Over the last several years, Mike Flanagan has made a name for himself as a director of horror, and at the same time, become one of my personal favourite filmmakers. This past week saw the release of his latest project, the Netflix series Midnight Mass. To celebrate this, here are three great films and two series he directed.
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Two twenty-somethings trying to unravel the mystery of a cursed mirror that drove their father mad when they were kids. Told in the present and in flashback as the mirror torments their family, Oculus has a great Karen Gillan performance and a ton of great scares.
An excellent single location horror thriller with Kate Siegel playing a deaf-mute woman being terrorized by a killer. To say much more would give away too much but there’s a definite inventiveness here that I loved.
The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
One of the best series of 2018, The Haunting of Hill House is my second favourite thing. The story of a family that lived in a haunted house and the long term effects of that period of their childhood on their lives as a family and as individuals, Hill House is a perfectly executed horror mystery show. Told across multiple timelines that all resolve well, and featuring the single best-created jump scare I can remember (plot and character relevant!) and an episode told in just 5 long takes, this is one of the best things Netflix has ever done.
Doctor Sleep (2019)
If you asked me before I saw this movie if I thought it would be possible to thread the needle of being a sequel to both the classic film The Shining and the book that it’s based on (which, for those not in the know, have very different endings) I would have said no. Good thing Mike Flanagan did this then because Doctor Sleep threads that needle nearly perfectly.
Following the story of a grown-up Danny Torrence, his connection to the shining, and the unresolved business with The Overlook Hotel, Doctor Sleep was one of my favourite films of 2019.
Midnight Mass (2021)
And here, just in case you haven’t been within earshot of me in the last month or so, is Midnight Mass.