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Reviews & Ratings for
"American Horror Story" Pilot (2011)

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Promising Pilot

7/10
Author: EdYerkeRobins from Sunland, CA
6 October 2011

I'm a long-time horror fan. My wife & her mom aren't. We all enjoyed "American Horror Story".

The setup is fairly standard: a feuding family moves cross country, only to find that they can't run from their problems, and may in fact run into even worse ones. Of the supernatural kind.

It's wonderful to see well-produced horror on TV. As much as I want to like shows like "American Gothic" & "Masters of Horror", these shows just feel cheap. While "American Horror Story" is a touch over-indulgent on camera tricks, it's got a wonderful atmosphere that truly unsettles. That being said, the show so far resembles more of a Lynchian melodrama than a straight-up spooktacular.

Much of this has to do with the personalities. Connie Britton & Dylan McDermott feel like a real couple going through real hard, awkward times, although I hope they lose their habit of YELLING EXPOSITION AT EACH OTHER. Their conflict is deep, yet their devotion feels real; while I can't say I agree with their courses of action, it isn't a "white hat, black hat" scenario. As for the rest of the leads, Jessica Lange was already on my nerves by episode's end, and I could take or leave Taissa Farmiga as the couple's daughter (that being said, I'm interested in where their threads take them). Luckily, there are top-shelf supporting cameos from Frances Conroy ("Six Feet Under") & Denis O'Hare ("True Blood"). Then, of course, there's the menagerie of ghouls & ghosts, from the bondage-suited "Rubber Man" adorning all the ads to bloody twin boys & the Down's syndrome girl next door.

"American Horror Story" isn't the greatest thing I've ever seen. But it shows great promise. A common criticism of the horror film (unfortunately for good reason) is underdeveloped characters. The TV season format allows for deeper connection & taking time to draw out characters, motivations & stories. For now, count me in for the ride.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Really good pilot, declares its intentions from the beginning

8/10
Author: david-tsbernardino from Portugal
22 November 2011

The thing that's best in American Horror Story is the cast. They are all very good and well known actors. Jessica Lange, Dylan McDermott, it's pretty rare to come up with such a good cast in a TV series.

The feeling that stays with us after seeing this first episode is it's weirdness. We can't really tell if any of the characters is seeing things, dreaming, or is just esquizofrenic. It's unclear if some sequences are real or a dream. Perhaps the pace for this pilot was too fast, with too much happening in just one episode. But sure it was pretty eerie and scary, exactly what you would expect from a horror show. For now it lives the expectations, and I'm confident it will deliver in the next episodes. This is one to keep track on.

Oh, and the fight scene was amazingly acted.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Pretty ballsy

Author: ASpiralingRedDream from United States
11 October 2011

So I managed to watch the Pilot for American Horror Story...it was certainly odd. I say that in a weird way. I have to say that I don't think I have ever seen a Pilot with more stuff crammed in it. There was A LOT of things that happened. In fact, too much that I lost count. In a way it was too much, but in another way it marks a certain refreshing establishment. The horror bits weren't scary but they certainly were odd and weird. I think that the drama and horror aspects of it aren't well tuned, and the two leads in one scene in an argument were pretty weak, as was he dialogue. I don't know, the only word that i can come up with is ODD because while it has problems, it also stands out in a way. That is all I want to say for now.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Another Ghost Story in a Haunted House

7/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
11 December 2011

The psychologist Ben Harmon and his wife Vivien move to an old Victorian house in Los Angeles with their teenage daughter Violet expecting to rebuild their lives. Vivien had a miscarriage of her baby and did not have sex with her husband; one afternoon, she found Ben with one of his students in their bed and they had almost split. Ben has decided to attend his patients at home to stay closer to his beloved family and repair his relationship with Vivien.

When they arrive, the real estate agent discloses that the previous dwellers were a gay couple and they both died in a murder-suicide case. When they arrive, they meet Adelaide that has Down syndrome and her weird mother Constance. Then the former housekeeper Moira visits Vivien and she hires the old lady; however, when Ben looks at her, he sees a sexy young woman. Meanwhile Violet is bullied at school by an older teenager.

Ben's first patient is a teenager with serious psychological problems and he befriends Violet that is near to commit suicide. Sooner there are manifestations of weird events in the house that is haunted.

