American Horror Story is one of the most successful branches of television horror to have ever been broadcast. Branching across seven self-contained series, they take the familiar conventions of horror and twist them into new gratuitous territory.
Cult begins with the 2016 US Presidential election, which sees the rise of Trump and the fallout that it has on Ally (Sarah Paulson), a woman whose life with her wife, Ivy (Alison Pill) and son takes a turn for the worst with the re-emergence of her previous phobias, particularly that of clowns, holes and blood. Meanwhile, Kai Anderson (Evan Peters), a lone outsider, has been emboldened by the Trump victory and begins to ‘reclaim his rights’, both in society and out on the streets. However, when a series of murders begin to happen, instigated by a group dressed as clowns, and Ally’s phobia further impacting on her family’s life, the real consequences of that election are only just starting.
American Horror Story has always blended the traditional elements of horror: ghosts, vampires, witches, etc. with a commentary on the true American horror stories such as prejudice, paranoia and the madness of the world that we live in. Cult is the first series that deals primarily with the real demons that lurk in society and, when coupled with the paranoia that is created by social media and terrorism, terrifies people into the cult-like behaviours that can follow. This atmosphere of paranoia and terror is brilliantly brought to life by AHS regulars Paulson and Peters. This is coupled with strong supporting performances from Cheyenne Jackson, Billy Eichner and Colton Haynes, as well as appearances by Chaz Bono and John Carroll Lynch as Twisty the Clown from previous AHS outing Freak Show. However Cult, like previous AHS series, does have to overstretch certain plot points to fill the eleven episodes of the series. Nevertheless, Cult is a stand out addition to the AHS series, mostly due to its portrayal of real horrors.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY: CULT /CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: SARAH PAULSON, EVAN PETERS, BILLIE LOURD, ALISON PILL, CHEYENNE JACKSON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW