Choice Movies of 2019 (or: Disney Will Make Another $7 Billion in a Year)

2019 is going to be an absolute pleasure for me to spend tens of dollars per movie to spend my time in theaters this year. Sitting in a big ass faux-leather sticky chair that a 200+ pound man sat in and left a damp residue? Feeling like a human vibrator in my seat because the theaters speakers are so unnecessarily fucking loud? And all just by breaking the bank and spending a quarter of my pay check each time? Yes, please!

Most of the top grossing movies in 2018 were Disney since it’s slowly taking over the entertainment industry and world. Disney made over $7 billion last year just in theaters. SICKENING. This was the second time Disney crossed over $7 billion (doing it initially in 2016). Thanks in major part to Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Incredibles 2, Disney definitely raped and pillaged the town that is the movie industry. Regardless, I’ll join them in pillaging, as 2019 is looking bright with choice movies being released.

 

January

Glass Movie Poster

1/18/19

Sure, this month is halfway over already. Things that are completely over already: your New Year’s resolution to better yourself as a human being. Things that are not over; M. Night Shyamalan’s career! One of my favorite director’s endured a literal decade of “awful” movie releases, from The Village, to The Happening, to The Last Airbender, to After Earth. He got back on the map with The Visit and then surprised a lot of people with Split. Glass serves as a follow up to Split (a surprise liaison to 2000’s Unbreakable) and will have been a 20 year experience in the making.  I’m not expecting too much action since two of the 3 main focal points are older actors- Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson- but it should prove to be unique to watch.


February

2/8/19

The greatly awaited sequel to the smart The Lego Movie (2014) should be equally delightful. Wrapped in wit and great visuals, the first movie had a good voice cast with Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, and Will Arnett. I definitely have my concerns with The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part having the “sequel curse.”  Since it’s directed by the man behind Trolls, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, and Shrek Forever After, it may have potential to just be cute and silly and not smart like the first Lego movie.  Additionally, the voices added to the sequel will include Tiffany Haddish, Nick Offerman, and Arturo Castro, all of whom are fine, just not sensational to me. I’ll remain optimistic for now.

 

Image result for happy death day 2 poster

2/14/19

Taking in $120 million from its meager $5 million budget, the predecessor, Happy Death Day, did a lot of the right things in allowing it to be a successful horror slasher. The last couple of years have been great for horror movies, so Happy Death Day 2 U (I’ll give it to them, that’s pretty clever) has a good chance of being a solid sequel. With the same director as the first one, this sequel looks like it will be equally smart with plot devices and well-timed humor. I wish the killer’s mask was creepy, but hey- coming out on Valentine’s Day gets me aroused as it is.


March

Related image

3/8/19

Wonder Woman 2 Captain Marvel plans to make some money moves. Taking notes (for once) from DCCEU world with the successes of Aquaman and Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel looks to be following the path of Wonder Woman; both are directed by women and focus on female leads. I’m not knocking this, I love a good female-driven movie. HELLLOoOooOoo?! But we all know my thoughts on Brie Larson

Image result for i said what i said meme

(and if you don’t recall, help yourself to my old post on Kong: Skull Island )- I like the cheese, but not her talent-less ass. Also, I feel Captain Marvel‘s pace is going to draw at a glacial pace with lots of build up and dramatic flare leading to a fantastic second half. The directors, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, aren’t known for much in the directing department other than a couple of unheard of movies and some TV show episodes. Captain Marvel will be a “prequel” to Avenger: Infinity War, but also help explain just how in God’s name is this character going to save humanity after the chaos that ensued at the end of Avengers. This, if nothing else, will bring in a big audience.  I, alone, am excited about the movie taking place in 1995 (*bows in front of a Blockbuster).

 

Us Movie Poster

3/22/19

Jordan Peele is treating us once again as Get Out made such a remarkable statement and marking in 2017. The premise of Us is simple in that a family encounter some “visitors” when they go to their beach house. The trailer serves its purpose without being too lengthy or showing too much- it leaves you wondering what the hell is going on? If it’s anything like Get Out, I’m pumped.

 

Dumbo Movie Poster

3/29/19

OH SHIT! Disney continues their live-action remakes of its earlier animated films. Tim Burton is going to deliver, and you fucking know it. We’ll see Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito (who haven’t been in a movie together since Burton’s Batman Returns from 1992!). Tim Burton always leaves an impression on you with each movie he directs. The animated Dumbo from 1941 was fucking depressing, and I have no doubt this movie will make me so sad and ultimately become an elephant activist by the end of the year.