The "Pilot" of the "American Horror Story" series is another ghost story in a haunted house. There are good performances and special effects, but my question is how to hold a TV series about an overworked theme? My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "American Horror Story – Pilot"

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What a bunch of Muppets.

6/10
Author: witcheemon from Brisbane, Australia
19 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Don't get me wrong, the series has beautiful production values and thrills in all the right places, hence why I've given it as high a rating as I have.

But these characters are like bags of thick rocks. Particularly the family. Good grief. If you are in such a frame of mind that you can willingly have sex with your "husband" in a gimp suit he just found, and then NEVER MENTION IT AGAIN, there's something wrong with you. If you see your dad making out with an old lady that's not your mum and don't at least have a jab of "she's old enough to be grandma", there's something wrong with you. Honestly I don't know if this family lives to the end of the season. And frankly I don't care. It's horror movie Darwinism, and the system works.

Best actress award goes here to Jessica Lange. Absolute monster. She was repulsive from start to finish. That was the point right? (I don't know if these constitute as spoilers cause this is all stuff from the first episode, but better safe than sorry)

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A winner episode and series.

8/10
Author: mm-39 from Winnipeg
16 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

American Horror Story: Pilot is a winner episode and series for the following reasons. There is a real evil presence with the directing, acting, general feel in each segment of the Pilot. Weird script, in a bizarre way that interests and entices the audience. Who was the guy in the leather suit? The characters attacking the family are ghoulish in a creepy way which unnerves the viewer. The neighbour is really strange. The house the family/victims live in creates a creepy atmosphere. Beautiful house but with such a history there are bound to be unusual things. What is the purpose of these characters plans for the family? Why does the victim see something that is not true? For example the wife sees the housekeeper as a older lady and the house sees her as a younger sexy woman. What is the illusion?

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American Horror Story-Pilot

6/10
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
28 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Okay, so I watched the Pilot for the first season of American Horror Story. I'm kind of intrigued but the jury's still out. A married couple and their daughter move to a "20s LA Victorian" house that is infested with evil. The previous owners died tragically ("murder-suicide" says the real estate agent who puts on a rather poor poker face; sure her face is icy cold and her attempts to charm them certainly left me less than impressed), and later a criminal dying of brain cancer, with a burnt visage and creepy white eye (they always have the creepy white eye), informs the man of the house, psychiatrist, Ben (Dylan McDermott), that his family must leave. This creep who peeps on them and forewarns of horrors to come if Ben's family doesn't leave, says he was an obedient child to "the voices", who commanded him to burn his family and the house alive. The voices are starting to communicate to Ben, and he's sleepwalking, doing things like lighting his fireplace and holding his hands over lit stove eyes. Ben's estranged wife, Vivien (Connie Britton), suffered not only a miscarriage (the baby was seven months old, awful) but literally walked in on her husband boning one of his students (he must have been a teacher on the East Coast). So Vivien is having a hard time forgiving Ben, understandably so, and this pilot shows their angst while attempting for some sort of domestic calm after the emotional storm. Ben has a daughter, Violet (Taissa Farmiga), having trouble adjusting to her new school thanks to a queen bitch who considers herself high on the hog, a voice that must be adhered to, accompanied by her two followers, bourgeois bullies, quite the divas. An unstable patient currently under doc Ben's evaluation is drawn to Violet and vice versa. Tate (Evan Peters; he has these black eyes that seem soulless, and his behavior, manner of talk, his approach and opinion to/towards life is certainly shouting loud the signs of a potential psychopath) offers to frighten Violet's chief tormentor (the whole connection derived from Tate catching Violet cutting; yeah, she's a cutter). Going into the basement, Tate has Violent bring the girl, cutting on/off the lights, apparitions of (demonic?) creatures (ghouls?) appear. Decades prior to the Harmons buying the house, twins with bats entered it when it was once in ruin and left to decay, breaking and destroying glass, finding their way into the basement, were killed by "something". Their specters appear to the "mongoloid" daughter ("You are going to die here") of an eccentric neighbor (Jessica Lange; who easily steals every scene she's in) equipped with acid-tongue, blunt honesty with quite the sting, and a way with words. From Virginia, Constance Langdon came to LA for a Hollywood career, but she was not the kind to get naked in front of the camera. Once she had the child, her dreams for a career hit the skids. Constance has a way of infiltrating Vivien's domain, her daughter obsessed with the house (or, better yet, the ghouls within it) offering an opportunity to do so. Add Frances Conroy's maid Moira O'Hara (she has a "wicked eye" as well; something about the albino eye interests show creators, Ryan Murphy and Brad Halchuk), who appears in sexpot form to Ben while just a creepy old lady to everyone else. To add an odd touch to the pilot, Moira finds Constance going through Vivien's jewelry. Constance calls her an old whore and warned her to not get in her way or she would kill her *again*. Throw in a gimp costume for some kink (the gimp appears to Vivien and they have sex; Vivien believes it is Ben in dress up; but is it?). Constance even stops Ben from placing his hands over the burning stove eyes, telling him it isn't time. So obviously Constance knows a few things. Vivien is pregnant; after a major row, Vivien and Ben get all hot and heavy, going at it. Yeah, this show had places to go yet.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Ahhhh, OK.

