks out because The Haunting of Bly Manor did seem to come from a place of scariness-ignorance.

I have another arrow for the doorway thing, but i gtg Kate Siegel just appeared in a mirror behind me with a butcher knife, guess i should have noticed her skittering across the foreground earlier
posted by fleacircus at 2:21 PM on September 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Finished this tonight. I think I liked it more than Flanagan's other Netflix TV series. Hill House had higher highs maybe but the payoffs were terrible. This one carried through with the premise, and even if the outcomes were sort of visible and forced, there's still quite a few fun wrinkles along the way that made it pretty watchable.

The biggest problem was that I didn't think Riley and Erin really had any good chemistry and their stiff non-romance sort of hogged the narrative. Like, the teenagers who seem like they're going to matter in the first couple episodes vanish into the background. And IDK, in general it felt like there were maybe twice as many monologues than there really should have been.

I'm wouldn't recommend it strongly but it was fun enough.
posted by fleacircus at 6:06 AM on September 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

I think I'm mostly watching this now for the performances - the priest has a magnetically oddball delivery with more than a touch of Goldblum to it, and Bev is probably my favourite straight-laced power abuser since Nurse Ratched.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:35 AM on September 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

I watched the last half of the final espidoe through bouts of ugly-crying because it was so beautifully painful. Flanagan has a fine line of horror and sentimental that bypasses any critical sense in me to go straight for primal fear, joy and grief. The final scenes on the beach and the song - Bev digging, the knife through the wings, the "do you forgive me?" exchange, the parents holding on to each other - aie.

I love the actor but unfortunately he will forever be Christine's little brother. Bev was quietly viciously excellent.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 8:58 AM on September 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

Indeed. The sheer primal relief of someone finally saying, "Beverly, you are not a good person." energized me for the entire rest of the episode. Well, that and the ugly cry.
posted by Mogur at 3:46 PM on October 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oh! And when have you ever felt relieved when a child says "I can't feel my legs"?
posted by Mogur at 3:47 PM on October 1, 2021 [5 favorites]

Loved this. It was very Mike Flanagan, which is like Stephen King without the flab and bloat. But this also seems like it’s the most personal story he’s told so far, wanting to work out his feelings about Christianity and death so thoroughly.

I was very glad Flanagan didn’t try to drag the mystery out unreasonably—what was going on was pretty obvious by episode 2, and explicit in episode 3. Also loved how other story beats moved along crisply. At the end of one episode Riley gets attacked by the Angel, and you think, how could he possibly survive? Answer is he didn’t, and by the end of the next episode, he’s died a second time, rather than lingering for a few more angsting about being a vampire.

Before I started watching, I saw a Mean Girls meme about it that said “Get in bitches, we’re doing monologues,” and Hoo boy was that the case. I enjoyed it as a formal choice though.

I’m a full-on atheist but Erin’s monologue about what happened to her daughter after she “died” made me cry. Than her reprise as she bled out at the end did it again.
posted by ejs at 9:42 AM on October 2, 2021 [4 favorites]

To add to my note above: As an islander from the east coast who grew up Catholic but then turned atheist - hoo boy did this stir up a lot of memories. The word I keep using for this one is "solid". There's little flash, almost no weird experimentation - just solid craftmanship, all the way from the writing to the photography to the actor's choices, and it's a delight. Just good solid work that kept me interested from start to finish.

That being said: on reflection, there's a plot hole or two (*nobody* on the island knows how to build a lean-to or other improvised shelter? We've already established that curtains are enough blockage), but I am definitely a Mike Flanagan fan now and look forward to his next project.
posted by Mogur at 10:51 AM on October 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oh! Oh! Also, Samantha Sloyan is just as delightful as her character was awful. A lesser actor might have hit the word "Monsignor" a bit too hard the first time they used it, with maybe a significant glance thrown in, but Sloyan played it straight...with the result that when I finally realized with a jolt that she had switched from "Father" to "Monsignor", it had already been going on for a while, and I had to think back about what she had been doing in each scene.
posted by Mogur at 10:55 AM on October 2, 2021 [4 favorites]

I liked the ending, it felt somewhat of an inverted nod to the end of The Wicker Man, where the pagans sing together as the sun comes up. Only this time they are themselves simultaneously the sacrifice, and the cultists, and the well meaning (mostly) Christians.

