American Horror Story: 6.08 Chapter 8
After a couple of week's delay, our American Horror Story season six reviews pick up from where Daniel Theophanous left off, the bloodbath that was Chapter Seven...
Episode eight succumbs to the usual absurd twists and turns we have become accustomed to with American Horror Story Season Six. Things predictably get worse and worse, more blood, more death, more insanity. We have the inbred fleshing eating cannibals, we have territorial supernatural colonials, people gutted to death, throats slashed; our protagonists killed and mutilated, one by one, throughout the episode.
The Polks, the family of hicks who reside in the forest, have managed to capture Lee, Monet and Audrey. This ugly, uncouth family of boys headed by Mama Polk are holding the three captive, torturously taunting them slowly with their knives, guns and the possibility of rape. These scenes in their barn are shown from various CCTV angles, as well as hand held camera recordings by the Polks themselves. We recognize one of them as American Horror Story regular Finn Wittrock playing Jether Polk. Jether is one of the younger members; a simple minded, disgruntled looking coke fiend. Lee manages to seduce him, when they are left alone but after he chews off some of her thigh and cuts off one of her ears off first. Lee gets him to untie her, promising him sexual favours in return and in that moment as she is set free, she attacks him and then kill him. She then proceeds to free Audrey held captive in the other room, by killing mama Polk.
The continuous shifting of camera view, from CCTV to phone camera to hand held, leaves a lot to the imagination. We perhaps become more reliant on sounds, and on the actors. This type of filming does have the benefit of drawing you in more as you are trying hard to decipher what is happening amongst the darkness. There are almost no clear wide angle shots and each scene is brushed with a colour of graininess providing that feeling of real-time realness. A lot of the show does rest on the actors’ shoulders; their capabilities to work within this framework, their ability to credibly convey their terror whilst simultaneously holding a camera phone recording everything whilst supposedly running for their life.
The episode ends with Shelby killing herself by slashing her own throat as the ghosts of the colonials wait outside, finding herself in the same exact position as before, but this time its with the ‘fake’ Matt. Feeling that there is no escape or that she has had enough, she takes her own life, in perhaps the same fashion the colonials may have killed her. Viewers may question why on earth did she go back to the house the second time round. How many horror films do you need to see to to say ‘never go back to the scene’, especially if you managed to come out of it alive the first time. But then one would argue: where’s the story in that?
Viewers may be aware from two episodes ago, when a disclaimer stated that there was only one lone survivor from the subsequent events at Roanoke. In a way this episode seems to be going through the motions a bit; same characters’ different actors, repeating incidents on a continuous loop: from the house to the forest and then back again, with death upon death upon death. Its starts to tire and as we come to the end of episode with still a few remaining characters left, will the ninth instalment be more of the same?