This article, “are the events at Brightcliffe supernatural or not” contains spoilers regarding Netflix’s The Midnight Club season 1.
Mike Flanagan is best known for his Netflix original TV shows, which all seem to include supernatural horror elements. So it would not be much of a reach to assume that his latest offering, The Midnight Club, also contains supernatural themes and storylines. The series does explore demonic rituals and ghostly apparitions, but the filmmakers do a great job of keeping all of this decidedly ambiguous. You cannot be 100% sure if it is of the supernatural or if there are reasonable explanations for all of the events throughout the first season. In this article, I will be debating whether the events at Brightcliffe are supernatural or not.
The Midnight Club – are the events at Brightcliffe supernatural or not?
Let’s start by analyzing the ghosts of The Midnight Club. Ilonka and Kevin are stalked by two significant ghosts, the woman with cataracts and the mirror man. These frightening ghouls haunt both characters at numerous points in the series. In the closing moments of the show, the camera whips by a framed newspaper cutting on the wall, which talks about the opening of Brightcliffe. The owners, Stanley and Vera Freelan, look eerily similar to these two ghosts. Are they the ones haunting the patients?
Throughout the series, the teens blame these visions on their meds. The concoction of medicine, mixed with alcohol and fuelled by ghost stories, could very much create the ingredients for these visions. On top of all this, they do seem to be sleepwalking or dreaming when they envision the ghosts for the most part. There are a few occasions where the characters believe they are awake, but the medication could play a hand in their sightings. I think all those factors heighten the situation, yet the horrors they see seem to be more than just side effects of their medicine.
Anya and Rachel talked of seeing shadowy figures and near the end Amesh confesses to seeing a shadowy presence in the corner of his eye too. These sightings are harder to explain, but again could be down to the medication and the tense atmosphere produced by the historic hospice. Anya was popping morphine pills like nobody’s business when she had her horrifying breakdown and Amesh will likely be highly medicated as well. Again, this argument is pretty evenly matched on both sides.
One spooky going on that is quickly debunked is Spencer’s incident at the recovery room. 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 found the door only moments later to be very much unlocked. Sandra later admitted to instigating this prank in the hopes of restoring Spence’s waning faith.
The miraculous cures at Brightcliffe are also very easily downplayed with the citing of misdiagnosis. Both Julia Jayne and Sandra are seemingly cured of their ailments after a lengthy stay at the hospice. Each time, Dr. Stanton calls out a misdiagnosis as the sole reasoning for this cure. Again, this is a supernatural event that can be debunked, but the reasoning is always a little on the flaky side. It’s probable that one in a thousand could be wrong, but it feels very coincidental that two would occur in one place.
Another supernatural event is the Pargon’s cult rituals. Regina Ballard coordinated a blood sacrifice for her one shot at immortality, killing off all her disciples in the process. We are to believe that Julia Jayne then performed a similar ritual to cure her cancer and elongate her own life. Shasta reveals to Ilonka that she is Julia, but then she needs to complete a second ritual as her powers are draining. Shasta infiltrates the hospice to perform this ritual, but Dr. Stanton manages to save Ilonka’s life before she downs the poison and initiates the spell.
If the first ritual worked, then Julia’s life was lengthened considerably, yet the second ritual is left incomplete. So again, it is hard to decipher whether or not the blood sacrifices work or not. If they do, then it would explain why Anya’s failed, as they didn’t kill anyone off, they just sacrificed their precious items and a little bit of blood. While Regina and Shasta may have actually killed numerous people to gain their ungodly powers.
In the final episode, Ilonka finds Anya’s ballerina statue, and Rhett comments on how the leg has finally been fixed. To Ilonka, this is a definitive sign that Anya is communicating with her from the afterlife. It would seem odd if someone other than Anya had fixed the leg, which makes this the strongest case for supernatural events occurring in the series so far. Maybe Ilonka could have fixed the leg while sleepwalking, or one of the Brightcliffe staff members could have done it as an act of kindness, but these seem like farfetched excuses.
In conclusion, nearly all of the strange events at Brightcliffe can be debunked with logic and reasoning, yet you could argue both ways on all of them. The filmmakers have purposefully left things vague so that, ultimately you can decide for yourself. I think that this dedication to giving all the events an added touch of realism really elevates the material whilst never detracting from the overall horrors on display. They are just as scary whether you believe they are real or not.
What are your theories on the supernatural events at Brightcliffe? Please comment below.