Dead Silence, the Consequence of Living Noise

Dead Silence

There should be a name for the spooky phenomenon that occurs after staring at a doll’s face for several minutes. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? After a while, you half-expect the lifeless face to blink, twitch, or otherwise move. What say we call it Dead Silence since it’s so downright disturbing? Ah, no, that’s actually the title of a movie about staring at creepy ventriloquist dummies. Rather, the dummies in Dead Silence stare at you before making you die in a terrible, jaw-dropping way. James Wan, the director of the movie Saw, continues to express his passion for horror with this tale of a vengeful spirit and her creepy, doll-centric haunting.

“Beware the stare of Mary Shaw. She had no children; only dolls. And if you see her in your dreams, be sure you never, ever scream.” In Ravens Fair in the 1940s, there was an aged ventriloquist by the name of Mary Shaw, who supposedly went mad and kidnapped the boy who had called her a fraud during one of her performances. Enraged, the townsfolk cut her tongue out and killed her, burying her with each and every one of her dummies as per her will. Curiously, the families of those who had killed her began to suffer mysterious deaths in the years following…

Dead SilenceJamie (Ryan Kwanten) and Lisa (Laura Regan) Ashen are a happily newlywed couple, content save for the fact that Lisa dies and has her tongue ripped out in the opening scene. What an odd coincidence! One could assign the blame to Billy, the haunted ventriloquist dummy that Jamie received in a package not minutes earlier, but that would be a lot of superstitious nonsense. At least, that’s what Detective Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg) thinks, and lets Jamie know that he’s the top suspect in his wife’s murder investigation. Eager to be proven innocent (or to remove the spiritual executioner’s axe from his neck), Jamie-boy sets off for Ravens Fair.

Only, the closer he gets to his solution, the stronger the haunting becomes. Billy seems to follow him everywhere, and he can’t seem to enjoy alone time without some tongueless apparition appearing to him. Before long, the people who have helped him on his way suffer the same horrific deaths, and Jamie finds himself in a perilous struggle with the spirit of Mary Shaw. If only defeating her was as easy as not screaming; the long-dead ventriloquist’s got quite a few tricks up her sleeves.

Dead SilenceAs far as horror movies go, Dead Silence is above average in all fronts despite being particularly orthodox within the paradigm of the genre. Jump scares galore, of course, yet this is made more tolerable by remembering that little precautionary poem. You’ll even be pleased to notice that Jamie does not scream. At least, not until- Oh, I wouldn’t spoil it for you.

Josh Green of  FirstShowing thoroughly enjoyed Dead Silence’s gimmick, and I can see why. Building tension is a crucial aspect of the horror genre, and the one employed here is both creative and effective. Of course, as Mr. Green says in his review here, telling you any more about it would ruin the fun. So, happy watching, and remember not to scream!

Housebound, but Not Genre-Bound

Housebound

Housebound is brilliant in that it’s never what you’re expecting it to be. A quick glance at the gloomy box art invokes thoughts of the used and abused haunted house genre, yet a closer look reveals that things aren’t thematically absolute. Brutal acts of violence and jump scares are preceded by satirical snippets of humor, making you wonder whether you should laugh or wet your pants. Complimented by an atypical (and wonderful) absence of the “damsel in distress” trope, Housebound’s composition is immaculate; by the end of the film, you’ll feel as if you’ve actually watched a different kind of horror movie.

HouseboundKylie Bucknell (Morgana O’Reilly) is nothing but trouble. She’s chasing purple dragons, blowing up ATM machines with homemade explosives for some quick cash, and is generally unapproachable owing to her punkish attitude. Bad luck strikes when one of her robbery attempts falls flat on its ass and she winds up arrested, convicted, and sentenced to a supposedly lenient eight months of home detention, complete with an ankle monitor and a irritatingly chatty mother. The judge hoped to impose some stability on her chaotic life, but as one would expect, Kylie isn’t happy to be home, and she ensures that EVERYONE in the house is aware of this sentiment.

One uneventful evening (and there are many, presumably), Kylie hears her mother Miriam (Rima Te Wiata) on the radio, talking about how her house is haunted. Years back, she witnessed a shadowy figure down in the basement, and the memory spooks her to this day. Kylie initially ridicules her mother for being superstitious, but then begins to experience the symptoms of the haunting firsthand. Funny enough, her corrections officer Amos (Glen-Paul Waru) happens to be a real paranormal enthusiast, and proceeds to give her a hand scoping the place for any unruly spirits. It isn’t long before they discover that they’re digging up something worse than a few spooky ghosts.