 April

Image result for the curse of la llorona poster

4/19/19

Based on Latin American folklore, this James Wan production could be another good horror movie. It follows a a widow who is haunted by “the Weeping Woman.” I’m appreciating how we have a horror movie that’s not based on an American haunt and also has a sizable cast of Latin American actors.  The trailer shows very little of the movie, which you know I always respect. The one major jump scare in it is a classic misdirection!

 

Image result for avengers endgame poster

4/26/19

Just two months after Captain Marvel and one year after the previous Avengers movie, Endgame has been as secretive as a sophomore schoolgirl about Billy Lee asking Susie to the prom with his pin. The trailer (I imagine we’ll get a bigger one during the Super Bowl) doesn’t show much save for a few things of note: the Hulk is ready to fuck shit up, Hawkeye is done dicking around, Captain America is probably gonna dieeeee, and Ant-Man shall return with his zany shenanigans.


May

Image result for detective pikachu poster

5/10/19

It holds promise because (A) it’s been nearly 20 years since America got a wide-released Pokemon movie and (B) fucking Ryan Reynolds voices Pikachu! Genuine concern ensues in seeing that Rob Letterman directing this movie. He’s remembered for 2015’s Goosebumps, but also Shark Tales and Gulliver’s Travels. Still, is seems to be the Pokemon movie we’ve all been waiting for for some time, as a live-action/animated movie hybrid.

 

The star plays the magical Genie.

5/24/19

Guy Ritchie (director of Snatch and the Sherlock Holmes movies) is going to tear us a new asshole with this redo. If you ask me, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Pocahontas made up the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirits of Disney’s animated movies in the 90s. This movie will surely have me doing the sign of the cross, as I’m already psyched without even seeing an actual trailer.  Casting was smart in keeping it ethnically appropriate with some sexy-ass faces: Naomi Scott (Jasmine), Mena Massoud (that damn street rat), and Marwan Kenzari (Jafar). I’m still not sure about how I’m physically feeling about Will Smith as the Genie, but I imagine his performance will supersede his creepy appearance.

 

5/31/19

The wondrous director that is Michael Dougherty (Krampus; Trick ‘r Treat) will doubtfully let us down. It will serve as the sequel to the flawless Godzilla (2014), which already had amazing special effects and two monsters fucking shit up against Godzilla. Now you’re telling me there will be three monsters in the sequel?! A big ass lamp-loving moth, a big ass pterodactyl, and Godzilla’s sworn three-headed enemy. WHERE DO I SIGN UP? Stunning Vera Farmiga and America’s sweetheart, Millie Bobby Brown, are added to the cast.


June

Image result for child's play poster 2019

6/21/19

Although a remake we didn’t necessarily ask for, Child’s Play is aiming high for a horror movie with a summer release. No trailer as of yet, but it’s set to have Parks and Recreation‘s Aubrey Plaza and Gabriel Bateman, the little kid who does pretty well with scary shit in Lights Out. Could be a hit that’ll surely miss, as it comes out the same day as Toy Story 4, but I’m a sucker for a good horror movie.

 

Toy Story 4

Although, admittedly, another sequel we didn’t quite ask for, this addition to the Toy Stories is a guarantee to please.  It seems like it’s going to be a carnival setting, which could be refreshing. New voices of Keanu Reeves and the Key & Peele couple are probably going to be treats. A trailer is allegedly coming soon.


July

Untitled Annabelle Film (2019)

7/3/19

Production is being tight-lipped about, what is likely to be, a Fourth of July sparkle to my eye. Debut directorial of Gary Dauberman (although he’s written for the Anabelle movies and the It movies), the untitled third Annabelle will take place around the same time as The Conjuring; so, we’ll get to see Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga come back at the Warrens. Annabelle was good, and Annabelle: Creation was fucking spectacular. Hopefully, we can only continue to go up from there.

 

Image result for lion king 2019

7/1919

I already went on my Disney soap box. You know I ain’t mad. Jon Favreau directed The Jungle Book (2016) brilliantly, so I expect nothing less with this redo.  James Earl Jones is returning, thank Jesus. And with Beyonce voicing Nala, you know 72% of the world that sees her as God are surely going to lose their shit and flock to the theaters.


