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  • Writer's pictureAsh Raymond James

Review - American Horror Story: 1984 Episode 1

The following review is spoiler-free.

American Horror Story has returned. This time around taking the form of an 80s slasher movie. The latest installment oozes nostalgia and for the first time in a long while, American Horror Story seems to be set on having a very fun series ahead. Sure, it's dumb but it's dumb in all the right places.

A slasher flick wouldn't be a slasher flick without the silliness and it's nice to see Ryan Murphy take a side road away from the serious tone we've seen in the majority of the seasons so far. The credit sequence alone shows us how different this season will be. Instead of its usual dingy, nightmarish traits, it's full of neon colours and full-powered throwbacks to the 80s style. 1984 gives a nod to slasher movies alike. 

The glaring comparison of Friday 13th is unmissable. A group of camp counselors expecting a raunchy drug fest, acting completely oblivious to the horrors around them. Also, guess what? There's even a lake which would be perfect for Jason Voorhees to suddenly emerge from.

There are other scenes such as an asylum outbreak mimicking Halloween and the I know What You Did Last Summer hit and run. 1984 is littered with endless easter eggs to help pay homage to the genre and it's such a nostalgic joy when you spot them. 

Even in the first episode, 1984 goes to the extreme of making this feel like a genuine 1980s effort. The first scene has that typical film grain and shot in the way a typical slasher would be. The show appears to have every cliché in the book. Cheesy music, aerobics, with plenty of thrusting, B movie acting, athletic hunks (bulges and all) and the innocent girl who makes bad decisions over and over again- slowly descending into her heroine status which is just scratch on the surface.

However, despite the clichés and plotlines, we have seen numerous times, American Horror Story 1984 manages to feel fresh. Episode one is the perfect set up for the story to come and even though it is following a tried and tested formula, I am sure Ryan Murphy has some twists up his sleeve and I can't wait to witness them unravel. 

The cast this year also feels very new. For the first time since its 2011 debut, Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson are not involved. I initially believed the series would be lacking without them, the same way I felt with Jessica Lange leaving after season four, however, I found the change revitalizing after watching this premiere.

Emma Roberts takes the place of the new centerpiece as the innocent cliché, Brook. She is surrounded by new faces such as Matthew Morrison who places the moustache bearing Trevor and real-life Olympian Gus Kenworthy whos introduction as Chet had me genuinely laughing out loud.

The only concern I have following the first episode is how the show is going to keep up the fast pace it has started with but at the same time, not making it feel dragged out. Episode one displayed a great deal of story and character development so I am curious to how it will be handled over a ten-episode stretch. 

Overall, American Horror Story looks promising. 1984 feels completely detached from the previous installments, unlike any other season with 1984 becoming a much-needed face-lift to a show that was only grown staler as the years rolled on.

If you're a slasher horror fan, this is definitely for you but even if you're not, I would still recommend giving 1984 a chance. It's unlike anything we see in the modern era and even though it has its genuine moments of horror, the show seems to be taking us on a fun ride. Sure, you're going to be mumbling 'of course' under your breath every time somebody falls down during a chase or a character makes an idiotic decision, but what is1980s horror without the occasional eye roll?

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