A list of all of Mike Flanagan’s Netflix horror series over the last five years, ranked from worst to best and including The Fall of the House of Usher.
Very few auteurs have had the success that Mike Flanagan has in the last five years. After The Haunting of Hill House’s popularity, Netflix signed a multiyear deal with the director, allowing him to create four more series, each telling a bold new story. Having seen every project he has directed, it is safe to say that he is one of the best horror directors of all time. While some of his films, such as Hush and Doctor Sleep, have been critical successes, his TV shows have been some of the only pieces of media that produce genuine scares. Here is our list of all Mike Flanagan’s Netflix horror series ranked from worst to best!
5. The Midnight Club
Even though this is ranked last on this list, The Midnight Club is still pretty good. This miniseries follows a group of terminally ill teenagers who live in a hospice together. Every night, they come together and take turns telling ghost stories, but to be a part of this club, you must promise that if you die, you must give the club a sign from the beyond.
Flanagan can provide audiences with his most visually interesting work to date with The Midnight Club, but it lacks a narrative focus. There are numerous vignettes that this show takes when they are telling their ghost stories, which allows all the actors to give varied performances, but in doing so, slows down the pacing a lot. Also, there are an insane amount of jump scares, to the point where they lose their effect after the first few episodes. Even with pacing issues, the diverse cast of lovable characters makes up for it, still making The Midnight Club worth the watch.
4. Midnight Mass
While Midnight Mass is the shortest miniseries of the bunch, it still feels like the slowest. It takes place on a remote island community with strong religious beliefs. When the head priest has seemingly gone ill, a young charismatic replacement (Hamish Linklater, of The Big Short) starts to divide the residents. This new priest’s arrival coupled with a few unexplained miracles creates an uneasy atmosphere where both this religious community and the audience watching have no idea what to believe.
One of the best parts of this show is how Flanagan does not tell the audience what to believe. We are all subject to unreliable narration and given that the majority of the characters are extremely religious to the point of delusion, it is fun to try to get to the root of all the mysteries. However, besides the chemistry between Erin (Kate Siegel, of Hush) and Riley (Zach Gilford, of The Purge: Anarchy), there is not much to root for. However, out of all the series here, from watching the first episode, my wildest dreams could have never guessed where this story concludes.
3. The Haunting of Bly Manor
The Haunting of Bly Manor was arguably the most anticipated series out of these options. After the immense success of The Haunting of Hill House, audiences were anxious to see if Flanagan could replicate what made that show so special. Even though Bly Manor doesn’t reach the heights of its predecessor, it ends up being the most emotionally powerful entry to date.
Described as a ghostly romance, this show follows an American nanny (Victoria Pedretti, of You) who arrives at Bly Manor to replace an au pair who has recently passed away. As we get to familiarize ourselves with the many house guests who reside in the manor, we also soon find out that the living is not the only presence on this property. While this is not nearly the scariest entry in Flanagan’s filmography, the gothic and ghostly atmosphere is felt throughout the series, and the story is strong enough to keep viewers interested even if there are no jump scares.
2. The Fall of the House of Usher
Flanagan’s latest series ends up being one of his best, because he goes back to basics, telling familial epics. The Fall of the House of Usher follows the demise of an extremely rich family. When members of the Usher dynasty start rapidly dying, the patriarch and CEO of Fortunato Pharmaceuticals must investigate the past to see why. While all these shows have a darker tone, this series is the most fun out of the bunch.
There is a mini-mystery in each episode because we don’t know who is dying and how. Mike Flanagan also creates his most ambitious work with this show, and this ambition can be felt in every minute, especially through the character work. If there is one reason to watch this show, it is for Carla Gugino (Gerald’s Game), Flanagan’s frequent collaborator. She is the definition of a scene stealer, and her performance is sure to spark a lot of conversation once more people see the show.
1. The Haunting of Hill House
The miniseries that started it all ended up on top! While The Haunting of Hill House is at the top of this ranking, if I were to also rank every Netflix original series, there is a decent chance that this show would at least be in the top three. Mike Flanagan manages to take everything you could want out of a horror series and displays it beautifully over ten hours of unforgettable television.
The Haunting of Hill House follows five siblings who grew up in one of America’s most famous haunted houses. After the suicide of the youngest daughter, the family is drawn back to this scary place and begins to fully understand what they experienced during their childhood. Flanagan crafts a story that is incredibly emotional, and he utilizes that emotion to create the horror. There are a few episodes during the middle of this show which had me convinced that this is the best miniseries ever created, and while it may not be number one, it is absolutely one of the best of this century. If you were to only watch one of these five shows, this is the best use of your time.
All of Mike Flanagan’s horror series are now available to watch on Netflix.