‘American Horror Stories: Lake’ Review

by Frank Martin

The final episode of American Horror Stories second season feels a lot like a missed opportunity. The episode starts off tremendously strong, as stories usually do when they begin with a tragedy. It also had some great ambience and tone that made for some fun horror sequences. The problem came about halfway through when the episode tried to give justification for its horror and expand the plot. It also wanted to give purpose and arcs to its characters. By itself, these developments weren’t problematic, but the way in which they were executed left the episode feeling a bit forced and contrived.

1990s icon Alicia Silverstone stars as a mourning mother who just lost her son (Bobby Hogan) in a drowning accident at their lake house. She’s soon haunted by his ghost, compelling her to find his body. When she and her daughter (Olivia Rouyre) investigate what happened, they discover a dark secret involving the lake’s origins. It turns out that her husband’s (Teddy Sears) family committed grave sins to profit off of the lake and the story ends with the dead souls the lake had claimed taking the husband down into its depths.

On paper, it is fairly compelling. There is strong emotion and pathos to the family’s history with the lake and it actually constitutes a nice twist. Unfortunately, all of this information was revealed through two large exposition dumps that were both boring and lazy. The first half of the episode had a great story that showed the audience how horrific this tragedy was. But the second half tied the tragedy to the family’s history not by showing but by telling the audience how it all went down. This episode started off strong and it looked to be a great closing story to the season. Unfortunately, it tapered off towards the end and never quite delivered the way it should have.

American Horror Stories is now streaming on Hulu.

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