Binge Watch: Mike Flanagan

We’re in the spooky season, and as has become custom we’re getting a new horror/thriller series from Mike Flanagan. Tomorrow, you can begin binging the 10-episode series The Midnight Club. As we prepare for that, I’m looking back at five other recent Flanagan projects, a combination of series and films, that will delight those looking for a fright.

Gerald’s Game (2017)
: This film is based on a Stephen King story. It focuses on a married couple that are on a secluded getaway. When the husband (Bruce Greenwood) has a heart attack after handcuffing his wife (Carla Gugino) to the bed, things get real. As she tries to find a way to escape and survive, the wife is haunted by a grim childhood and other terrors. This is an interesting set up that had some chilling moments. You also start to see a familiar group of Flanagan players. It’s not bad but it wasn’t incredible.

The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
This was the first of his now nearly annual series to drop on Netflix. This one flashes between past and present focusing on the Crain family as they deal with their past and the supernatural trauma of their childhood home. It was a new take on a familiar story and it was very gripping and engaging. I loved the cast and the way the story was put together. This helped put Flanagan on the map, and for good reason.

Doctor Sleep (2019)
This is another feature film, and another Stephen King story. This one is a sequel to The Shining, finding a grown Dan Torrance (Ewan McGreggor) still haunted by the supernatural and trying to live his life. He’s drawn into the case of a killer who is hunting a talented young girl (Kyleigh Curran) and drawn back to the hotel from the original. This is a better film than it got credit for at the time. It’s got some good visual flourishes and an engaging story. Flanagan does a nice job laying out the story.

The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)
Back to series form on Netflix. This one was a follow up to Hill House, focusing on another haunted location. It felt a little too much like a re-hash of the original idea. It had its moments but, for me, it’s the weakest entry on this list.

Midnight Mass (2021)
And we end with the best of Flanagan’s projects on this list, the limited series Midnight Mass. It was a meditation on religion, forgiveness, guilt and grief. And it was wrapped in a genre story in the horror realm. It was a brilliant creation, full of incredible performances, poignant emotional moments and some good surprises. This was not only one of my favorite series last year, but it’s also one of my all-time favorite streaming series. Go watch this one if you haven’t seen it!

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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