Author: deemo31 from California
11 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I gave this a 7 but I think it has potential beyond that. TV horror shows have a tendency to drift into mediocrity with regularity. Often, the first episode hooks you and the remainder keeps you looking for someone to release you. That said, I think this show has some potential. First of all, the acting so far is top notch. Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy? Yeah, I'll take that. In many ways, a peak cam in a toilet with them in it would probably garner some rave reviews for acting. They are both great.

The story starts with a somewhat typical conflict. Wife catches husband cheating in their bed. Reference to a miscarriage. Foreshadowing to an evil house far away in the "Shining" tradition, showing us why nobody should go there. The family, naturally, in an attempt to leave their old world behind and start anew goes to the house in Los Angeles. Home of ghostly maids of uncertain ages, deranged neighbors and oddly murdered teenage twins, a murder suicide, a dying three time convicted murderer warning the family to move. And some dude in a black rubber suit who apparently impregnates the wife who thinks she is having sex with her husband after a year. Lots of criss cross. Oh, and let's not forget the daughter who goes to school smoking a cigarette and ends up with her life threatened and who is attacked by some psycho bitch. Let's just say, she gets hers courtesy of the girl's psychiatrist father.

There might be too much happening without some back ground. Lots to explain and maybe not enough screen time to do it. I'll check it out and let you know.

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1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Psycho-Sexual!

8/10
Author: cawylie
6 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Best word to describe the Pilot benchmark episode. Yes, it borrows from most horror movies, but at least they were good ones. But, aside from Supernatural, how many other horror-themed TV shows are there? (Dexter, not included.) The only thing preventing a better rating from is the gratuitous McDermbutt (the reviewer is male) and the, um, flowery language that seems to be seeded in every other line. (The male nudity should be paired with female nudity. If we see a guy's butt, I think it's only fair to see a lady's butt.) The language appeared emphasized by some actors, like they were told "This is cable, have fun with the words."

This show comes across to me as more creepy than scary. I think all the online promos for the show harmed it a little - like I was desensitized whenever the moments meant to shock me didn't. I knew about the creature in the basement. I knew about the Plastic Fantastic Lover. But that doesn't mean this show was over-hyped and failed to deliver.

What saved this show, for me, was the casting/writing. The character work, although twisted in so many different ways, cements the show. Everyone, even minor characters, make the show, even if we don't currently understand their place.

Writing/Directing/Editing: 8 (less language/balance "nudity"). Acting: 8 (only as good as what's in the script). Music: 9 (would be a different show without it).

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0 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Uh, not so good

3/10
Author: artpf from United States
31 December 2013

I don't know. There's such hype round this show I was expecting something way better. Firstly I really have an issue when shows use down syndrome kids for dramatic effect. There's something really wrong about that. Next, I thought Jessica Lange was horrible. Her character is poorly drawn and her acting is too stereotyped.

Next, I really hate the shaky cam thing. Why do TV shows do that these days? It's really annoying.

And finally, the show appears to think using words like "shit" every two minutes a long with other winners like "cock sucker" and showing full rear male nudity and male masturbation for no reason whatsoever, is edgy.

To me it demonstrates a lack of creativity.

The story is a bit hard to follow as well. And freaky looking people are used for effect with no real purpose. I'm reviewing the pilot and I know sometimes shows take a bit of time for shows to get going, so I'll give it a chance over the next 3 or so episodes but so far I'm not impressed.

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