Roanoke throwback review
Yesterday I found out that one of my friends is just as obsessed with American Horror Story as I am, and I remembered how much I enjoyed season 6, so here’s a brief review, enjoy.
“All monsters are human”
The sixth season of FX’s TV show, American Horror Story, titled Roanoke has brought interesting changes to the anthology, and in some ways it’s a turning point for the series.
The major differences are mostly cosmetic changes, for instance not having an intro sequence, waiting until the last moment to announce the theme of the season, which they usually do months in advance, and having only ten episodes in the new season. But this time around creator Ryan Murphy decided not to go with his usual formula, meaning having a season build around one core theme and set of characters. In Roanoke, we can see a sort of TV show inside of a TV show scenario. According to the story, the survivors of a series of terrible supernatural events tell their story in a hit show called ‘My Roanoke Nightmare’ and have professional actors reenact what’s happened to them. This first inside show is often already a gory, blood curdling sight, but Murphy sets in the real horror at mid-season. ‘My Roanoke Nightmare’ became the most popular show in that year. It drew a lot of attention, which becomes interesting regarding the survivors, who already carry an incredible amount of PTSD and are now forced to stand in front of thousands of fans and are constantly followed by cameras. The actors who played them, on the other hand, are more than happy to receive their newfound fame. The greedy TV company obviously wants to make a sequel, and they succeed. Using the drama that’s built around the survivors’ personal life, they get them to also sign for the next season, ‘Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell”. Both the “real life” people and the actors who played them are now locked into the infamous house in North Carolina, during the time of year when all the horror happened to the survivors. Murphy showcases the incredible amount of greed TV companies have, and the lengths they will go to get more profit and would basically sell people in order to it.
American Horror Story has always been more than just scary tales. It’s about human qualities, good and bad. The greed and stupidity of producer Sidney James leads him and his entire crew into their deathtrap. Lee Harris returns to prove she didn’t kill her husband despite what everyone says about her. Shelby Miller comes back to win back her ex-husband and wash her reputation clean after being caught together with her ex’s show counterpart, Dominic. The actors come back because they think doing a reality show is the easiest way to make more money and become more famous. They don’t really get along with the people they played. Audrey claims to know Shelby better than she does herself, because she played her for three months straight. But soon enough they have to learn to drop their grudges and prejudices in order to stay alive, when the spirits of the Roanoke colony come to kill them for trespassing in their property. Or at least they should’ve. The survivors have lost faith after finding themselves in the same situation, given they only survived the first time around because of an accident. The actors still think it’s the producer, Sidney playing tricks on them, not knowing he is long gone by that time. Most of them die fairly quickly, the remaining survivors have to think straight in midst of all the horror. Hell is unleashed when Shelby impulsively kills her ex-husband, then herself. Audrey and Lee blame Dominic for her death, who only happened to find her corpse, and leave him behind to die. The friendship between the two of them is the most promising, although when Lee gets under the effect of a curse and turns against Audrey, she ultimately ends up dead, leaving Lee as the only survivor. This is what Murphy does best. It’s not the monsters who kill the characters, it’s themselves. All these awful qualities that we carry as humans, greed, ignorance, hate, jealousy, have led those people to their destiny. The viewers can really reflect on themselves while watching, maybe even relate to them. The suffering mother who only wanted the best for her daughter, the woman who lost the man that kept her sane after all the trauma, the actress who lost the love she was longing for for so long.
These characters have depth, complex personalities and the real horror sets in once we get to know them and realize what they all reality lost throughout the journey. Themselves.