(August doesn’t exist in the realm of great movies)


September

Image result for it chapter 2 poster

9/6/19

It (2017) made so many buckets of cash and broke so many records, and I could not be prouder. Keeping the same director and same Bill as Pennywise (nods to the Gods), this sequel did nicely with casting the adult versions of the children from It, as this will take place 27 years later. I’m looking forward to seeing James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Hader. I read that the Pennywise’s final form won’t be that ridiculous spider thing like it was in the 1990 version, so let’s hope it’s cooler.


October

Image result for addams family 2019

10/18/19

The directors of Sausage Party will direct this unrated animated revision of the timeless dysfunctional family. It’s distributed by MGM, which isn’t really known for animated released (besides Igor. lol. stahp). Still, the cast is looking very promising: Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Bette Midler, and Allison Janney.


November

Image result for frozen 2

11/27/19

With the same cast and directors and the first Frozen, this sequel was pretty much a guarantee after the first movie made over $1 billion worldwide, remains the biggest opening during a Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S., and became Disney’s most successful non-Pixar animated release. I’m sure it’ll make tanks of money, I just wonder if it can have the charm of the first one and hold a flame to the catchy “Let It Go” song that you still hear five years later.

December

Image result for star wars ix

12/20/19

Directed again by J.J. Abrams (now that Rian Johnson wasted out time with Episode VIII), the untitled third part of the trilogy (and 9th installment of the Star Wars saga) has given us little information other than it takes places one year later from Episode VIII and is going to make you moist.

Advertisements

“… it seems like a movie hatched because someone had access to an amusement park and knew a lot of people in the makeup and lighting department.” -the Austin Chronicle

Image result for hell fest poster

Movies that come to theaters in September typically don’t stand a chance. Such is the case with Hell Fest, directed by Gregory Plotkin (the man behind the sixth Paranormal Activity). Hell Fest is a slasher horror movie through and through with bad acting that never gets better. Akin to the premise of the fantastic Funhouse (1981), Hell Fest feels more like a Halloween-special version of Pretty Little Liars. Each character fulfills the stereotype of the slasher horror to a T. There is the protagonist who knows something is up and has “the most sense”. The side characters include: the handsome male love interest; the comic relief;and  the girl who doesn’t take shit from no one. Genuinely, I couldn’t wait for each and every character to get killed off. The slower, the better.

The masked killer, without giving anything away with the “twist” at the end that was as much of a twist as me coming out, does not any elicit fear whatsoever. We are immediately introduced to the back of his head without a mask- a young dude that likes to hum “Pop Goes the Weasel,” wears a hoodie, and chunky boots that cause him to walk like he weighs 300 pounds. Michael Myers makes him look like a puppy named Sprinkles. And the killer’s mask in Hell Fest is dull, lacking in any horror creativity, and looks like a quick purchase from Party City (hence the PLL reference). Moving forward, the scares were dull and numbing. We already expect pop up scares as the characters are in a haunted amusement park. After the fourth or fifth scare while the they walk in the maze, for example, it gets a bit desensitizing.

There are some positives, however. I realize this movie was filmed in a Six Flags theme park, so the setting was an easy given. But the lighting in this movie actually impressed me. Allowing the audience to see in the haunted theme park mazes and walk through is never an easy task without ruining all of the hidden parts of the mazes. The uses of black lights and various colored lights for the atmospheric park lighting were on point. No one appreciates this -_-  Additionally, I thoroughly enjoyed how gruesome the deaths were. I went into this wreck of a movie thinking it was PG-13. So imagine my pleasant surprise in seeing some classic 80s-looking deaths with an R-rating! Sure, they were economical in using fake blood in certain scenes, but showing a head get smashed in made up for it 🙂

C-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“aNyBoDy eVeR sEe tHe hApPeNiNg oR a qUiEt pLaCe?”- idiots referring to this movie.

Image result for bird box poster

After I read the novel that this movie is based on back in 2014, I was in disbelief of how spooked I was. Legitimately, I had difficulty falling asleep when I’d read Josh Malerman’s novel at night. Film rights were discussed about the novel before it was even released. Production issues arose for a few years, and by 2017 it was set to be a Netflix movie. I was moist with excitement, sure, but concerned as most of the “spooky” Netflix movies I’ve encountered have left much to be desired. Such was not the case with Netflix’s Bird Box.

Before I spread myself all over this bread that is Bird Box, I’d like to give a suggestion and also verbally accost you simultaneously. Read this fucking novel. It is one of the most suspenseful reads I’ve ever had the pleasure of laying my eyes on. Also, don’t even tell me this movie reminded you of A Quiet Place and The Happening, both of which I hold near and dear to my heart (deal with it). Josh Malerman drafted this novel in 2008, a year before The Happening debuted. I’ll also preface my rambling in that this movie is not a horror movie. I put it into the category with Get Out and A Quiet Place, a still-developing new genre of shock and suspense mixed with emotional additives for some dramatic flare.

