American Horror Story: Murder House Review

After months of stating I will watch it, I have finally started on American Horror Story!
American Horror Story is, essentially, what is says on the tin; an American TV show of thee horror genre. As far as I understand, each series is a standalone and, although the same actors are used, each series  addresses a completely different storyline to the last, so to avoid confusion, this review is only centred on season one; Murder House.
Murder House tells the story of a dysfunctional family who, in a desperate attempt to get a fresh start, decide to move house. Little did they know that this house has its own dark and twisted secrets, as well as a history of tortures, death and horrors.
 To start with, the whole ‘family moving house’ stereotype drives me insane when it comes to the horror genre. Not only has this cliché been done to death (no pun intended), but it’s also, in my opinion, a bit of a cop out. With that said, it was obviously necessary to start the story, so, I’ll let it slide, and also, it isn’t the worst stereotype used within the series, as that award definitely goes to ‘the moody teenager’ stereotype which is definitely more comedic than character building.
The character building aspect, as a whole is interesting. As the story progresses, so does the characters complexity and reasoning for their motives. The only thing that lets this down, however, is the occasionally wooden acting (particularly from minor characters), and the fact that the characters aren’t explained straight away.
I think that it’s safe to say that patience is vital when it comes to watching this show, as I found that the first few episodes make next to no sense. Each episode feels very long due to the amount of information given, but it also feels as though the episodes don’t make sense. I can assure you though that everything does start making sense all at once, so it is just a case of sticking with it. This does also mean that the show isn’t particularly binge-able, and you may want to also watch something more upbeat alongside it.  
The plot itself is very enigmatic and full of tension, and is eerie enough to not be reliant on a countless jump scares. Although there are a couple, I appreciate the fact that this show is reliant on them, and instead focuses on implementing genuine fear throughout the story. The story focuses on a decent, all be it somewhat cliché concept, and also focuses largely on the history and reasoning for the current situation, something which I heavily admired. The only thing which I felt could’ve been changed and improved is if some major parts of the plot where presented as twists and cliff-hangers, instead of having everything being explained and concluded. I feel like if they had extended a twist, it would have just added a little more to the show.
Lastly, the visual techniques within the show are one of a kind, but also somewhat nauseating. On several occasions, frantic jump cuts and weird zooms are used, and I think at time they are not necessary. Although this editing is usually quite fitting, I do feel that it was slightly overused, which then seemed to take away from when it’s required.

Overall, although it may not seem that way, I did like this series. I must admit that I did feel it to be overrated and occasionally tedious, but as a whole, it was largely enjoyable. I will definitely watch the second series, especially due to the fact that it is a different plotline that will be addressed, and I will suggest this to any horror-lover who dislikes jump scares. My only advice to anyone who does watch this though is to definitely avoid watching it whilst your parents are in the room!


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