Urban legends are always a great source of inspiration for horror stories. Bloody Mary is one that has spread far and wide and has roots in many different cultures, so it’s no surprise that American Horror Stories tapped into it for an episode. The story puts its own twist on the mythology by having Bloody Mary be a Black woman with ties to local history. It’s a fresh and interesting spin on what is otherwise a classic ghost story. And when placed within the larger context of American Horror Story, it’s a rare solid entry into the franchise for this season.
The story focuses on four teens who summon Bloody Mary to try and have their dreams come true. Unfortunately, the teens have to do terrible things to make that happen. One by one, the girls fail to follow through on their end of the bargain, which leads to their demise. There are several twists at the end that, unfortunately, fail to hit their mark. The twists throw off the episode’s own mythology and characterization, but it still gets to the point — a good old-fashioned horror storytelling that fans of the series are sure to enjoy.
American Horror Story works best when it tries to twist American life. This episode stays true to that theme by dealing with the ups and downs of high school and being a teenager. While it might be in line with past American Horror Story episodes, there’s still something about the generic-ness of the plot that doesn’t allow the episode to rise to the top. It plays out roughly like a standard horror movie that any fan has seen countless times. But after several episodes failed to capture the essence of Stories‘ first season, this episode was just good enough to revive some faith in the program and its future.
American Horror Stories streams new episodes Thursdays on Hulu.