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

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14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Promising Pilot

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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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Really good pilot, declares its intentions from the beginning

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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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Pretty ballsy

Author: Red_Identity from United States
11 October 2011

So I managed to watch the Pilot for American Horror 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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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I had high hopes, but ended up disappointed

Author: Jill Schutte (
15 September 2016

I, personally don't particularly understand the hype surrounding this show. I watched the first episode really hoping to enjoy it, but ended up disappointed. I thought the plot for the first episode was really dull, and uninteresting. It just felt like the writers were trying way too hard to make it creepy, but it just wasn't working. There were two other things in particular that I didn't like about the show. The first one was having a girl with down syndrome in the story line to try and make the show creepier; I found that really offensive. The other I disliked was Jessica Lange's character. I thought the writers made her character way too stereotypical in relation to the story, and I just generally don't like Jessica Lange's acting. Lastly, I realize that some TV shows take a while to build up the plot beyond the exposition, but with all the good things I've heard about this show- or even just the pilot episode- I was expecting more.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A winner episode and series.

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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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

American Horror Story-Pilot

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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Disappointed by how conventional and not scary this is.

Author: FallonTimberlake2016 from Virginia, USA
27 September 2017

American Horror Story is a show that has been talked about by fans for years, so I went into this show with modest expectations. Unfortunately, this episode did not deliver for me. I don't know whether this show gets better as it goes along, but this is a very weak start for the most part.

For a show named American Horror Story, there is way too little scary moments. The opening scene was meant to be creepy, but I was just bored because it lasted too long. There is some good imagery in this film, but that isn't enough to actually make the show scary.

If all of the characters in the show suddenly died, I honestly would not care, which says a lot about how the show sets up the characters. The main couple (Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott) is so annoying that I honestly just wanted to punch both of them.

There is one scene in particular where Britton and McDermott are giving their all into these performances, but because the writing is so terrible it is laughably bad.

However, not every scene is that bad, and there are actually some really good performances. Jessica Lange is amazing as the weird neighbor and Evan Peters is very good as a mentally off teenager. Peters delivers the only even remotely scary sequence in the episode.

These performances are not enough to bring the show up, however. It just doesn't deliver on any level of horror, and can be so terribly written that I started to wonder if I was watching a 90's soap opera.

I give American Horror Story--Pilot a C-.

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7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Another Ghost Story in a Haunted House

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"

Note: On 11 April 2017 I saw this episode again.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Good start. It is worth!

Author: Hugo Oliveira from Brazil
22 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode is about fidelity/treason,resentments, pain, pleasure, trauma, hurt,trust in each other, and a murder house, all this and much more in a psychological horror thriller that worth it to watch. The characters that surprise me in "Pilot" are : Tate(Evan Peters),Ben(Dylan McDermott) and Moira(Frances Conroy).

The begin is perfect, scene one. The scenes at school could be better but is acceptable. The sequence,in the backyard,kitchen,Tate's therapy,violet's room and shower are incredible.The soundtrack is awesome.I did not get scared, I just had one fright, but the whole story is tense, delicate and this is enough for me. Pay attention in little details and mount the puzzle. Some scenes initially are confused but then them are solved.

"Pilot" is a decent start for the American horror story show. I expect more for the other episodes, more from Jessica Lange and Denis O'Hare, they are fantastic, deserves more space. The house chosen is perfect, the architecture is beautiful, also the shades and objects are really appreciable. Well, congratulations for all involved on this show.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

What a bunch of Muppets.

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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