HouseboundI won’t spoil the twists and turns for you, but I will tell you that there are a solid few. Twists that involve sociopathic behavior, the revelation of deeply buried secrets, and the possibility of murder. Who knows which order those’re in, eh? You’ll have to find out yourself.

Mike D’Angelo believes that Kylie’s house arrest needed to be a much more pivotal point of the film, but I’m inclined to think that the genius is more evenly dispersed. The spunky, aggressive protagonist and interspersed satirical humor are reason enough to like Housebound; the layered plot and slow-but-steady revelation of the real antagonist is reason to love it. Still, my sense of humor might not be in line with everyone else’s, so you should check out the A.V. Club review right through here.

Oculus, a Reflection

Oculus

As a movie, Oculus was fresh, unique, and interesting. As a concept, it made me a little nervous. The metaphorical sun this star system of spooks orbits is an antique mirror haunted by a particularly nasty spirit that gets its rocks off by screwing with people’s minds before driving them to suicide. You might think, “But if the spirit’s power is connected to the mirror, why can’t the protagonists just smash it?” First of all, this is a horror movie. How dare you suggest the obvious solution. Secondly, the mirror doesn’t just mess with minds; it peels them apart and drags out your deepest, darkest memories, tormenting you at a growing pace via vivid hallucinations. You thought you were smashing the mirror? Nah, you were just watering a plant. Have a gun pointed at it? Double check you’re not pointing it at yourself. Lock and load!

OculusTim Russel (Brenton Thwaites) just got released from a mental institution, supposedly fixed after suffering a particularly nasty and mirror-oriented childhood trauma. His big sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan) has followed the Lasser Glass to an auction house, and marks it for “repair” so she can transport it to their old family home and set the record straight. With recorded evidence of ol’ Lassie Glassie’s supernatural nature, big sister can finally prove to the world that in fact the mirror killed her mother, not their father, who was driven to violent insanity by Lassie’s aura. See, the problem there is, Kaylie is afflicted by the teenage delusion that she’s invincible to Lassie’s influence, and Tim has been mentally “fixed” so meticulously that he initially doesn’t want anything to do with the project when his sister lays down the brass tacks.

Through a system of timers, cameras, and one weighted mirror-cracking killswitch on a timer, Kaylie hopes to threaten the mirror into defending itself against the threat of destruction, consequently recording tangible proof of its supernatural influence. It sure seems like a great idea, until the siblings start experiencing none other than violent, vivid hallucinations that take them right back to the darkest days of their childhood. And yes, they’re not allowed to leave. Not until the haunt is done with them.

See, due to the psychological nature of the Lasser Glass’s power, the backstory and the present are interwoven seamlessly, to the point where you wonder what’s real and what isn’t. Not only are Kaylie and Tim having flashbacks that shut off their awareness of the present, they’re also prone to normal hallucinations that screw with them to the same extent. Seriously, Kaylie goes to take a bite out of an apple and it turns out to be a light bulb. Or does it? I’m not gonna tell you because it would be spoiling one of my favorite moments.

OculusYou can get your hopes up for the Russel siblings, but you probably shouldn’t. Oftentimes the human mind is the only thing that can conquer deranged killers and spooks, but without that… You’re even more screwed than the idiots who keep leaving machetes and chainsaws next to the supposedly dead murderer’s body. Basically spoiled the nature of the ending, but at least you get to wonder just how catastrophically they fail!

Kofi Outlaw of ScreenRant was none too happy with the ending, saying that it went out with a fizzle instead of a bang. I’m on the same page, but I do think Oculus is creative enough to warrant a curiosity watch and a rewatch for clarity at the very least. Kofi explains the origin of the film in his review, so if you want the full Oculus review experience, take a dive through here: http://screenrant.com/oculus-reviews-movie-2014/

Haunter is Horror Evolved

Haunter

Which makes it Gengar. You may not have heard that I was gonna Raichu a review about it, because I’m glad you came and Togepi-k to see what it was all about anyway.

I haven’t seen Groundhog Day in maybe four, five years, but Haunter brought the memory right back. The genres are completely different, Groundhog day being a romantic comedy with Bill Murray, and Haunter being a vaguely psychological horror thriller with Abigail Breslin. You remember Abigail, right? The adorable girl from Little Miss Sunshine? See, there’s no sunshine where she is this time around, but there is plenty of fog. And ghosts. I had trouble transitioning from stripping and dancing to Super Freak, but I digress.