I’m still trying to puzzle out what to take away from it about religion and faith in general, despite everything that happens the show has an interestingly ambiguous view of it, and can’t really be pinned down to anything as simple as pro or anti religion, or pro or anti human nature.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:54 PM on October 2, 2021 [4 favorites]

The religious moments at the end seemed to be about faith and forgiveness and trust. Admitting they had sinned horrifically and still coming together - those who gave in, those who resisted - to pray through song. On the beach, the reunion of a father and son who had held to their beliefs together, at the bridge, Monseigneur removing his collar in recognition that a) he has lost his priesthood and b) he wanted his family, and the awful moment of Beverly digging, frantic to out run death and not able to trust in God or ask for forgiveness - she and the original vampire both die running and without faith. For Erin and also Riley’s parents and the Sheriff - all the good parents - they gave up their lives to protect other people, people who would never know the sacrifices made for them. Altruism and Christian sacrifice stuff. And for the doctor, she believed her mother and Erin, she chose to believe the children escaped against the darkness, which is a deep joyful faith too.

Two plot holes bug me, a) why not pull blankets over yourselves and hide until nightfall then make a lean-to and eat the mainland rescuers? The only answer I have is that by this point people were realising the trader du of their actions and thus willingly chose to face death instead.

B) guns dont work but decapitation is pretty great and this is an island, someone must have saws. The only answer I have there is Flanagan not wanting an action film over horror.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 12:57 AM on October 4, 2021 [5 favorites]

I thought this was excellent and one thing I really appreciated was the slow but steady pace. It took as long as it needed to to tell its story but no more. It lingered only on character, not plot. When something was known, it was known, and didn’t spin out the mystery further to fill up a larger than needed episode order.

I have a question though. I (a Brit) have never seen an island location like this depicted on screen before. Where would the island exist if it were real? Is there a real life version of this island?
posted by chill at 5:44 AM on October 5, 2021

As a US person, even though the location is unspecified, with the nature of the people and the buildings and the economy based on fishing, I twigged it immediately as being something off the coast of New England. I haven't been to any of those islands, but maybe something like Block Island or Monhegan, although such islands are also tourist attractions which doesn't seem like a thing for the show version
posted by LionIndex at 8:25 AM on October 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

This one was my least favorite so far, and still I had a blast as I always do. I loved Bev and think that actress is some kind of phenom.

The same thing happens to me with all of these: the first several episodes 'til the source of all the horror is revealed are absolutely terrifying and I have to keep pausing and running out of the room. Then we arrive at what I believe will be called decades from now The Poppy Turn wherein all is revealed and whereupon I say to myself, "Haaaahaha! Wow, that's dumb!" And all subsequent episodes are not at all scary because what was horrifying when it was mysterious is ridonk, now that I can see the machinery. But then I watch the rest for the ambiance and the acting and the even-though-pretty-dumb still fun to ponder on premise, here that all the blood and cannibalism and resurrection in the Christ myth boils down to it's totally been vampires this whole time.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:00 PM on October 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

I really enjoyed it, even though it seemed obvious what was going to happen from episode to episode. I think the big surprise for me was the end of episode 5 in the boat, that was a beautiful scene and a lovely bit of catharsis for him. That said, it was a solid bit of television, deliberately paced and only a handful of monologues too many. But I even understood the choice to use them.

I don't think I love this as much as Hill House or was as emotionally invested as Bly Manor, but I did appreciate going in blind and devouring it all in a few days.
posted by crossoverman at 4:48 AM on October 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

On a personal note, I was taken aback to find that I could sing virtually all of the hymns the islanders did in church, word for word, with no help from the captions. Considering I haven't been a churchgoer in close to thirty years, that stuff must have really imprinted on me more than I realized.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:11 AM on October 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

So many monologues! I love it. Very interesting to hear people dig that deep into their inner thoughts. Terrific acting and editing and pacing to give that space.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:03 PM on October 18, 2021

That really wrapped up well. Bev literally trying to bury her head in the sand to save herself was perfect.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:50 AM on October 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

One thing that surprised me as a production decision was the choice of hymns. Given how hard they leaned into the Catholocism, virtually all the hymns used are protestant and not those commonly sung at Catholic Masses. It seems like they really could have awakened all the latent lapsed Catholic's catholic-feelings in a lot of people if they'd used more commonly-sung hymns. "Be Not Afraid" seems like such an obvious choice given the constant reminder that people in the Bible are afraid when they see angels.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:30 PM on October 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

I really liked this -- more than Hill House, which kind of fell apart in the final act for me, and much more than Bly Manor, which I didn't even finish. A few kind of random things that Kitteh and I were talking about as we worked through it...

