American Horror Story: Asylum Review

American-Horror-Story-poster-Asylum (1)I’ve just finished watching the second season of Ryan Murphy and Brand Falchuk’s American Horror Story and already, I’m frothing at the mouth to see the third season. Yes, that’s how good it was, even if I’m not a big fan of the alien abduction part of the season.

Sister Jude Martin (Jessica Lange) leads Briarcliff, an asylum operated by the Church with an iron hand. She is not beyond using unorthodox methods to ensure that the facility runs smoothly, all because she believes that she can help Monsignor Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes) make a name for himself in the Vatican and be the next pope. But the order at Briarcliff is shattered with the arrival of Kit Walker (Evan Peters) who is being accused of murdering his wife and several other women by beheading them and skinning them, earning him the monicker Bloody Face. As Briarcliff tries to deal with the circus that Walker’s arrival has created, a persistent reporter Lana Winters (Sara Paulson) goes beyond every boundary to get the Bloody Face story and finds herself trapped in the asylum along with the loonies. She finds an ally in the person of Dr. Oliver Threadson (Zachary Quinto) who seems to be the only logical and trustworthy person amid all the chaos.

Asylum is very different from the first season of American Horror Story and it was pretty interesting to see the actors play different characters from the ones they have been identified with in the previous season. While Season 1 is complicated yet straightforward in its storytelling, Asylum throws in several different concepts and mixes them together to form a story that deals with angels and demons, aliens, nazis, corruption in the church, insanity, murder and deceit.

I must say that I preferred Season 1 to Season 2 but as a standalone, Season 2 was no less intelligently written, visually stimulating and mentally disturbing. The twists and turns that the story takes, the flashbacks and the fastforwards to the present were all very thought provoking and suspenseful. Still, I had my favorite characters — Kit Walker (Evan Peters) was one of them. His situation can be described as weird at best, but I loved his genuine kindness, such as contrast to the darkness of the character of Tate Langdon (played by Peters)  in the first season. It was just a pity that the story did not explain why he was chosen by the aliens and what made him so special. I also like Sister Jude because of her strength and intelligence. I love damaged characters and I for one, am a big fan of Jessica Lange’s character in the second season. Dylan Mcdermott’s character as Bloody Face’s son, Johnny also deserves praise despite coming into the series late. Dylan gave him dimensions that even the original Bloody Face did not have.

Storywise, cinematography wise, directionwise, I have no complaints. I’m still not that sold on the alien angle though, but the series made it work out in the end.

All in all, American Horror Story: Asylum was excellent. Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine’s guest appearance may have been marketed to boost ratings but sadly, his acting still needs a lot of work. I believe that even without him, the series would have been just as strong, maybe even stronger (Sorry, Adam). Here are some hints of what is to come in Season 3 but if you want to know what I thought of Season 1, check out my review here.