Netflix’s Hauntings

A Look Inside Mike Flannagan’s Universe

Claire Arneson, Editor

I have recently been spending an ungodly amount of time spiraling down Netflix’s rabbit hole of horrors; you may have come across some interesting watches. Netflix is known for its work with horror, from “Bird Box,” “Fear Street,” and its most recent release “The Pale Blue Eye.” The shows that I routinely return to are “The Haunting of Hill House,” “The Haunting of Bly Maor,” “Midnight Mass,” and “The Midnight Club.” All of these shows were directed by Mike Flannagan. The show’s shocking cinematography and jump scares are all him, but the tales he is telling may sound familiar. “Hill House” is based on the Shirley Jackson novel of the same name, and “Bly Manor” is an adaptation of Henry James’s “The Turn of the Screw.” Although I have a love for all of these shows, some are stronger than others when it comes to their scare factor, so here are my opinions on each of the shows.  


If you are looking for something that will keep you up at night, “The Haunting of Hill House” is the show for you. I have seen this show multiple times, and I still find myself jumping and having some sleepless nights. The show jumps from the past to the future as it follows a family that lives in Hill House where strange happenings occur. With the sudden death of their youngest sister, the family gathers and recounts the night when they were rushed out of Hill House by their father, without their mother. This show is a masterpiece of sadness and horror; be prepared to cry, scream, and question reality.  


When you are in the mood for a little horror-heart-felt moment, I would recommend “The Haunting of Bly Manor.” The show is similar to the book by James, but Flannagan puts his own spin on it to make it more tolerable. The show is about an American school teacher who suddenly moves to England and gets a job nannying for two children in the country. The estranged uncle is out of the picture, and the children are taken care of by the nanny, the housekeeper, the cook, and the gardener. The main thing haunting these individuals is their past, both metaphorically and literally. This show is very good, but at times can be hard to grasp. I had to watch it a couple of times and do some googling before I got the main idea of the show.  


The show I watched most recently, and has left me on edge is “Midnight Mass.” I was skeptical of this show for a long time, as most TV-shows about religion do not pique my interest. We first meet the main character Riley while he is drunk driving and has just killed an innocent woman. After serving his time in jail, he returns to his home on an island to live with his parents. Many people on the island are very religious, and when their beloved priest falls ill and is replaced, it raises a few heads. When the new priest comes to town and starts performing mysterious miracles, questions are asked, and people start dying. This show was amazing. Not only was it scary, but it was also sad and had a fantastical aspect which I enjoyed.  


If you are bored and want something to put on just because, I would recommend “The Midnight Club.” The show is not super horrific and gives off more “Riverdale” and “Pretty Little Liars” vibes than anything else. It follows a group of teens in hospice care that get together every night at midnight to tell horror stories, but of course, it is not that simple. I honestly cannot remember much of the storyline, as I have only seen it once, but this was not my favorite of Mike Flannagan’s shows. All and all, if you are looking for something to keep you from sleeping and doing your homework, I would recommend giving this universe a chance. Especially since it is more entertaining than the latest Marvel Universe releases.  


Claire Arneson is a Dakota Student Section Editor. She can be reached at [email protected]