Do tell them Pike


UK/US Netflix, streaming now Showrunner­s Mike Flanagan,

Leah Fong

Cast Iman Benson, Igby Rigney, Ruth Codd, Heather Langenkamp

Mike Flanagan’s latest (co-created with Leah Fong and based on the 1994 YA book by Christophe­r Pike) is a curious hybrid of teen drama, ghost story and horror anthology.

Ilonka (Iman Benson) is a young woman with seemingly everything ahead of her, until a diagnosis of thyroid cancer places her in Brightclif­fe Hospice, a rural retreat for terminal teens. The building has a strange history which includes hauntings and at least one religious cult, but it also appears to have cured at least one former resident thanks to an

A curious hybrid of teen drama, ghost story and horror anthology

apparent “healing vortex”. While investigat­ing all this, Ilonka makes friends with the other sickly teens and each night they gather to tell one another spooky stories.

Despite the heavy premise, The Midnight Club is more often warm and witty than it is bleak or depressing. The young cast are terrific, particular­ly Ruth Codd as the acerbic Anya, and the central mystery is engaging – though it’s often sidelined due to the series’ unusual format. Because while this is primarily an ongoing drama, each episode also has to squeeze in one of the stories told by the Midnight Club. These metanarrat­ives adapt various other Pike stories and reflect different aspects of the characters. It’s a neat conceit, but one that has the habit of dragging the show to a halt just as things are getting interestin­g. That’s especially apparent in the finale, which offers plenty of tearful catharsis and answers none of your questions about the bigger picture.

This is a show about storytelli­ng and the way it can bring comfort and forge bonds in difficult times. That’s a beautiful message, but it never quite grips like the best of Flanagan’s previous work.

Will Salmon

The Midnight Club has set a new Guinness world record for the most scripted jump scares in a single TV episode (21).

 ?? ?? “So there are two nuns in a bath, see…”
“So there are two nuns in a bath, see…”

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