Sandra Bullock shows a strong performance in Bird Box. The way she portrays a female lead in being forced to accept motherhood during this apocalyptic time was pretty great.  Her two children in this movie are impressive in the acting realm for their age. Aside from the pristine Sarah Paulson and the eye candy Trevante Rhodes, the rest of the acting falls a little flat, mostly thanks to the characters themselves. John Malkovich, for example, plays “that asshole” that you just can’t wait for him to die while watching the movie. A slight hat tilt to Lil Rel Howery for some comedy, albeit unnecessary.

Bird Box does not waste time in having shit go awry with the apocalypse after introducing the protagonist and allowing us to quickly feel for her prior to the mayhem as she is pregnant. The shifts in past and present scenes, while not as annoying as I thought it would be, are done as they were originally in the novel, so I ain’t mad. Furthermore, I shake my fists triumphantly into the air in discussing how violent some of the images are in the movie.  I’m talking- rate this bitch R because they did not get shy in using fake blood like some horror/suspense movies!

This movie is definitely worth viewing and obviously held in higher regard for a Netflix original compared to most of the shit I’ve seen this year in terms of suspense. I’m looking at you The Cloverfield Paradox. I forgive, but I never forget!

B

AHS Apocalypse (series and finale)

Image result for american horror story apocalypse poster

*spoilers ahead, apologetically*

I felt cheated. Lied to.  This season was just a big disguise. Yes, I loved the Coven season, but not to the extent to where I need to see it brought back- especially under false pretenses. This season was a mixed bag for me, because it had some really great moments. And had this season had been laid out differently, it would have been one of my favorite AHS seasons thus far.

Let’s go back to (was it not six months) two months ago when Apocalypse premiered. We heard whispers of definite crossovers. Shit, creators Murphy and Falchuk mentioned this years ago, so it was just a matter of time. So, episodes 1-3 take place in the near future, which is our present time for the series. We are introduced to a majority of characters that are little shits, ultimately giving us few and for fucks in between to even care about them. So when most of the cast gets wiped out at the end of episode 3, I personally already felt cheated. It was all a ruse, as the rest of the season just transitioned into Coven Part II at this point.

For episodes 4-9, we are brought back to the past before episodes 1-3 occur. We gain insights into how Michael Langdon has become who he is in the season’s present as the “Antichrist.” He’s the antagonist of the season, yet every episode from episode 4 through episode 9, he is the focal point of the series, save for the coven characters, who take their sweet ass time in preparing to fight the Antichrist in episode 10. But until then, we endure six episodes of flashbacks, flashbacks to flashbacks, and unnecessary flashbacks (the execution of the Romanov family- come the fuck on!). My point is that, in Murphy/Falchuk deciding to make the primary focus of the show a surprise Coven reboot, all this back and forth shit gets frustrating. (It worked for Lost, so don’t even try me, bitch.) We have to suffer through flashback after flashback because this season was completely rerouted for our witch ensemble.

Image result for american horror story apocalypse finale

So, envision this: six episodes of build-up in anticipation of the final showdown between “good and evil.” That’s a lot of momentum. And it ends up being too much momentum for a 10 minute (more or less) battle with the Coven against the Antichrist. This “battle” was just plain clumsy. The Coven has been preparing for this for, potentially, years. Yet, during the big “spectacle,” people die unnecessarily from lame distractions. I’m all for killing major characters, but make it worth my time. The witches really weren’t all that prepared, so much as hoping that Mallory (Billie Lourd) has all her ducks in a row to replace the amazing Sarah Paulson as Cordelia as the new Supreme in defeating Michael Langdon. Was it enjoyable to finally see the Coven stand against Michael? Sure. Was it worth the time to fuck up the season’s timeline- the short answer is “fucking no.”

In my dream world, this season would have flowed in a normal way from “past” to “present.” Imagine: the show starts off with Michael’s birth. We watch as the sensational Jessica Lange plays Constance in doing her darndest to raise Michael to not indulge in his awful ways. Michael follows his fate in becoming the Antichrist, alarming and allowing the Coven to get their bearings to prepare for the apocalypse, which unfolds as we were warned. The outpost episodes take place; the coven arrives and the showdown occurs.

Wouldn’t that have been fucking easier to digest? But I don’t know much.

