- Genre: horror, thriller, drama
- Episodes: 12
- Release year: 2011
- Age limit: 16
American Horror Story has been on my watch list for a long time. In the series, each season is its own story, which I don’t generally like. I like an ongoing plot. This is why I haven’t watched the series before. Now was the right time, since there was no other “more urgent” series to watch, so let’s see if these American spooky tales are of any good.
A family moves to a new house. A “really” original premise for a horror film. Weird things also start to happen in the house. Really original. However, the end result surprisingly somewhat stands out from the crowd.
In practice, the story explores the history of the house and the huge cast of characters associated with it. The family that moved into the house experiences quite a lot during the series. The relationships within the family are not in the best condition, and the causes of these problems bring several different themes to the series, such as cheating and teenage problems.
I can’t say much about the story without spoiling the plot. So I won’t talk too much about it. However, there were a few nice plot twists, which at least I didn’t guess much before they were revealed. I always appreciate if nowadays the series manages to surprise even in some way since I feel like many series try to do that.
The characters were too quirky for my taste. I think usually weird characters are more than welcome, but the characters’ reaction to most of the things was not understandable in this series. For example, if some random lady walks into your home, anyone would freak out and want her out. In this series, the characters did absolutely nothing in these kinds of situations where normally people would react. Twin Peaks is an example of a series where I think the characters are made weird in a good way. Not in this one.
Another criticism related to the characters is that due to the huge cast of characters, not all characters were given enough time in the story. The characters had memorable personalities, but considering that even though most of the characters got their own episodes, some characters clearly played a smaller role. Sometimes it even felt like the characters were completely forgotten. Of course, in TV series this is more common than, for example, in movies. Many characters returned to visit in the final episodes, which was really nice. I can’t tell you everything because of spoilers, but the series has a reason why the cast of characters is so huge. There was an effort to handle the characters, but there should have been a few less characters for a less functional script.
However, it was nice that revelations about the characters and the plot were revealed bit by bit. Something that had already been dealt with as it was, could later receive some new revelation. I like this kind of element of surprise.
One of the most successful aspects of the series was the soundscape and music choices. A good example of this is the opening of the series, which is really interesting also visually, but its choice of music works particularly well to emphasize the atmosphere. In addition, the soundtrack of the series as a whole was really interesting. I’ll probably listen to it again sometime. And this is rare.
The viewing experience of the first season was quite a mixture of feelings as a whole. The tempo of the series was really slow. This is common in horror, but in some stories the slowness can be a virtue. Here and there, I noticed my thoughts wandering. Not good. The series could have been even a little shorter and more condensed, which could have helped with the tempo problems. In addition, the last episode was quite pointless, at least for my taste. At that point, most of the issues had already been dealt with. Of course, it also brought something new, but these things could have been included in the previous episodes too.
However, the season as a whole had a very good overall atmosphere. The atmosphere was emphasized with the music choices I already mentioned, but also with e.g. camera work. Even though I criticized it, the strangeness of the characters was part of the fascinating atmosphere. As I hinted in the beginning of the review, it was the sum of many things that this story stands out from the crowd. Even though the season was initially a traditional “haunted house” story, it was made into a unique viewing experience in various ways.
The first season of American Horror Story was quite nice. It wasn’t anything ground-breaking, and various things annoyed me quite a lot. Still, it was different from what I expected and even managed to surprise me in places. It can be recommended to fans of horror and interesting stories. But it was by no means perfect.
- Good atmosphere
- Great musical choices
- Some nice plot twists
- Plot was revealed slowly bit by bit
- A really slow tempo
- The last episode was mainly unnecessary
- The characters are way too quirky
- Too many characters, which resulted in some being left in shadows