HaunterHaunter’s premise and execution are commendable, making this one of the few horror movies that’s actually worth watching for the plot. In it, Lisa (Breslin) is quite dead, but isn’t aware of it. What she is aware of is the single day that she’s forced to experience over and over again, all variations caused by her actions insignificant and lost when the next loop begins. Her attempts to break free of the cycle incite a medley of strange sounds and voices, all of which serve the dual purpose of startling both you and her while pointing to clues that explain what the heck happened.

That’s when the Pale Man comes. Disguised as a phone line repairman, he politely asks Lisa to ignore the strange happenings in the house and to just act as if everything is normal. There certainly won’t be any problems if she does that. She doesn’t listen, of course, and he doesn’t like it. The more Lisa listens to the whispers, the closer she comes to understanding the nature of her reality. Trying to find where the bodies are buried ends up taking a literal turn and revealing that she isn’t the only one whose spirit has been claimed by the house.

HaunterHaunter is a once-off watch, but that isn’t a bad thing. The intricacies of its plot are unique enough to keep you guessing what’s going to happen, and though it isn’t terribly visceral or full of jump-scares, you’ll find yourself in a perpetual state of unease until the climax. The ending is bland, but as with happiness, the meaning is in the path you walk, not the destination you seek. This film may not be happiness itself, but it’s definitely a fun way to waste an hour and a half.

Dee Rudebeck of TheGuardian mentions Groundhog Day as well, which makes me a little sad inside because I’m not the unique butterfly I thought I was. Also according to the speaker of the guardian, Haunter is a bit slow and uninspired, which I COMPLETELY DISAGREE WITH GO WATCH THE MOVIE. Ahem. Here’s the link to the alt review: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/apr/03/haunter-review-horror-abigail-breslin#start-of-comments

The Shrine, Makeupalooza

The Shrine


The Shrine has earned my respect as a horror movie by relying heavily on makeup effects. Factoring out the Evil Dead remake, you don’t really see a lot of that, y’know? Sure, it looked cheesy, but that’s the fun of it! Retro-glamor with a dash of horrific mutilation and tides of blood. The premise of the movie is really neat, and the scares are viable whether you laugh or scream at goofy looking monster masks.

The ShrineCarmen is a journalist looking to find her next big scoop. She thinks she already has it; several disappearances of European tourists in the Polish village of Alvania. After acquiring a journal from one of the tourists and being haunted by his bloody-eyed visage in a dream, she decides that she’s going to Poland. Not without conscripting the aid of Sara the intern and Marcus the estranged boyfriend first, of course.

In Alvania, they find an enormous patch of dense, dark, unmoving fog, as described in Eric Taylor’s journal. The locals don’t take very kindly to the presence of strangers, and are quick to turn them away from the fog. Carmen notices that the fog is the only part of Alvania that the townsfolk are safeguarding, so naturally, it must be where the tourists are. The team sneaks over to the fog to investigate, and Carmen and Sara go on in. Marcus stays back, because fuck that noise. It’s spooky.

The ShrineIt’s all downhill from there. The townsfolk capture the lot and murder Sara with a ritual that involves hammering a mask with large iron spikes where the eyes would be into her head. The same masks had been seen earlier in a room full of corpses. Clearly the fog has some greater significance if it would incite such an occult reaction. On the brighter side of things, I was relieved to find that the Alvanians didn’t function as a one-dimensional antagonist force due to the snazzy twist near the climax. Horror movies don’t have a lot of room for fluid morality; you have to appreciate the little things. Anyway, we’re nearing spoiler territory, so I’m gonna have to cut this short.

Overall, I’d consider The Shrine a decent horror flick. It’s not radically original, but it has its own unique charm, particularly with the horror evoked by
the iron masks. That could just be personal preference talking, but faceless masks always seem to get under my skin.

The ShrineHorror Movie A Day thought The Shrine had a tactically boring startup with a scare-fest second half, and I’m inclined to agree. As far as pacing goes, setting your audience up with low expectations and then bringing out the big guns works wonders. That specifically may or may not have been planned, but it works all the same. Here’s the alt review for a more detailed look at The Shrine: http://horror-movie-a-day.blogspot.com/2010/10/shrine.html

Lovely Molly, Attack of the Ghost Horse

Lovely Molly

I’ll explain the title momentarily.