 

Series:

C+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Haunting of Hill House (series)

Image result for haunting of hill house poster

*Zero spoilage*

Netflix’s originals are hit and miss. The Haunting of Hill House series is a direct hit. YOU CAN SINK MY BATTLESHIP! Created and directed by Mike Flanagan (known for Hush and Ouija: Origin of Evil), this series is (and I say this with utmost and unbiased confidence) one of the best Netflix series of 2018. This drama/horror (yes, in that order) follows a family of seven in the 90s who recently moved into the notoriously haunted Hill House.

This series serves as a drama and shared some similarities with HBO’s Six Feet Under in a few ways. Without giving away anything, but most obviously, many episodes center around the family’s funeral home.  The use of flashbacks, while enjoyable and did a creative job of allowing viewers to care more deeply about the characters (past and present), it does get a bit confusing in trying to place which flashback scene took place before the other flashback scene. Ultimately, the flashback scenes make sense as far as linear timelines go by the series’ conclusion.

Image result for haunting of hill house bent neck lady

The horror genre for this series is secondary. To be clear, this show is a drama at heart. But when the episodes dabble in the horror genre, they do a lovely dabbling job!  We see some great visuals that are very unique (I never read the novel, sorry ’bout it) with the ghosts of the house. The ghost in Episode 4, “The Twin Thing,” for example, was creeeEEeEePY. And in Episode 5, “The Bent-Neck Lady,” is a great example and a fantastic twist to the series with its ghost. The director uses suspense to his strength. Some scenes keep you holding your breath, not really knowing what to expect. Gasp!

These 10 episodes, while lengthy most times and could shaved off a good 5-10 minutes each episode (some are just over an hour long), portray the story of the characters in a fascinating way. Carla Gugino is always lovely to watch; and this is no exception. Henry Thomas (Elliot from fucking E.T.- STOP!) took some time to grow on me. His character’s depth took some time to build to where you appreciate him more towards the latter episodes. Elizabeth Reaser (Ouija: Origin of Evil) plays the oldest sister, Shirley, in the present. She was the prize piece for me here. Extraordinary job! The fascinating thing about this series with its characters is that it makes the present-day adult versions of the characters difficult to like; it focuses on their human flaws of cheating, substance abuse, telling lies…..eating sugar… And yet I didn’t hate them. They were all coping as adults with the trauma of getting the hell scared out of them as children growing up in Hill House.

Image result for haunting of hill house episode 6

Episode 6 “Two Storms” sealed the deal for me. This episode was filmed in multiple long-take scenes (the longest scene was 17 minutes long in one take). The script comprised of 18 pages for just one scene with no cuts. Many people don’t think much of this, but there is a lot of line-memorization required here, as well as choreography of the camera movements so as not to block any character. The method that this episode was shot truly portrayed how intense it was to have all of the family (as much as possible) together under one roof again since the Hill House incident. This episode required 200 people to make it successfully filmed. A true feat!

The atmosphere and mood of this show lends a large hand to the Hill House itself, which is an actual mansion in LaGrange, Georgia.  The interior scenes that are used from the created set are beautiful to look at. Some of the angles that the cameras are used take advantage of the space and make so many rooms seem eerier than they should be. Overall, this series was easier to binge watch than I expected, much thanks to the haunting ambiance, the story-telling and development of the characters, and the great use of suspense with many episode conclusions.

A-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“There’s, like, 15 [Halloween movies], so it has to be good.”- 17 year old theater ticket taker

Halloween (2018)

I’m in love. And I’ll be as unbiased as possible, as Halloween (1978) is my fifth favorite movie of all time and favorite horror movie of all time. To get all you deep dishes on the same page, this movie serves as a direct sequel to the original from 1978, taking place 40 years later (and in real time). It ignores Halloween II (1981), as well as every other Halloween movie that has came out, including the Rob Zombie reboot.

Best known for Pineapple Express, director David Gordon Green pays homage to the original Halloween beautifully without seeming overdone. The openings credits scene for God’s sake- beautiful! The scene of Laurie Strode’s granddaughter, Allyson, walking down the street with her two friends was reminiscent of the original when Laurie is walking from school with her two gal pals. And when Allyson is in class daydreaming and looks out the window- just like Laurie did in 1978! Oh, how moist I am.