- At one point we looked up whether or not Flanagan has any public substance abuse issues, because it's certainly a thing in his work. Turns out yes, and while the idea of addiction/control/compulsion and vampirism isn't unique to this, I think it's a really powerful lens for the whole thing, especially given the last episode and the character portraits of people who do -- and don't -- succumb to hunger immediately.

- It's always weird when people in-universe don't just acknowledge the thing that's happening. I was wondering at one point where this was all happening in a universe where vampire lore just doesn't exist at all, but apparently Riley even has a copy of Salem's Lot in his bedroom. So, I mean, why not just use the word? It takes me out of the whole thing a bit. This isn't some obscure folklore!

- As somebody who spent his childhood in the Protestant church but has had several significant life crossovers with Catholicism, the entire St. Patrick's deal was distractingly Protestant. The hymns, the modest style of the church -- you could keep 99% of the trappings, call it Anglican, and it would have rung so much more true than the idea of a shabby Catholic shack on a small ocean fishing island.

- There was clearly a choice here, and I'm puzzled as to why King Vampire was so overtly demonic. It was gobsmackingly weird that Pruitt would look at it, with the pointy ears, the leathery pointy wings, the claws, naked, and think "angel!". Granted, yes, the Bible does allude to angels being fearsome, but we have 2000 years of cultural input of "what angels look like" and "what demons look like" and when something with leathery bat wings, pointed ears, claws and fangs pounces on me from the darkness and tears my neck open, "ah, yes! Of course! An angel!" does not seem... probable as a place anyone would go. Flanagan is a smart dude, and I'm sure there's more to it than "this looked scarier than something that looked less scary," but I'm a bit perplexed.

- I loved the pacing. Dispense with the "mystery" 1/3 of the way in and just let the plot unfold from there. It's talky, sure, but I liked the deliberateness of it, and the thoughtfulness of it. The long talk between Riley and Erin about what happens when we die -- and the totally unexpected, but immensely rewarding, callback at the end -- it's going to stick with me for a long time.

- On the above point, I'm an atheist but I really felt like Flanagan did walk a fine line brilliantly here of not ultimately disparaging either faith or atheism. It dunks on small-town American Jesus stuff, for sure, but that's fine.

- I also love the way Flanagan frames shots. Somebody who knows more about this stuff than I do probably has more to say about it, but the AA meetings in particular grabbed me as really... intentional in how they were set up. At one point, high angles to make it look like Riley and Pruitt are on a chessboard. In another, all the chairs hanging upside down on the wall behind Riley, which made me -- at least -- think of inverted crosses and Riley as the "Unholy" one in the conversation. Lots of interesting alternation between Pruitt-right and Riley-left in the reverse shots... I think there's a lot here that I'm missing because I don't "speak film." Also other small things: Scully framed over Riley's shoulder when he refuses church to his mother; just gorgeous angles and lighting in the church scenes.

- I'm happy with the ending but agree in general that it's weird that nobody thought that, you know, a burnt-down building still offers plenty of shade, or you could just duck under that bridge over the stream that features prominently, and the Uppers have lots of shrub and trees that you could probably shelter under in reasonable darkness... happy to allow the plot device, to tie it off neatly, but it felt a bit off.

- I would pay money to watch Rahul Kohli read the phone book. What a great actor. I also thought Robert Longstreet was exceptional as Joe Collie, and while I dismissed Samantha Sloyan as Non-Union Marcia Gay Harden for the first few episodes, she really brought Bev to horrible, horrible life.

I don't know if it's Top Ten Things Ever or anything, but this definitely falls into the much better than it needed to be category for me -- really looking forward to more from Flanagan, and retroactively interested in Doctor Sleep now, which I never imagined would happen.
posted by Shepherd at 4:49 PM on October 23, 2021 [5 favorites]

Still haven't finished it. One more episode to go. But my wife and I are really enjoying this series. Sure, it has some corniness. And maybe a few too many monologs. But all the single shot, long takes give it a stage production quality that I find refreshing and compelling. You can hear the Priest character stumble a few times in his long, long diatribes, but I find that endearing.

I could barely finish Bly House. It felt so forced and phony. All these people hanging around in a kitchen that they don't even own, talking constantly. It just didn't click with me. I loved Hill House, even though it was about two episodes too long, and the ending was a little flat. I'm just along for the ride with this series. It's a journey, not a destination. I guessed a few things before they were revealed, but it's a production done with eagerness and (seemingly) love and enthusiasm, versus most copy/paste horror stuff you see these days.
posted by SoberHighland at 9:30 AM on October 27, 2021

OH WOW. We just watched (re-watched for me) Flanagan's film Hush and in it, the protagonist is a writer whose book is called Midnight Mass and is about characters named Riley and Erin.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:22 PM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

She's also working on a follow-up called Sweetwater that has Erin and Father Paul in it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:46 PM on November 2, 2021

Even when the monologues felt like they went on too long, I kinda loved them. Having EVERYBODY do it took it all the way past "unrealistic" into "stylized" for me. And the actors seemed to be having a fun time with them...

