The more familiar viewers are with The Haunting of Hill House/Bly Manor director Mike Flanagan, the more Midnight Mass misdirects and surprises them.
Netflix horror The Haunting of Hill House’s sly framing and creepy background details helped ensure that Midnight Mass viewers were on the edge of their seats well before the series revealed its big twist. Midnight Mass is writer/director Mike Flanagan’s third foray into small-screen horror, and the miniseries may be his most critically-acclaimed outing yet. Although reviewers noted that Midnight Mass is less intensely scary and fast-paced than The Haunting of Hill House, the miniseries is also arguably a more mature and thoughtful work and is broadly agreed to be a stronger effort than Flanagan’s troubled 2020 effort The Haunting of Bly Manor.
However, Midnight Mass still manages to borrow some creative tricks from the creator’s two earlier shows, and viewers familiar with Flanagan’s work will find themselves scared as much by what’s not onscreen as what is shown. Flanagan’s first two television miniseries mastered the art of hiding ghostly apparitions in plain sight, with many of the show’s background scares only becoming obvious upon a rewatch. However, while Midnight Mass does not employ this technique, its framing and roving camerawork constantly suggests that it will – a trick that hides the real nature of the show’s supernatural elements.