Halloween Horror: American Horror Stories – Season 2

Hello, my darling readers!
We need to talk about American Horror Stories’ second season that I just finished watching. Let’s get right down to it, shall we?

The Plot (as found on Rotten Tomatoes):

“American Horror Stories” is a spin-off of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s award-winning anthology series “American Horror Story.” The weekly anthology series features a different horror story in each episode. Since 2011, the creators of the series have redefined the horror genre with various installments featuring a creepy asylum, a coven of witches, a traveling freak show, a haunted hotel and the apocalypse itself. The television series sprouted a legion of dedicated fans who anticipate what terrors the next chapter will hold.

The Rating:

Strap yourselves in, we have an entire new season of American Horror Stories to talk about! The last season was *very* underwhelming and I was pretty unhappy with pretty much every episode. I do, however, really like the idea behind this, the concept has the potential to be good. So, I figured maybe now they’ve got it figured out and season two will be better. I’ll briefly talk about each episode since they all are essentially standalone stories!

Dollhouse

This was interesting enough. I like the idea of the story and especially the twist at the end that ties it into the grander scheme of all things American Horror Story. But as much as I wanted to love this, something threw me off. Overall this episode felt a lot more mediocre than it deserved. I’m not sure if it was some of the acting or the dialogue, or simply how the story unfolded. All I can say this didn’t live up to its full potential.

Aura

Another episode that could have been good, another fail for me. My biggest problem was that for large parts the writing felt so extremely lazy. Characters kept repeating the same empty phrases over and over again that already sounded like a cliché the first time around. This put me off so much, it killed everything about this episode that could have intrigued me. So much of the story was very far-fetched, which – again – probably could have been salvaged had it been written better. As I said, the idea wasn’t bad, they just didn’t deliver on it. Also, it is astonishing how many things that make no sense, and how many plot holes you can stuff into a single episode…

Drive

This episode bored me to no end. I think the main issue I had was that the main character was so extremely unrelatable. I think for this episode to work, this is integral – you are supposed to care about her, because of her backstory, feel for her. But she was really annoying, unlikeable and I just couldn’t be bothered to give a fuck. I think it once more comes down to lazy writing again. Even though the story was predictable, if the character to had been more fleshed out, simply better written, this could have worked.

Milkmaids

What the ever-loving fuck was this? I don’t have issues with this but I feel the need to point out that you should under no circumstances watch this episode while you are eating (or planning to eat at all that day). This episode actually started off fairly strong, I was on board for a while (despite this being one of the grossest episodes in a long while). But once more, the writing turned so cringy, it became difficult to watch without rolling my eyes. Honestly, I’m getting a little sad with this season because there is so much potential for it to be good. The ideas are there, and the actors are talented. It’s just the writing that is letting the whole project down again and again. (Why does this all of a sudden sound like one of my reviews for Riverdale?)

Bloody Mary

Could it be? An episode I actually like? Miracles do happen! Sure, it isn’t the best short horror story in the world, but honestly, it wasn’t bad. To be fair, for American Horror Stories standards, this was good. The episode has its flaws but overall, the writing was decent enough and the plot holes weren’t so big that they were about to swallow the entire episode. Bloody Mary so far is definitely my favorite episode.

Facelift

This could have been so good, but unfortunately, the story made no fucking sense at all. I seriously can’t tell if the barely existing script was stretched too thin and this should have been shorter, or if it needed more space to flesh it out and thus should have been longer. In any case, the way it was, it didn’t work.

Necro

My notes for this episode just read “what the actual fuck”. There are a lot of things in this episode that don’t quite make sense but let’s overlook that for a second. They actually managed to surprise me by taking this episode in a direction I seriously had not expected. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this episode. I think I want this episode to be a bit longer so the main character can have more depth, and more development. (And to iron out some of the obvious flaws in the logic.) I can see this working.

Lake

This episode wasn’t too bad. In this instance, I was a bit sad that the acting performances were a bit wooden a lot of the time. I don’t know what possessed Alicia Silverstone to be in this, but I’m used to better acting from her. Despite the performances not always being top-notch, I enjoyed the episode for the most part. But then as we got closer to the end, the pacing got super weird. Let me explain. Things started building up towards something, but in a way that made me think there is more to come. From the way things were coming together in the last 10 minutes I thought for a moment that this might be a two-part episode. Since it’s the season finale, this would have made sense, right? And it’s not the first time American Horror Stories does a two-part episode. Alas, I was wrong. All this buildup just to wrap up everything within a few seconds was a letdown and felt rather anticlimactic. How this ended didn’t match the pacing of the entire episode and it left a sour taste in my mouth. Almost like they ran out of time in a way? I fully believe that had this been movie length, this would have been a lot better. Sure, I wouldn’t have been the best or most inventive horror movie out there, but it would have been decent.

I know that I keep sounding like a broken record, but this show has so much potential. The ideas are there, it’s just the execution that doesn’t work. I feel like something I have observed with many recent American Horror Story seasons is happening here as well. For many of those seasons, we started out very strong, but about halfway or maybe two-thirds through it the story started deteriorating. It essentially feels like someone had an idea that sounded cool, so they started filming but then they realized they never thought about how to end this, about how to finish the story. Obviously, I’m not privy to what is actually happening on set, but this is what it seems like to me. It’s the same for American Horror Stories. But because the stories are so condensed and we only get a single episode for each idea, it feels a lot worse, simply because the part that is actually good is much shorter.  

Did you watch this horror show? Let me know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Halloween Horror: American Horror Stories – Season 2

  1. Pingback: Wrapping it up for October! | The Punk Theory

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