Twisted, terrifying and strangely addictive – my initial thoughts after watching the first season of American Horror Story (Murder House). After multiple recommendations, both in person and through social media ‘raving’ about how ‘amaze’ AHS is, I decided to take the plunge and watch the first season.
Now, I had my doubts, as a huge fan of the horror genre in film I was skeptical about a horror oriented TV series – would it work as well, if at all?
The answer is undoubtedly yes – it certainly ticks every horror cliché, ghosts, death, mystery, heroes, villains… but it does so tastefully which is what makes ‘Murder House’ work so brilliantly; the characters and story lines alike have real depth and are developed as each episode progresses.
So…what is AHS all about? Well, as you’ve probably guessed from the sub title, the first season is about exactly that – a murder house. The Harmons, a family of three, Ben, Vivian and their teenage daughter Violet move from Boston to Los Angeles to escape their troubles (his adultery and her miscarriage) and to start a-fresh on their shaky marriage. The house they buy is the infamous ‘Murder House’ where the previous occupants met their gory end. Undeterred they buy it anyway and unsurprisingly creepy happenings begin to occur.
Yet ‘Murder House’ is so much more than your stereotypical ‘haunted house’; each episode begins with the story of one of the former occupants and by the end of the episode a little bit more of the mystery has been solved – not everything is always as it seems…
With twists and turns around every corner and scenes that are guaranteed to make you jump out of your skin – AHS truly encompassed the horror genre and transforms it into a gripping series. It’s certainly not for everyone though – it’s often gory and in some places overly disturbing – it certainly deserves its rating of an 18. But if you are a lover of the horror genre and are looking for something a bit ‘out there’ then AHS will not disappoint!
As an ‘anthology series’ each series has a different story line – series two, despite using the same actors, does not follow on from series one – I find this to be another ‘quirk’ that makes AHS what it intends to be – unique and original. I will definitely be purchasing the next two series ‘Asylum’ and ‘Coven’.
My only criticism would be its slow start – I found the pilot to be too over the top – but nevertheless I persevered and I’m glad I did, it just got better and better with each episode. Once you get to know the characters you won’t be able to tear your eyes away – with just 12 episodes it is easy to finish the series in a matter of days – yes it’s that addictive.
AHS is unpredictable, in some places it will leave you wondering ‘how you missed that’ and in others it will leave you gawking at the screen in utter shock – so if you’re a fan of frights and thrills ‘Murder House’ will be right ‘up your street’.
I couldn’t finish this review without mentioning the actors themselves – all are fantastic (especially Jessica Lange, Taissa Farmiga and Evan Peters) as they make American Horror Story what it is – unmissable!