‘American Horror Story: Hotel’ reinvents terror

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“American Horror Story: Hotel” premiered Wednesday, Oct. 7 on FX. Many tuned in to see what dark, twisted reality Ryan Murphy wanted to create this year. Murphy did not disappoint. The premiere can be considered one of the best in the five seasons of the show.
For those unfamiliar with the franchise, “American Horror Story” follows a different group of characters each season. The time lines can shift around and the worlds have been seen to be connected with characters in some seasons crossing over into others.

This season is set in the present and follows a group of people that all hold a connection to the Hotel Cortez.

Although the show has 10 actors slated in the main cast, the first episode focuses on five.

Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”) plays John Lowe, a detective whose story the viewers follow for the majority of the episode. Following the loss of his son, Lowe works on a series of cases that involve gruesome deaths as a form of punishment for things they have done. While working, he receives a call that leads him to the hotel. Once there he gets his first glimpse into the insanity behind the walls as he continues to try to solve the crime. Bentley does a great job stepping forward in his scenes and playing his part for the show.

Sara Paulson (“12 Years a Slave”) returns again to the series. Little is known about the full extent of her character, but in the episode she is seen punishing a heroin addict and releasing a prisoner held by Kathy Bates (“Tammy”), whole being a former junkie herself.

Bates’ performance is one that the show could improve on. At the moment, the character sounds eerily similar to the one she portrayed in the past season. The only thing missing is her beard. It is another mother enduring the torture of being trapped in an environment in order to keep her child.

Lady Gaga (“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”) gives one of the stronger performances in the episode. Much is seen of her character, although not much is said. She provides the What is she? factor of the show that most fans feed on. As it progresses, people will get a closer look at what is really happening in the world through her actions.

Finally, there was Matt Bomer (“Magic Mike XXL”) who plays the son of Bates’ character and Gaga’s love interest. Bomer tends to fall back in the episode as the light is shown more on others.

Overall, the show is a good watch. The balance between the characters works and the plot is intriguing enough to make viewers need to see the next episode. One thing the show needs to watch out for is its cast. It can be hard to write a great character when nine others are also pushing for the limelight.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5