Hamish Linklater as Father Paul in Midnight Mass. Picture: Netflix
Hamish Linklater as Father Paul in Midnight Mass. Picture: Netflix

Get into the Halloween spirit with these spine-chilling offerings

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published Oct 27, 2021

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Horror is one of my favourite genres.

But more of the supernatural and psychological ilk compared to the popular blood-and-gore fare synonymous with the Saw franchise.

After watching “The Haunting at Bly Manor”, which I wasn’t impressed by despite all that hype around it, I haven’t been able to sink my teeth into something that engaged me as much as the “American Horror Story” franchise.

When “Midnight Mass” dropped on Netflix, I couldn’t resist streaming it.

The seven-part series, segmented into biblical chapters, opens on a mysterious note.

Much of the story takes place in Crockett Island, which has a modest population of 127 residents.

Their lifeline is a twice-daily ferry to and from the US mainland.

In the first episode, the inhabitants of the secluded fishing village are introduced. Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford) grudgingly returns home after a four-year stint in prison for killing a woman while driving drunk.

There is palpable tension in the Flynn household. His mother, Annie (Kristin Lehman), tries to maintain the peace between him and his fisherman father, Ed (Henry Thomas).

But their financial struggles, as well as Ed’s back problems, compound the stress at home.

There is a silver lining for Flynn though: Erin Greene (Kate Siegel), his childhood sweetheart, is back in town and is the resident schoolteacher.

She walked out of her abusive marriage after discovering she was pregnant. This was her fresh start.

Viewers also meet Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli), a devout Muslim who encounters some opposition in this Christian stronghold town. His son Ali (Rahul Abburi) adapts much better than he does.

The other residents include Dr Sarah Gunning (Annabeth Gish), who is also Erin’s BFF. When she isn’t tending to the townsfolk, she’s taking care of her geriatric mother, Mildred (Alex Essoe), who suffers from dementia.

Then there is mayor Wade Scarborough (Michael Trucco) and his wife, Dolly, who have spent much of their finances on their daughter, Leeza (Annarah Cymone), who uses a wheelchair.

Bev Keane (Samantha Sloyan) is an influential figure in the community and a zealous member of St Patrick’s Church. She has Sturge (Matt Biedel), the handyman, at her beck and call.

Despite the struggles of the townsfolk, they maintain hope and their faith.

Their faith is heightened by the arrival of Father Paul Hill (Hamish Linklater), who is a temporary replacement for Monsignor Pruitt who is recovering from a health setback.

It isn’t long before small miracles start happening.

Leeza starts walking again. Mildred has a Benjamin Button-esque moment. Her youthful appearance is astounding.

Even Ed’s back issues disappear.

However, amid all the prophesizing, certain individuals sense something is amiss.

But Bev is able to strongarm most disbelievers into embracing the miracles.

Sadly, Father Paul’s plans on revealing his secret as well as the Angel at Easter mass results in an unholy mess.

“Midnight Mass” devolves into the type of horror I despise.

But it offers a compelling, albeit disturbing, look at religious fanaticism as it meanders into vampire territory.


Marti Matulis, Katja Herbers and Mike Colter in a scene from ’Evil’. Picture: Supplied

Ever wondered what Robert King and Michelle King, who gave us “The Good Wife” and “The Good Fight”, have been busy with?

Believe it or not, they have gravitated to the supernatural drama space, with Evil.

The series revolves around Dr Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers), a forensic psychologist, who believes science can explain unusual behaviours associated with the supernatural.

Her beliefs are challenged when she starts working with David Acosta (Mike Colter), a Catholic priest who is tasked with investigating unusual miracles and reports of demons. He is aided by George (Marti Matulis) as a technical expert.

George acts as the voice of reason between Kristen and David.

The second season is on air.

Once again, their old nemesis, Dr Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson), is back to rile the team.

Aside from falsely claiming to be possessed, he breaks off his engagement to Kristen’s mother, who, after getting her heart stomped on, starts dabbling with the dark arts.

Each case has its own challenges as the line between science and superstition blurs.

This is a must-watch if you are a horror fan.

The show airs on M-Net (DStv channel 101) on Wednesdays at 9.30pm.


The horror feature on Netflix centres on Ambar (Cristina Rodlo), an undocumented Mexican immigrant.

She relocates to the US to take care of her mother and is desperate to get her hands on forged papers in order to get a better job.

But she is stiffed by her co-worker who promises to help.

And this leads to her seeking cheap accommodation in a female-only boarding house run by Red (Marc Menchaca), who asks her to pay a months rent upfront.

After a few unsettling incidents, Ambar decides to get out. But Red’s brother, Becker (David Figlioli), will not hear of it as he has other plans for her. And it includes a sacrifice.

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