Image result for halloween 2018 smith grove

Michael Meyers, played (in part) by Nick Castle who played him in the original as well, is fucking pissed in this movie. The deaths are everything we’ve always wanted that the 70s and 80s couldn’t successfully do with such little technology at the time. Bloody and brilliant. The stunning thing with this movie is that we see a lot of Michael without his mask in considerable glimpses, like the back and sides of his head and face. And so one would typically become less frightened by him because the audience sees so much of Michael (and I get it- I talk about this rule in horror movies every time). HOWEVER, with knowing pretty much as little about his character’s motives as we did 40 years ago, he is still a behemoth with rage and willingness to kill anyone who gets in his way, remaining spooky af. Not seeing his face does a strange thing for the audience- we don’t feel empathy for him, despite being “in his shoes” a few times in this movie. Being a true fan, though, I admittedly found myself rooting for him at times.

One of my favorite scenes (I probably have about six favorites, since you asked) was the single-shot scene of Michael returning to Haddonfield and obtaining his weapon of choice. The trained eye will recognize how glorious the several-minutes scene is, especially in honoring the similar one-shot opening scene to the first Halloween movie. It also captures how, despite how many people are around you, you’re still not safe in your own home as everyone is caught up in their own little bubble of a world. Maybe I’m on a smartphone soap box. Which leads me to how Director Green’s movie message…

Women empowerment! I can’t give away much, but only a quarter of the kills are female. Also, the men in this movie are, on the whole, just dopey and dumb and, admittedly, deserve to die. Most impressive is Green’s presenting of what Laurie Strode (mentally and emotionally) looks like after 40 years of being overpowered by fear and paranoia of what could happen if Michael came back. The woman is just broken. Jamie Lee Curtis, for the first time since the 1978 film, impressed me. When she played Laurie as an adult in Halloween 7 and 8, her character was just oddly arrogant and easy to dismiss. Here, she is just a shell of a person with her family not understanding why she is the way that she is.

And, sure, there were some holes in Laurie’s preparedness to kill Michael when he returned, despite being trained and ready for him. But “the final showdown” between her and Michael was so suspenseful that I went in full gay mode (ask my husband) – I was clutching imaginary pearls! Overall, Green did nearly everything right with this “sequel,” including having John Carpenter’s son, Cody, compose the sensational soundtrack which, of course, borrowed considerably from the original while, at the same time, gave us some new nuggets to enjoy with our little ears (like when Allyson encounters Michael- SWOOOON!). Tens, tens, tens across the board!

A-

AHS Apocalypse: Episode 2

Image result for ahs morning after

*fat free and mostly spoiler-free*

“The Morning After” wastes little time in diving into how the first episode ended.  The story-line is pretty strong, allowing this episode to pose a lot of questions, as well as continue to tie in with connections from AHS: Murder House (season 1). Mostly dialogue and light on the scares, episode 2 works effectively in a several ways:

  1.  More story is being built.
  2. Some characters are beginning to develop more depth.
  3. More questions are being posed, allowing viewers to want to continue to watch the rest of the season.

The first episode of this season got some rough feedback because it didn’t give us many scares, was too comedic, and didn’t give viewers the tie-in with Coven (season 3) they were “promised.” Unfortunately for those idiot viewers, they will be similarly disappointed with episode 2, which delivers equally enjoyable thrills, laughs, and intrigue as the previous episode. However, here, we’re asking some solid questions (i.e. the end of the episode!?).

The directing of this episode continues to fascinate. Episode 2 shows us the Rubber Man with some great contrasting scenes with him in the darkness or certain corners. I appreciate it most with its taking advantage of what little color is shown in the scenes, specifically scenes within the Outpost- oranges, blacks, grays- just drab colors. But the direction of the episode is unique in having the lesser folks in grey blend with the background until they physically move, for example. I’m prattling. I usually can guess plot points, but the surprise death and the additional twist at the end were not what I was envisioning. Brava!

The acting is finally, but slowly, starting to pick up for some. Sarah Paulson, however, will forever entrance me. She plays more of a “villain” (although if you really look at the big picture, is she?) as Venable. Yet she portrays vulnerability in fear of Langdon but only behind his back; and the scene of her being “tested” with her physical (and emotional) scars- BROWN COW STUNNING! Evan Peters, while I’ll never be a fan, is starting to show some depth and characterization as the sassy (and now kinky…) Gallant, with some well-times humor.

Overall, Episode 2 makes one want to continue watching, despite the sad ratings thus far for this season. Maybe AHS reached its peak back in season 4; maybe following the worst season yet, Cult, left viewers hesitant to even give this season a chance. Regardless, those viewers are, just like I thought….trash.

B+