This article, “Are the Events of Brightcliffe Supernatural or Not” contains spoilers for Season 1 of Netflix’s The Midnight Club.
Mike Flanagan is best known for his Netflix original TV shows, which all seem to include supernatural horror elements. It would therefore not be very difficult to assume that his latest offer, The Midnight Club, also contains supernatural themes and scenarios. The series explores demonic rituals and ghostly apparitions, but the filmmakers do a great job of keeping it all decidedly ambiguous. You can’t be 100% sure if this is the supernatural or if there are reasonable explanations for all the events of the first season. In this article, I will debate whether the events of Brightcliffe are supernatural or not.
The Midnight Club – Are the events of Brightcliffe supernatural or not?
Let’s start by analyzing the ghosts of The Midnight Club. Ilonka and Kevin are stalked by two prominent ghosts, the woman with cataracts and the mirror man. These creepy ghouls haunt both characters at many points in the series. In the final moments of the show, the camera pans past a framed newspaper clipping on the wall, which talks about Brightcliffe opening. The owners, Stanley and Vera Freelan, bear an uncanny resemblance to these two ghosts. Are they the ones who haunt the patients?
Throughout the series, the teenagers blame these visions on their medication. The concoction of drugs, mixed with alcohol and fueled by ghost stories, could very well create the ingredients for these visions. On top of all that, they seem to be sleepwalking or daydreaming when contemplating ghosts for the most part. There are a few occasions when the characters believe they are awake, but the drug could play a part in their observations. I think all of these factors make the situation worse, but the horrors they see seem to be more than just side effects of their medication.
anya and Rachel talked about seeing dark silhouettes and near the end amesh admits to seeing a shadowy presence in the corner of his eye too. These observations are more difficult to explain, but again could be due to the drugs and the tense atmosphere produced by the historic hospice. Anya was taking morphine pills like no one else when she had her terrible depression and Amesh will likely be heavily medicated as well. Again, this argument is roughly equal on both sides.
A chilling event that is quickly debunked is spencerThe recovery room incident. He thought he heard a noise coming from the intercom outside the recovery room. When he went to inspect, the door was locked. He informed Mark, who moments later discovered that the door was fully unlocked. Sandra later admitted to having started this prank in hopes of restoring Spence’s waning faith.
Brightcliffe’s miraculous cures are also very easily downplayed by citing misdiagnosis. Both Julia Jayne and Sandra are apparently cured of their ailments after a long stay in the hospice. Every time, Dr Stanton calls misdiagnosis as the sole reasoning for this remedy. Again, this is a supernatural occurrence that can be debunked, but the reasoning is still a bit flaky. It is likely that one in a thousand could be wrong, but it seems very fortuitous that two occur in the same place.
Another supernatural occurrence is the rituals of the Cult of Pargon. Regina Ballard coordinated a blood sacrifice for her one shot at immortality, killing all of her followers in the process. We have to believe that Julia Jayne then performed a similar ritual to cure her cancer and prolong her own life. Shasta reveals to Ilonka that she is Julia, but then she must perform a second ritual as her powers run out. Shasta infiltrates the hospice to perform this ritual, but Dr. Stanton manages to save Ilonka’s life before she swallows the poison and casts the spell.
If the first ritual worked, then Julia’s life was significantly lengthened, but the second ritual is left incomplete. Again, it’s hard to decipher whether blood sacrifices work or not. If they do, that would explain why Anya failed, because they didn’t kill anyone, they just sacrificed their precious items and some blood. While Regina and Shasta may have killed many people to gain their unholy powers.
In the last episode, Ilonka discovers anyaof the ballerina statue, and Rhett comments on how the leg was finally repaired. For Ilonka, this is a definite sign that Anya is communicating with her from beyond. It would seem odd that someone other than Anya fixed the leg, making it the strongest case for supernatural events to occur in the series so far. Maybe Ilonka could have fixed the leg while sleepwalking, or one of the staff at Brightcliffe could have done it out of kindness, but that seems like a farcical excuse.
In conclusion, almost all of Brightcliffe’s strange occurrences can be debunked with logic and reasoning, but you can argue both ways about each one. The filmmakers deliberately left things vague so you can ultimately decide for yourself. I think this dedication to giving all events an extra touch of realism really elevates the material without ever detracting from the overall horrors on display. They’re just as scary whether you believe them to be real or not.
What are your theories about the supernatural happenings at Brightcliffe? Please comment below.
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