Midnight Mass Explained

Everything you need to know after watching Mike Flanagan's Midnight Mass.

Midnight Mass

Following the critical success of The Haunting Of Hill House and Bly Manor, Mike Flanagan is back with another acclaimed Netflix series, Midnight Mass. It's a project that's been dear to the Doctor Sleep and Oculus filmmaker for the best part of a decade, appearing as an Easter Egg in both Hush and Gerald's Game.

Set on the remote Crockett Island where the community has been in decline for some years, strange and supernatural events take shape when Riley's (Zach Gilford) return home coincides with the arrival of a charismatic young priest (Hamish Linklater).

There's plenty of creepy happenings in the days that follow; but, like the filmmaker's other works, the genius of Midnight Mass lies in how Flanagan uses the horror as a tool to explore broader themes. In this case, the show digs into subjects surrounding religion, life and death, and fanaticism.

There's a lot to unpack in this series, with some of the dialogues between the characters offering challenging and even harrowing discussions for viewers to absorb.

Let's take a moment to break down and analyse some of the key points and questions viewers may be left wondering about when the credits roll.

Beware of full spoilers from the start.

10. The Cats

Midnight Mass

One of the first mysteries viewers are introduced to is the appearance of hundreds of dead cats washed up on the beach after a storm. With their necks broken but without a drop of blood to be found anywhere, the discovery is a strange one.

Though the answer is never explicitly revealed, there's enough clues in place for viewers to solve this island-wide conundrum for themselves.

In the first episode, we learn that the Uppards are teeming with stray cats and that everything from that area gets washed down to that beach after storms. Likewise, we hear a lot of angry cats which Warren, Ooker, and Ali assume are either fighting or engaged in another physical act. However, neither are the case here.

Later, we see that the cats are being preyed upon by an unseen creature. This being the same winged creature which takes refuge in an abandoned building soon after.

Put all these pieces together and the cat killer is revealed to be the island's resident vampire. It spends its first night on the island feeding upon all the cats (that's why there's no blood), and the bodies are subsequently washed up during the storm.


Glasgow-based cinephile who earned a Masters degree in film studies to spend their time writing about cinema, video games, and horror.