I made the mistake of watching FX's new American Horror Story by myself at one in the morning. While it probably wouldn't have been as scary watching it when it aired, the unique style of editing and strange story line will leave the viewer with an uncomfortable feeling either way. Even beginning with the warning that you're going to die. Ryan Murphey leaves Glee way behind and introduces the Harmon family who move to California looking for a fresh start and find themselves in a house haunted by the ghosts of it's past. While some are turned off by it's copious amounts of blood and sex, many of the scenes are of a freaky, psychological nature as it boasts unettling imagery. Christopher Baffa's cinematography evokes a classic horror movie feel, combining tension created by handheld shaking with flawless crane shots. While many horror shows and movies rely on the mystery of a darkened room, American Horror Story brings the thrills right out in the open with very filling lighting, bringing the viewer right into the action. The liberal use of close-ups feels like a violation of personal space as we are literally pushed into the character's most intimate moments and best kept secrets.
The Pilot left us with overflowing story lines and the incredible possibility of character development. There is a thawing divide between the husband and wife as they repair their marriage and a very unsettling romance budding between their daughter and her mysterious, unstable friend.
However, what makes the show so different and anticipated is the exact thing that may be it's downfall. The show was so packed with grizzly and horrific elements that the family undergoes so much trauma in the first episode alone. If it were anyone else, they would have been on the next plane home after supernatural experiences and incredibly straightforward warnings from a tragic past resident. While many are eagerly awaiting the second tension filled episode, it makes me wonder how long the show can last riding along this quickly.
Below is a behind the scenes segment about the haunted house on the show.