Somebody who knows more about this stuff than I do probably has more to say about it, but the AA meetings in particular grabbed me as really... intentional in how they were set up.

Midnight Mass / Legion / Hannibal - far from the only shows/movies to frame a shot this way, but those were the two other examples I immediately thought of.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:38 PM on November 6, 2021

...and upon googling, the actors for both the angel and Father Paul were in Legion so there's a chance that's not a coincidence!
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:44 PM on November 6, 2021

There was clearly a choice here, and I'm puzzled as to why King Vampire was so overtly demonic. It was gobsmackingly weird that Pruitt would look at it, with the pointy ears, the leathery pointy wings, the claws, naked, and think "angel!".

I have no idea what Flanagan intended, but from my perspective the alpha vampire is obviously, obviously not an angel, and we as audience members aren't supposed to think it's an angel. It's an unholy thing that's been stuck in a cave for who knows how long and uses a befuddled old priest to escape. It's only the combination of Monsignor Pruitt's dementia and his lifetime immersion in Catholic religious imagery that leads him to interpret "this creature that saved my life and made me young again" as "an angel."

The vampire/angel then becomes a visual symbol of how far a religious person or community could go to recast an obvious evil as good. There's always some Bible verse that can be read as supporting what's happening. This thing is scary as hell? Well, sure! Humans are always scared when they meet angels. We're supposed to drink its blood? You remember the words of Jesus--my blood is real food. No matter how flimsy the pretense, if we can hang a verse on the situation we can press ahead. And so the most terrible harms can take place under the shelter of a scripture.

The ultimate expression of this is when Father Paul dresses this grotesque thing up in the garb of a priest and has it co-officiate the midnight mass on Easter, the holiest day of the year. Seeing the bestial vampire standing at the front of the sanctuary in a gold chasuble is the ultimate image for how misguided believers can cloak horror in a veneer of holiness and invite it into their midst.

I didn't take any of this as a slam on religiosity itself. There's plenty of room in midnight mass to believe in a pure and good form of Christianity, and that's well represented by the parishioners singing "Nearer My God to Thee" as they calmly accept their deaths to stop the spread of vampirism. Sheriff Hasan and Ali bowing and praying as the sun rises is another example. But the show does offer a potent metaphor for the ways the evil can be invited, encouraged, and promoted by a religious hierarchy that stands to benefit in some way.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:18 AM on November 11, 2021 [12 favorites]

So in defense of people thinking he was an angel...I watched the whole thing and had no idea he was a vampire and only started suspecting he wasn't an angel when everyone started dying. I just don't know vampire lore. When I finished watching, I asked a friend who I know had watched it (and who by sheer coincidence is into vampires) to explain it to me. Honestly, I had no idea how vampires worked beyond "they like to count."
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:00 PM on November 13, 2021

I watched the whole thing and had no idea he was a vampire and only started suspecting he wasn't an angel when everyone started dying. I just don't know vampire lore. When I finished watching, I asked a friend who I know had watched it (and who by sheer coincidence is into vampires) to explain it to me. Honestly, I had no idea how vampires worked beyond "they like to count."

Apologies but this is truly blowing my mind… you didn’t know that vampires drink blood? I can see missing some of the other stuff if you really actively avoided vampire media (burning up in the sun, etc) but the whole “it bites people on the neck and drinks their blood” thing would seem to be a, lol, dead giveaway
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:11 AM on November 14, 2021

The vampire/angel then becomes a visual symbol of how far a religious person or community could go to recast an obvious evil as good. There's always some Bible verse that can be read as supporting what's happening. This thing is scary as hell? Well, sure! Humans are always scared when they meet angels. We're supposed to drink its blood? You remember the words of Jesus--my blood is real food. No matter how flimsy the pretense, if we can hang a verse on the situation we can press ahead. And so the most terrible harms can take place under the shelter of a scripture.

Yes! At first I thought the ‘angel’ looked totally cheesy, but as the show went on I realized just how deliberate a choice that was. The priest genuinely believes, and he is so persuasive and the people of the island are so primed by their own faith and by their general desperation that he gets enough of them to believe too, even after they see this obvious monster.

