The primary time Mike Flanagan tried to adapt Christopher Pike’s younger grownup novel The Midnight Membership, Pike’s publisher sent Flanagan a cease and desist letter. Now, after carving out a profession of “status horror” choices — from the critically acclaimed Haunting anthology to Midnight Mass — the director has lastly earned a shot at taking over Pike’s materials.

The Midnight Membership, a 10-episode first season streaming on Netflix, seems and appears like a chapter from the Flanaverse. But it has all of the hallmarks of a younger grownup fantasy. It is populated by ghosts, witches, zombies, cyborgs, aliens and extra. Its elevator pitch: The Fault in Our Stars meets Are You Afraid of the Darkish?

However The Midnight Membership is much extra disturbing than it sounds. A serial killer, a cult and reflections on mortality elevate The Midnight Membership to a extra refined realm. At its core, The Midnight Membership is a transferring portrait of these processing their impending dying, when their lives have barely begun.

Adia as Cheri Ian, Igby Rigney as Kevin, Annarah Cymone as Sandra, Iman Benson as Ilonka, Aya Furukawa as Natsuki, Ruth Codd as Anya, Sauriyan Sapkota as Amesh, Chris Sumpter as Spencer all sitting around a table, in a library, next to a fireplace

The members of The Midnight Membership of their regular assembly spot.

Eike Schroter/Netflix

The Midnight Membership itself is the title of a gathering between terminally in poor health teenage sufferers at Brightcliffe Hospice. These sufferers — Sandra (Annarah Cymone), Anya (Ruth Codd), Spence (Chris Sumpter), Natsuki (Aya Furukawa), Kevin (Igby Rigney), Cheri (Adia) and Amesh (Sauriyan Sapkota) — creep into the library at evening to inform one another ghost tales. Drawn from different Pike novels and performed out as mini-movies, these fantastical tales mirror actuality greater than you’d assume. They permit the sufferers, dealing with their mortality, to depart one thing behind once they’re gone.

The newcomer to those longstanding halls is Ilonka (Iman Benson). A once-prospective Stanford scholar, Ilonka’s future fades with the ringing in her ears when she receives a surprising physician’s prognosis. Together with her fiercely vibrant and curious thoughts, Ilonka is the proper investigator into the unusual happenings at Brightcliffe. Apart from a “possessed” elevator and a ghost creepily named Cataract Girl, a thriller a few potential treatment propels the principle story ahead.

Samantha Sloyan as Shasta, holding a walking stick and smiling in a forest

Samantha Sloyan is magnetic as Shasta.

Eike Schroter/Netflix

Like ’80s-set The Haunting of Bly Manor, The Midnight Membership is a interval piece. Set within the ’90s, it drops era-specific various/indie songs over the credit. An eerie glare shines over characters dialing up the web on their chunk computer systems. In stark distinction, Brightcliffe breathes the 1900s. The design of this haunted home is meticulous. Round occultist symbols are seemingly echoed within the stained glass home windows and arch hallways — or is that only a charming coincidence?

Much like Midnight Mass, The Midnight Membership dangles a veracity to its unimaginable components, in order that its fundamental characters would possibly simply assume a magical treatment is actual. With characters so near the brink of dying, any escape, irrespective of how fantastical, is price exploring.

In delicate discussions, different figures — equivalent to mysterious Dr. Georgina Stanton, performed by scream queen royalty Heather Langenkamp from A Nightmare on Elm Avenue — advocate accepting dying and appreciating life. Others search to lengthen life by way of less-established means, equivalent to hippy-type Shasta, performed by an always-magnetic Samantha Sloyan. Together with Rahul Kohli and Zach Gilford, Sloyan is considered one of a number of from Flanagan’s common performing troupe to assist inform his newest story.

Igby Rigney as Kevin standing in an elevator behind Iman Benson as Ilonka, who's holding a lit match and crouching down over strange markings on a basement floor

Put together for occultist symbols in The Midnight Membership.

Eike Schroter/Netflix

Inevitably a number of the ghost tales are extra thrilling, transferring and distressing than others, however all of them match surprisingly easily into the framework of episodic mini-movies. It is the climax of the 10 episodes, the identical size as The Haunting of Hill Home, that does not essentially repay in a manner that wallops you within the chest — a facet impact of establishing the collection for extra to return.

Nonetheless, as an entire, season 1 is immense. It may not be the identical private tour de drive exposé on religion as Midnight Mass, however The Midnight Membership echoes a compelling meditation on perception and its skill to heal. Co-created with Bly Manor producer and author Leah Fong, The Midnight Membership is a cautious, swish illustration of youngsters reconciling with terminal ailments and dying. It offers with different severe areas — self-harm, intercourse, alcohol and medicines — however tragedy is not the defining issue. The Brightcliffe youngsters all have a humorousness. With compassion connecting them, love is the prevailing drive irrespective of how darkish the corridors develop into.

Ailing heroes face their impending doom in Mike Flanagan’s tackle younger grownup horror. The Midnight Membership is a novel, absorbing dissection of the ability of perception — reaching far past the realm of standard teenage fare.

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