What I'm Watching: Midnight Mass

I will, of course, always watch vampire shows. If they're even remotely competent, all the better, but the bad ones, too. This is, alas, one of the worst.

A techbro "Riley" (the villain vampire/lizard thing from Metroid… or Zach Gilford, much the same thing) has been released from prison for terrible crimes which are poorly explained until much later (drunk driving/hit & run, he was rich & white so there's zero chance he would've actually been imprisoned for that, just rehab). So he comes back to his shitty New England fishing island home.

Erin (Kate Siegel, last seen in Haunting of Hill House; frumpy old maid look here; thigh boots and skirts are kinda hot, tho) is the ex-girlfriend, pregnant by someone not on the scene.

The locals are various forms of losers, parasites, small-town busybodies. The so-called Sheriff (not Omar) is Muslim, with a son who's not all that keen on it. The one endearing trait about Riley is he's an atheist, on a very very Catholic island. Which is super weird in far north New England; you might expect a smaller church for them, but there's no Protestants on the island? But Riley has to do his AA program with the local Monsignor, "Paul", who has recently replaced the old Father Pruitt. Nothing is subtle about any of this; there's long stretches of preachy misquotes from the Bible (if you look up any of the quotes, they're all taken out of context, it's remarkably full of shit), and Paul trying to minister to an atheist whose eyes can barely stop rolling out of his head, as do mine at this fairy-tale nonsense.

So nothing really happens for the first 3 eps. A couple fake revival-tent-quality miracles. Everyone talks, way too much, forever, about nothing of importance. Feelings. Finally Paul has his, uh, come to Jesus moment, and the actual plot starts. Nobody ever says the V-word, but, uh, you might've guessed what Paul has in his box is a VAMPIRE. And he's not Paul.


So, in this mythology, drinking even a little of the vampire's blood, say in a communion chalice mixed with wine, makes you half-vampire and cures all ills & reverses aging, tho nobody really notices except the two fake miracles. But then if a half-vampire dies, they become a real vampire. Or if the VAMPIRE in the box kills you, you turn right away.

Ep 5 is unique, at the end there's screaming. And she keeps screaming and crying all thru the credits. Which 'flix will try to get you to skip. So the easter egg (not that kind of Easter) is lost on most of the audience.

I get that in most vampire shows, you can't have anyone know anything about vampires. But they are so relentlessly stupid at not seeing evil and the Renfields enabling the bloodsucking parasites. The doctor has figured out there's something wrong with the blood, and blames it on super porphyria, which is funny in Transylvania 6-5000 but less so in a serious vampire series. They know they need to flee, but any minor obstacle they go "Oh, well, we'll just see what happens".

I keep comparing it to 30 Days of Night (both GN and movie, which this greatly, repeatedly rips off), and nobody believes in any of it there either, but they learn fast. Alaskans are not generally considered brighter than New England islanders, but I wouldn't expect anyone here breaks room temperature IQ. Might be inbreeding.

Everyone chooses really stupid times to make a final stand, when they could wait a few minutes and NOT die. They could take vital vampire-fighting gear with them, or just leave it behind for the vamps to use. If the camera can't see something, because it's looking at a character, that character can't see something in their line of sight until the camera whips around to the other side. I am not kidding, they do this "perspective trick" at least 2 or 3 times, someone gets shot or otherwise surprised by something THEY COULD ABSOLUTELY SEE.

I hate almost literally everyone by the end. Couple eps without Riley snarking at everything is just DULL, never kill your protagonist off before the girlfriend or the villainess! The stupid boy & girl (not Adam & Eve, thank fuck) I guess deserve to live because they did the least stupid thing of anyone in the show. I'm impressed that the villainess reinvents Protestantism from first principles right at the end, including the same racism and bigotry as Martin Luther; I guess she can't be misogynist yet, but if she had time she would be.

So, if you're a goddamned shitsucking vampire, and all shelter's been burned, and the Sun's coming up in like 15 minutes, do you:
A) Stand around singing hymns until the Sun burns you up,
or B) Dig holes, flip over boats, find two boards to make a coffin-sized shelter?

99 vamps choose A, 1 tries to dig in the sand without tools and gets nowhere.

The ACTUAL VAMPIRE is a pretty good design. It's Nosferatu ripoff, with some overly complex wing jointing that I don't think makes any sense, the actor does nothing but stand around or leap on things, but OK. Could've been used to make a good vampire movie.

★★☆☆☆ — 7 eps, could've been done in 2, or a 90-minute movie, and told a better story. The writer should be crucified and left to burn up in the sun.