15 Second Review: American Horror Story: Asylum (2012)
American Horror Story: Asylum is probably a "love it or hate it" affair. Luckily (for me) I fall into the former camp. The first half of the series may well have put off many viewers with its bombardment of direct homages to iconic films such as A Clockwork Orange and The Exorcist, and its broader inclusion of gene standards (slasher killers, Nazi doctors, wicked nuns, alien abductions, and ghouls in the woods). This "see if it sticks" method is entertaining, but shallow. :Luckily, the series settles down in its second half. Those willing to tolerate sequences of an adult (Franka Potente) claiming to be Anne Frank are rewarded with a more focused attention on story and character as the series progresses. A healthy tolerance to jumps in chronology is also required, as the script fits forwards and backwards in time at a rate that some may find alarming. Yet - contradictory as it may sound - one of the series' strengths is its pacing. American Horror Story benefits from its season-long cycles, which allow the writers to tie off the stories (without the need to set up a sequel series). The series begins winding down three or four episodes before the final frame. In an age of rushed denouements, this is most welcome. There are two other points of note. First, as far as television goes, this is one of the most horrific series I have seen. Second, Jessica Lange is majestic. She easily stole the first series, but here... it is worth watching the series for her performance alone. Roll on Coven.