Monday, December 21, 2015

Movie review: American Horror Story: Freak Show (Season 4)

American Horror Story: Freak Show finds us at a carnival of freaks with Elsa leading the crazy carnies as the struggle to keep the show alive. Of course, things are never that simple and the carnies must deal with abuse from the public, a sinister evil clown, betrayal and manipulation from within, and of course Elsa's insanity.

Jessica Lange (Elsa), Evan Peters (Jimmy), Sarah Paulson (Bette), Denis O'Hare (Spalding), Frances Conroy (Gloria), Kathy Bates (Ethel), Angela Bassett (Desiree), Finn Wittrock (Dandy), Jyoti Amge (Ma Petite).

American Horror Story: Freak Show begins well enough with the hint of some clown horror to come and introductions to the Freak Show cast. From there the story becomes a twisted mess of deception, discrimination, moral and ethical dilemmas which can never be resolved. Impressively the series runs a longer storyline while at the same time throwing disturbing and unique events into every episode. Though possibly not the best season, Freak Show once again shows us that American Horror Story knows what horror is and how to keep us entertained.

Acting was again well done. Lange can still bring energy to the screen in a variety of situations. Peters continues to be an interesting addition and is maturing well. Paulson was an interesting choice but pulled off her part nicely. Bates, Basset, and Wittrock fit perfectly and each did a great job. Amge deserves mention if only because she is so cute and has fun energy.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds continue to be nicely done with good variety and detail. Effects and CGI are used well without impacting the story itself. Action scenes are good with nice detail, gore, and well delivered physical impact. Dialogue moves the plot along well while engaging the audience on multiple levels. Sound and soundtrack are mild but good.

In the end American Horror Story: Freak Show continues to deliver the disturbing horror we have come to expect and love from the series. With good depth, unique approach, and fearless engagement with disturbing moral and ethical issues fans of horror with a purpose should enjoy this series.

With disturbing images, gore, violence, sexuality, mental issues, and more save this one for older teens and above unless imparting psychological damage to young children is your goal.

Released: 2014
Reviewed: 12.20.15
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama, Sci-Fi Horror, Serial Killers

copyright ©2015 Dave Riedel

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