Ash Raymond James
Review - American Horror Story: 1984 Episode 5
At the halfway mark, American Horror Story 1984 strangely feels like it's coming to an end. From the get-go, 'Red Dawn' feels too far advanced to be stretched out any further and the slasher story seems to have very nearly reached its conclusion. 'Red Dawn' features an array of fascinating elements. Getting further into Rita's backstory helped the audience understand her goal of learning what makes serial killers tick as it turns out, her father was one. The confrontation between the two of them was oddly sweet and aided her character development greatly. The writing of 'Red Dawn' was as superb as 1984 has ever been and this portion of the story came to a natural end.
As the episode progressed we delved deeper into Margarets true self as she takes out more of the main cast. She first dresses up her murder plans as a rescue attempt to get Chet onto the lake with her before she inevitably pushes him in and watches him drown. Then, later on in the episode, Xavier saves her from Mr Jingles before she puts a knife in his chest and opens him up. Xavier killing Mr Jingles with a bow and arrow and then doing a hilarious victory dance was one of my favourite scenes of the episode and even though Margaret turning on Xavier was no surprise, the scene was brilliantly crafted.
We also see the return of Ray this episode which confirms that what dies in Redwood, stays in Redwood much like Jonas made us believe. Ray manages to somewhat redeem himself this episode, his interaction with Brooke showed a new side to him aside from his usual self centred self. Brooke and Ray end up sleeping together before discovering Rays severed head in a fridge which ultimately freaks both of them out, Brooke screaming 'what are you' is a suiting question as we are all asking the same thing.
It then unravels quickly for Brooke as she reconvenes with Montana to discover she wants her dead. They brawl throughout the camp and the scene is shot wonderfully. The fight feels tense and is a violent showing of how ruthless Montana is as well as tapping into the dark side of Brooke. Unlike most camp slasher movies, 'Red Dawn' ends with the kids arriving on the bus only to witness Brooke finishing off Montana in brutal fashion. This leads to the police showing up and Margaret appears on cue to appear as the victim whilst Brooke takes all the blame. Along with the police, ambulances show up to and the survivors receive treatment which includes Ray. Even though he has seen his own discarded head, Ray doesn't seem to clock on to the fact that he is a ghost until the very end of the episode. The doctor takes his pulse only to find nothing and as the ambulance speeds away, Ray is shot back into the camp when the ambulance passes the Camp Redwood sign. This marks the end of the typical slasher camp story but a ghost slasher is born immediately following it. Montana understands her ghostly demise instantly and realises there won't be consequences for her actions so she decides to kill a cop and then claims to Ray and Jonas that they can be gods, not bothered about being dead at all. The only people able to leave the camp is Margaret as she is still playing the innocent victim, Brooke as she is being framed as the monster and Mr Jingles and the nightstalker because they have both supposedly been revived by Satan. The nightstalker told Mr Jingles if he was to do Satans work, he would come alive again but I am still unsure if this is Satans doing and I am anticipating a twist coming sooner rather than later.
With it now confirmed that going forward American Horror Story: 1984 will spiral off in a different direction, I am curious to how they finish the season. This wouldn't be the first time American Horror Story has split a season into multiple parts but I'm unsure as to whether it was necessary for this instance. From the first episode, I questioned how American Horror Story would drag out a slasher movie over a full series but it appears that was never the plan. With the majority of the cast now dead inside camp redwood and being held as ghostly prisoners never allowed to leave, I am sure some more history will surface in the coming weeks. Revenge in imminent for the ghosts of Camp Redwood and I am predicting we are about to experience a flash-forward.
'Red Dawn' is bloody in all the right places, perfectly paced and concluded with confidence. Moving forward, 1984 appears to be straying from the slasher theme and returning to its familiar supernatural roots. With Mr Jingles and the Nightstalker now on the loose in LA, I don't see a lack of slashing in future episodes but I imagine the ghosts still roaming Camp Redwood can only mean they'll remain at the centre of the story. Has 1984 lost its edge or can it maintain its consistency of great quality television now the main theme is shattered? This is what I am most excited to find out.