Speaking of titles, Lovely Molly was originally going to be called The Possession, you know. Considering the title “The Possession” is about as original as all the Paranormal Activity spinoffs out there, I’d say Lovely Molly is a better choice. Though not intended, I interpret the title as a sort of sarcastic jab at Molly’s descent to madness throughout the film. Seriously, you’ll have a laugh too once I explain everything. Ahem!

Lovely MollyFirst of all, the real reason Molly is so “lovely” is because her insanity orbits around sex and ultraviolence. Mainly sex. You’ll see Gretchen Lodge nude often enough to wonder if the director was recovering from an overdose of Viagra while filming. It’s all part and parcel of demonic horror movies, really. Everyone knows Satan loves him some booty.

As far as backstory goes, Lovely Molly sits right on the border of interesting and meh. The premise is that Molly and Hannah were sexually abused by their scumbag father up until Hannah killed him. Not content to leave the world early, the evil in his spirit brought him back as a demon, and he haunts their family home in an attempt to exact revenge by driving them mad. Simple but effective, right?

Lovely MollyI said “Attack of the Ghost Horse” because scumbag ghost dad is a horse demon, thus clops around when he walks. Having seen pictures from Molly’s childhood that contain horses, I was under the impression that perhaps something had happened to her pet horse as a kid and it was coming back to wreak havoc. That would have been absolutely hilarious, especially when done in this movie’s dire tone. But hey, Rapey Undead Demon Dad works too. But not as well as Vengeful Ghost Horse, let’s be honest with ourselves.

Right! Now to actually explain the story! Molly and Tim are newlyweds, and they have moved into Molly’s old family home because they’re broke. Tim is a truck driver, so he doesn’t get to spend much time with his darling wife who also happens to be a recovering heroin addict. Lovely lovely! Soon, creepy things start happening, and Molly slowly begins to flip out. Most of her madness involves seduction and cannibalism, which would be much more entertaining if the malevolent entity was just a horse. Instead of all that inane would-be creepy singing, there could be whinnies and neighs. Lovely Ghost Horse made me do it, officer.

Lovely MollyIn short, the only reason you need to see this movie is to understand all the jokes I made while reviewing it. See? It’s kind of like an entrapment scheme. Now that you know my glorious sense of humor has shone light upon this horsey booby spectacle, you have no choice but to view it by whatever means are available to you. I used Netflix, just so ya know.

Ryan Turek of ShockTillYouDrop offers much tamer and less spoiler-filled review of Lovely Molly. Isn’t it a shame that you’ve already indulged in my sparkling potpourri of goofy horse oriented opinions? Read different words about the same thing right here: http://www.shocktillyoudrop.com/reviews/169235-review-lovely-molly/



Devil’s Pass, Ignore the Box Art

Devil's Pass

There are no naked brunettes buried waist-deep in snow. You should know better than to think that.

Devil’s Pass was one of those few shockumentaries that I was was better. It had a good premise and an excellent buildup, but fumbled the big reveal. It’s one of the few movies of its kind that is neither horrendous nor outright amazing, which is an achievement all in itself. I imagine it would have been on-par with the Blair Witch Project if it hadn’t been so eager to explain the supernatural goings-on within. I lost interest at the halfway point, when the team discovers a mysterious something in the snow and eventually decides to investigate it. I’m sur eyou’ll agree with me when I say that the ambiguous unknown is a greater spook factor in horror movies than being chased around by some creature. That in mind, let’s begin.

Devil's PassDevil’s Pass follows a group of students who are researching the disappearance of nine Russian skiers who vanished mysteriously in the Dyatlov Mountain Pass of Russia in 1959. Some initial news reports and illegally acquired video footage suggest that the students vanished just as the skiers had, which isn’t much of a spoiler, because we all know how horror movies like to repeat past tragedies. Introductory spookfest noted, I feel the real tension begins to build when the crew first has drinks at the base of the Ural mountain range. They tell the bartender about their project, and he offers them the very same drinks the Russians had on their way up. Blatant foreshadowing, perhaps? Oh yes. On top of that, the hints at a government conspiracy certainly amplify the viewer’s sense of “just what the crap went on up there?”

Once they’re up in the mountains, eerie things start happening, and their technology begins to malfunction. Can’t have a good sense of isolation with all these communicating gadgets and gizmos in the way! It’s moments like these that make me ask myself if I really want an explanation. After receiving one, my immediate response was no, but that’s the trouble with magic tricks. Once you know how they’re done, the wonder is gone. Anyway, one of the greater lines is dropped during a nighttime camping sequence, not minutes before the discovery of the mysterious thing in the snow. That was the highest point for me.

