“American Horror Story: Cult” Pleases Their Cult Following
Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are back to share their horrifyingly twisted tales with the release of “American Horror Story: Cult.”
As the seventh season of “American Horror Story” kicks off, viewers are left in awe regarding how to react to “Cult.” Unlike the previous season, “Roanoke,” producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk let it all out in the open.
Fans knew coming into this season that there would be obvious connections and retellings of the 2016 Presidential Election. With this in mind, there were mixed feelings about how “Cult” may compare to past hit seasons, but regardless, the teasers created reactions, just like the election. Whether this was what the producers hoped for or not, it set them up for instant success.
To contribute to the “American Horror Story” dynasty, Sarah Paulson is completely in her element again, starring as Ally Mayfair-Richards, a distressed Michigan woman with innumerable phobias .
Newcomer Allison Pill stars as Ally’s wife, Ivy and helps create Murphy’s terrifying vision of living in the aftermath of an earth shattering election.
“Cult” begins in the midst of the election results and the ensuing messy aftermath. Two opposite reactions to President Trump’s victory are portrayed. First, Ally (Sarah Paulson) is shown sobbing uncontrollably as the results are revealed.
Since Ally and her wife, Ivy (Allison Pill), are a same-sex couple with a young son, they are unsure what the future holds under the new presidency.
After their world is slowly brought down, all of Ally’s phobias work simultaneously to send her spiraling out of control, emotionally and physically.
Of course, the knife-sharpening clowns add a sense of true horror to the series and there are elements to the cinematography that play on Ally’s phobias which add another layer of skin-tingling tension, but the role of the election inserts blatant satire into the mix.
The satirical portrayal of the election and aftermath set up a petrifying plot that becomes even scarier once you realize that part of this story comes from true events.
On the opposite end of the spectrum in a suburban Michigan town, Kai Anderson’s (Evan Peters) version of election night felt like the ultimate battle was won and the coup de grace was Trump’s win.
Kai was so overjoyed with the results that he decided to coat his face in blended Cheetos, which helped blur the lines between humor and horror once his sister, Winter (Billie Lourd), expressed her fear of a Trump presidency and coping with a newfound reality.
But this fear has to be exactly what Murphy and Falchuk want. Instead of including actors to portray Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, they recreate the ongoing chaos that exploded in result of the election.
The commoners’ feelings of disgust and confusion along with the polarized media are now created visually and helped put true feelings into words. The hectic aftermath of violence and irrational behavior are also recreated in the most morbid and unimaginable ways.
After the initial aftermath seems to stop, Ally continues to become weaker due to her battle with preexisting phobias. As her mental state continues to fail, her fear of small holes, clowns, and society plagues her in full force.
In contrast, Kai continues to experience a “victory high” that results in xenophobic and tyrannical behavior as he terrorizes the small suburban town. These elements all work in sync to create a plot that makes the portrayed events suspenseful and unpredictable.
For the first time, “American Horror Story” features gruesome depictions that do not focus on supernatural beings or causes.
The anarchy that fuels conflict throughout this season is paired with violence and murder based off of mortal human beings. Subtracting the supernatural elements from this season means that the show is beginning to mold together reality and morbid visions.
Overall, “American Horror Story: Cult” started off strong by eliminating supernatural elements and using true events to create a new type of horror story. Murphy and Falchuk’s new experiment is equally as horrifying which makes “Cult” a true contender when compared to previous seasons.