Midnight Mass' Hidden Meaning & Central Theme Explained

Midnight Mass is surely a story about religious fanaticism as it intersects with horror, but beneath this is the underlying theme of forgiveness.

Mike Flanagan’s Netflix series Midnight Mass depicts the intersection of horror and faith gone wrong, with the underlying theme discussing the human need for forgiveness. The 2021 horror TV show documents a religious, small isolated community on Crockett Island, whose town sees miracles and inexplicable changes once a young priest, Father Paul, arrives. As Father Paul cements himself within the community, more sinister reasons for “God’s miracles” are apparent, and they pose an imminent danger for all of Midnight Mass’s characters.

As revealed by the director himself, Midnight Mass has long been a passion project for Mike Flanagan. Written by himself and his brother, Flanagan uses Midnight Mass’s characters as vehicles to explore his own relationship with faith and Riley, particularly, as a stand-in for his struggles with sobriety. In typical Flanagan fashion, many of the characters have deep, heartbreaking monologues about their philosophies on religion, community, death, and family, all poignantly revealed under the director’s signature horror genre. Vampires have long been associated with religious symbols and practices, which provided an excellent channel for Flanagan to explore the nuances of religious fanaticism with dire, horrific consequences.

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