Devil's PassNow, despite the fact that the big reveal was disappointing, I’d rather avoid spoiling it. If you end up watching the movie, please leave a comment and tell me what you thought of the buildup and the latter half. I’m aware of the fact that I compare absolutely every found footage movie to the Blair Witch, but that sets a high bar, damnit. Part of the charm was that the characters and plot were so down-to-earth you could imagine yourself there with them, shivering in a tent, afraid of the fucking baby out there. With Devil’s Pass? Not so much. I can’t envision myself running away from Russian soldiers or being haunted by a yeti.

Scott Foundas of Variety wound up getting the same mediocre-positive impression; they could have done MORE with the film. More in this case means less, because explaining everything isn’t a very good idea when you’re trying to scare people. Unless the explanation is scary. But it wasn’t. Bit of an image-spoiler in the coming link, but it doesn’t give anything critical away! http://variety.com/2013/film/reviews/devils-pass-review-1200586363/

Last Kind Words it Not Quite Horror but Not Bad at All

Last Kind Words

Last Kind Words is essentially a Southern folk tale turned movie. It revolves around the dead coming back to life after being lynched, providing their bodies haven’t been cut down from the tree they were hung from. It’s hardly a horror movie, though, despite its dire cover. I’d consider it more of a… spiritual romance, I suppose.

Eli and his family have moved into the backwoods of Kentucky to work on an isolated farm for an equally isolated man. While that in itself is rather dull, the superstition-guarded forest nearby offers plenty of exploratory entertainment when the idle hours run long.

Last Kind WordsEli happens upon a red-haired lass by the name of Amanda during one woodland stint, and they become fast friends. And, despite the fact that he’s already seeing a city girl named Katie, Eli wants to know what’s up with this mysterious new girl.

The property owner, Weylon, is firmly set against Eli’s exploration, and is especially unsettled when he hears about Amanda. It seems as though there are more than bodies buried deep in the Kentucky backwoods
Last Kind WordsThat’s the gist of it, anyway. There are several other components that I neglected to mention, such as Eli’s mother’s debt, Eli’s abusive father, and the connection between Weylon and Amanda, but those are best left to be discovered. Overall, Last Kind Words is a lovely film; it incorporates horror elements to create a sweet story that uses plot-related tension to build up to a climactic and relieving end.

The unnamed but articulate writer of Horror-Movies.ca noticed the discrepancy between box art and film as well, which is kind of unfortunate, because a cliché cover like that can really push skeptical horrorgoers away. He/she also notes the lack of jump-scares, which further cements the fact that Last Kind Words is not a horror movie, rather favoring “simple gothic ghost story.” I normally stay away from somber tales, but this one has quite the appeal to it, and a lovely musical selection to boot. Very serene. Here’s the alt review link: http://www.horror-movies.ca/last-kind-words-2012-review/

V/H/S/2, Mega Murder Mayhem

VHS2

V/H/S/2 was alright.

What, you want more from me? It’s a sequel of a compilation of horror shorts filmed by people who sometimes don’t know what they’re doing. This time around, the quality fluctuates rather noticeably. I’ll run through each short independently for the sake of keeping things clean and orderly, okay? Okay. Oh, and yeah, beware of boobs. There are plenty. Maybe? Nah, just two sets. Four total. On two different people though.

The overlying story. It revolves around two people trying to blackmail a guy and find some lady’s son. Also boobs at the very start. Best chest forward, right? They end up watching a bunch of home movies. Everyone dies. 4/10 for tying things together but doing so very plainly. A guy shoots his jaw off, which is pretty cool.

VHS2Robot eyeball story. A man has a synthetic eye installed into his brain, and it has a camera because the company that gave it to him decided that they want to test it that way. Privacy is overrated. The guy starts seeing ghosts, a girl comes over and says that spontaneous sex will scare ghosts away, but then it doesn’t. Everyone dies. 5/10 for an interesting camera concept, but icky mirror gimmicks and arbitrary boobs.

Cyclist zombies. They don’t actually ride bikes. A cyclist puts a bunch of cameras on his helmet and bike, and then stops to save a woman who is actually a zombie. She bites his neck-meat and they go around eating people. Main zombie guys blows his face off with a found shotgun after getting a call from his girlfriend that reminds him of his humanity. The girlfriend is only ever on the phone, so she doesn’t die. 5/10 for zombie 1st person perspective, but generic enough that the magic fades quickly.