Of all the many Jonestown-mass-poisoning-inspired scenes I’ve seen in tv and film, this one got to me maybe more than any other because I could absolutely understand how they got to the point where they were persuaded to do it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:18 AM on November 14, 2021 [3 favorites]

My friend just started watching it and was gushing about the 7-minute unbroken shot at the beginning of episode 2, which I hadn’t clocked. So I watched that scene again - and aside from being extremely technically impressive, it also secretly states the entire conclusion of the show as they’re discussing the dead cats. We have to burn them all, says the sheriff, while everyone else dithers and handwaves. Burn them all, he says again, insistent. It was great.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:48 AM on November 14, 2021 [4 favorites]

Huh! I wasn't fair to it. My towering Poppy resentment and atheism blinded me and I gave it a lazy, stupid read.
posted by Don Pepino at 7:51 AM on November 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Hey I mean, part of the reason it’s so effective is BECAUSE it’s so ridiculous, right? It’s ridiculous, and a lot of the horror comes from their willingness to believe it all anyway.

I’m an atheist but actually have nothing but fond memories of the church I was raised in, and I think I’ve seen a pattern where religious or formerly religious people are reacting to this show in a different way than others. I think it really effectively speaks to the experience, not just of having faith, but also of losing faith and coming to accept that loss while also grieving it on some level.

When I initially watched this I was just like “ooo a lot of that was awesome, some corny stuff but generally solid” — but I kinda can’t stop thinking about it. I might watch it again, hilariously lengthy monologues and all.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:21 AM on November 14, 2021 [3 favorites]

Apologies but this is truly blowing my mind… you didn’t know that vampires drink blood?

I knew that vampires drink blood. But I had never before heard of them having anyone else drink their blood. I never really thought about what happens to the person whose blood gets drunk...I think I thought they either die or they instantly become vampires themselves. The idea that they would drink the vampire's blood (or that this somehow heals them or makes them younger?) is something I'd never heard of.

And hey, you know who else drinks blood? Catholics. (I am Catholic-ish). So yeah, I thought it was an angel until things really started to hit the fan. The cats was a little weird but they never SAID the angel did it and if you didn't know the angel was a vampire, then...I didn't realize that the vampire was the one who had killed the cats. I didn't know WTF was going on. This really relied a lot on knowing how vampires work.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:52 AM on November 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

even after they see this obvious monster.

I dunno....who says angels look like human conventions of beauty? And aren't angels and demons technically the same things, just on different sides? I really feel like we have to cut the believers some slack here. They literally watched people rise from the dead. What more proof could you possibly need?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:55 AM on November 15, 2021 [3 favorites]

This series really lost me along the way. Erin and Riley were just atrocious actors. While Pruitt and Bev were really incredible. Erin's monologue in the last episode was crap community theater. There was some clever stuff in here and the first couple episodes were good but it really lost me.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:26 AM on November 16, 2021

I don't want to read all of the comments yet because I'm only on the 2rd episode so this may have already been mentioned, and apologies for not knowing hardly anyone's name yet, but after noting that a couple of the women just somehow looked "off" as far as their ages went, I looked on IMDb and see that the women playing the old mom of Annabelle Gish (the doc) and the mom of the main male character (Riley? Kiley?) are both young women with lots of make up on to make them look older. They are both beautiful and have years of parts ahead of them. Why not hire actual middle-aged and old women to play the parts of middle-aged and old women? There are so many older women out there and just not enough good parts. Neither one looked believable as older than their age, so maybe go for women who are the actual ages? Knowing that, every time I see them on screen I'm going to do a silent groan. The old woman, especially...it is SO obvious that she isn't really old.

Other than that, I find the quality of this whole series (The Hauntings of x and this one) to be really good. Great acting, great writing. I hope there are more seasons.
posted by the webmistress at 2:51 PM on December 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Why not hire actual middle-aged and old women to play the parts of middle-aged and old women?

There is a reason for this, webmistress, but I think your question still stands after you find out the reason why they went that route.
posted by ishmael at 3:56 PM on December 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Thanks for that, ishmael - I'm halfway through the 4th episode and now see that maybe the old lady seems to be getting younger? Since posting that earlier today and watching more, it seems the priest has de-aged and maybe the women are as well, I'm still not sure what's going on.
posted by the webmistress at 6:26 PM on December 9, 2021

It'll become clear shortly. I appreciate what they were trying to accomplish- I wonder how it would have looked if they had cast older actors in those roles.
posted by ishmael at 11:24 PM on December 9, 2021

Anyone else notice Bev Keane’s resemblance to Amy Coney Barrett?
posted by mmiddle at 11:01 AM on December 19, 2021

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