Today I am going to be ranking all of Mike Flanagan’s horror/thriller shows. He is an American film director, best known for Doctor Sleep, Gerald’s Game, Oculus, Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil and more. Better yet, Mike has a solid television series catalogue on Netflix. His latest, The Fall of the House of Usher, just premiered in the last month. Given that was his last, I wanted to share my thoughts on each one. I did the same for Ryan Murphy, which you can check out here. Without further ado, from best to worst, here is my list!
1.) The Haunting of Hill House
In first place, we have perfection: The Haunting of Hill House. This is hands down my favourite horror series – ever! I have watched it multiple times all the way through. It is loosely based on the novel by Shirley Jackson. I say loosely because some fans of the book were not happy with the adaptation. It follows a family that move into a gothic mansion, where they soon begin to experience paranormal activity. The story travels between two timelines: when the children are first living in the house to adulthood, still dealing with the hauntings that have followed them. Not only is this show extremely scary, but it’s also surprisingly emotional. We witness the family dynamics fall apart when one of them commits suicide. The ending will have you shook as everything comes together and begins to make sense. If you only watch one show on this list, let it be this one!
2.) The Fall of the House of Usher
In second place, we have The Fall of the House of Usher, which as mentioned above, just premiered last month. Loosely based on various works by 19th century author, Edgar Allan Poe, the series adapts otherwise unrelated stories and characters into a single nonlinear narrative, set from 1953 to 2023. It recounts both the rise to power of Roderick Usher, the powerful CEO of a corrupt pharmaceutical company and the events leading to the deaths of all six of his children. I cannot explain how phenomenal this series was. What a way for Mike Flanagan to exit! It featured an ensemble cast, led by Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Henry Thomas, Kate Siegel (Mike’s wife, who is in every show mentioned in this post), Ruth Codd and more. Every single episode is packed with horror, gore, shocking deaths and reveals. The final episode gives everything we have been yearning for since the start. I died and went to heaven!
3.) Midnight Mass
In third place, we have Midnight Mass, which was a very close contender for second. The story follows a young man, who returns to his isolated hometown on Crockett Island, hoping to rebuild his life after serving four years in prison for killing someone in a drunk-driving incident. He arrives at the same time as a mysterious, charismatic young priest, who begins to revitalise the town’s flagging faith. However, the community’s divisions are soon exacerbated by the priest’s deeds, while mysterious events befall the small town. Everything about this show is incredible. It builds and builds to a terrifying climax that you will not see coming. I loved the claustrophobic setting of a small island filled with disturbed villagers. There are so many deep and engaging conversations between the characters. It’s perfectly written.
4.) The Haunting of Bly Manor
In second last place, we have The Haunting of Bly Manor. This story, based on The Turn of the Screw, follows a young governess (Dani) hired by a man to look after his niece and nephew at the family country house after they fall into his care. Arriving at the Bly estate, she begins to see apparitions that proceed to haunt the premises. Furthermore, the children appear to be in communication with said spirits. As we delve deeper into the story, we realise not all is as it seems. There is a much darker force controlling Bly Manor. This show is not a ghost story, it’s a love story. It reinforces the themes of love and possession over and over; demonstrating how sometimes, those two things travel on blurred lines. My main critique of the series was that it was a bit too ambitious. There were a lot of plot lines and interweaving stories to follow. In the finale, things were wrapped up a little too quickly for my liking. It was also unnecessarily confusing. I was hoping various characters would be mentioned but they weren’t featured. I was also underwhelmed by the lack of scares. Sadly, it started strong but waned.
5.) The Midnight Club
In last place, we have The Midnight Club. It follows a group of eight terminally ill young adults, that reside in the Brightcliffe Home hospice outside of Seattle, run by an enigmatic doctor. Together, they meet at midnight to tell each other scary stories and have a morbid pact that the first one to die will be responsible for communicating with the others from beyond the grave. As you can imagine, this show is incredibly sad. It is very difficult to watch, knowing all of the kids are dying and will die as the series progresses. However, that’s not the only reason it’s fifth on my list. I was not a big fan of the stories themselves. Some of them took up an entire episode and weren’t that interesting. I wanted more of the main storyline and less anthology based spooky tales. Ruth Codd was the best part. If you know, you know!
Thank you so much for reading! Let me know how you would rank his shows!
Peace & Love xoxo