VHS2Indonesian pedophile cult
. This one’s pretty neat. A film crew explores a cult of the aforementioned nature, which is led by a character titled Father. They learn about the unusual practices that occur within, and then the only female crewmember turns out to be pregnant. Things quickly spin out of control as Satan explodes out of her uterus. 7/10 for being interesting despite crappy effects and an obnoxious, Blair Witch-Beelzebub hybrid ending. Oh, also, almost everyone dies.

Naked beige alien invasion. I hate everyone in/everything about this short. It’s about a bunch of annoying kid-friends interrupting people having sex and then being caught masturbating. And then naked beige aliens come in and eat everyone. -255/1 (you didn’t think the numbers actually measured anything tangible, did you?) for being the worst possible cinematographic amalgamation of kitschy horror clichés I’ve ever detected with my ocular accoutrements. That last sentence gets 10/10. And yes, everyone dies. Including the kid that got abducted.


VHS2V/H/S/2. It’s alright
. Skip the zombie and alien bits, alright? VHS the first had it goin’ on, what with its glitchy serial killer, naked harpy lady, lesbian neck-slasher, and- well, the generic screaming ghost girl was yuck, but the ratio of good minis to bad is superior to its descendant. You should watch both right now, one after the other. Do it. You’ll love it.

OH. Well, ex-CUSE me Kofi Outlaw of ScreenRant. I guess the SECOND one is better! It sure is all STREAMLINED and EFFICIENT! Nah, I’m just being facetious. Comparing them two movies is basically weighing two lard-filled balloons on a scale to see which one is heavier. I mean, even if you found out… they’re still just lard-filled balloons. You can probably blow it up for a laugh, but it’s only good for one go. Terrible allegory aside, here’s the link for the review by Professor Cinematograph: http://screenrant.com/vhs-2-reviews/


An American Horror Story: Murder House, Love it to Death

An American Horror Story: Murder House

I made the mistake of thinking that An American Horror Story: Murder House was a film rather than a TV series, thus spent most of the evening and early morning riding out the thrills and spooks. That’s how it goes with Netlix. Overlook a few things, and badaboom, you’re watching a twelve episode horror-drama from beginning to end in one sitting. Gosh it was fun.

An American Horror Story embodies ghostly horror and a measure of blood and gore that is conveyed by makeup effects all too well. I find the blend of backstory, drama, and scares easy to stomach and tough to find boring. It’s managed to spook me out a few times, but the horror aspect tends to be absorbed by the flow of events and development of characters; a lingering thematic nuance that rears its head when things turn dire or when a particular moment requires vivification. The characters themselves are particularly strong as well. Even the antagonists have stories that haunt them.
An American Horror Story: Murder HouseThe setting for the first season is a ritzy old haunted house in Los Angeles, aptly named “Murder House” due to the high number of deaths that occurred within its grounds since its construction in 1992 by Dr. Charles Montgomery. Dr. Montgomery was an ether-addicted surgeon who resorted to secretly giving women supplied by his estranged wife, Nora, abortions to keep the money coming in.

One day, one of the angry would-have-been daddies kidnaps the Montgomery baby and returns its dismembered body parts in preservative jars. Dr. Montgomery develops a Frankenstein complex and miraculously manages to revive the child with a combination of animal parts and a still-beating heart from one of his abortion clients. Nora, shocked, shoots her husband in the head before doing the same to herself.

Theirs are the first of many deaths that blight the infamous Murder House and leave discontent spirits to linger within. The Harmon family not only has to deal with knowing that such terrible things happened in their home, but has to survive the manic apparitions of every person that dies within the grounds.

An American Horror Story: Murder HouseBen Harmon, Vivien Harmon, and their gloomy daughter Violet Harmon move into the house to seek a “new beginning,” ever since Ben cheated on his wife with one of his students and was caught red-handed. Between dealing with home intruders, spectral children, and increasing paranoid tension, the Harmon family seems consistently on the border of exploding into emotional chaos. It does at one point, but I really don’t want to ruin any surprises. As I said, season one is available on Netflix, so if that service is available to you, go ahead and give it a watch.

Metacritic’s collective impression of An American Horror Story: Murder House is generally positive. It’s praised for its unpredictability and originality, along with an excellent cast. I find the cast to be particularly endearing, and their characters believable. I can’t deny my love for makeup effects, and in that regard this series delivers. I do so hope you feel the same way. Here’s a potpourri of reviews for you to consider: http://www.metacritic.com/tv/american-horror-story

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