TV Show Review

TV Review: AMERICAN HORROR STORY: Season 2, Episode 1: Welcome to Briarcliff

Evan Peters American Horror Story Welcome to Briarcliff

American Horror Story Season 2 Episode 1 Welcome to Briarcliff ReviewAmerican Horror Story: Season 2, Episode 1: Welcome to Briarcliff continued “the success of last year’s American Horror Story. Hyped up with cryptic promotional photos of an anonymous creature in a sleek, black, latex suit, most people were not entirely sure what to expect. And more importantly, could a television show of the horror genre survive on television? I will argue that while shows like The Walking Dead and True Blood are technically in the horror genre, True Blood has the benefit of being completely uncensored, thereby rendering it more like a movie (and ultimately like a soap opera – with boobs) and The Walking Dead may put up nice numbers, but honestly it isn’t a very good show.

Classics like The Twilight Zone and Twin Peaks haven’t been on TV for some time. Combine this with the fact that while Ryan Murphy is nothing short of a genius, he has a tendency to take on a lot of projects at once, and things may or may not fall by the wayside. During the first season, Glee was humming along steadily and even in LA there are only so many hours in a day. Thankfully things worked out spectacularly, and season one of American Horror Story was a delight for hardcore horror fans and casual viewers alike, coming away with 2 Emmy awards and posting impressive viewing numbers.

By changing the format of the show into a miniseries, and essentially starting from scratch, I went into the season premiere with perhaps a bit more fear than usual. But I was not disappointed. The episode was strong, dripping with Murphy-isms (can we make that a word?), and everything we loved about season one in a brand new fresh package. The setting this time around is a haunted mental hospital, “Briarcliff Manor”. The episode opens with two young lovers in present time exploring the now shut-down hospital. Reminiscent of an 80’s slasher film, there is a groan or two, but after the intro credits we travel back in time to 1964, and the fun begins.

A few of the actors from the original season decided to stick around and it works without a hitch. Evan Peters is back as “Bloody Face,” an alleged serial killer who is sent to Briarcliff to await trial. The nun who runs the institution is the talented Jessica Lange, who deftly walks the line between good and evil once again. A welcome addition is James Cromwell as Dr. Arthur Arden. After his performance in Six Feet Under, I have high hopes.

With tight acting and a skilled balance of psychological and supernatural horror, American Horror Story: Asylum, looks to be another season of the show that we love.

For more American Horror Story reviews, photos, videos, and information, visit our American Horror Story Page.

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William Kryjak

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