Open the door for this week’s home-invasion-themed episode of AMERICAN HORROR STORIES. Husband and wife Jaslyn and Bryce (AHS alums Gabourey Sidibe and Max Greenfield) have moved into a new home in a seemingly safe gated community. After suffering flashbacks of a traumatic childhood home invasion, Jaslyn installs the latest home surveillance technology—a front door camera/app called AURA. Before you can say, “knock, knock, who’s there?” the camera begins to pick up on an unwelcome visitor at the couples’ doorstep. The episode plays with the creepypasta images and videos we’ve all seen of weirdos hanging outside people’s front doors caught in eerie night vision recordings. Ultimately what’s most frightening about this episode is that you never know who could be standing on the other side of your door.

This felt like one of the series’ stronger episodes. Despite what is ultimately a silly and poorly-delivered explanation of the primary plot device, the episode maintained a high level of suspense by playing on the universal fear of home invasion. Well-written-and-portrayed characters contributed to this as well. Sidibe doesn’t fall into the typical tropes of a horror heroine; even when she’s afraid, she is reasonable and makes intelligent choices. Greenfields’ later scenes showcase his acting strengths.

After last week’s so-so premiere, I’m excited to see what more this season offers. Was it perfect? No. Did I overlook a couple of silly moments and plot holes? Of course. But I had fun watching it. This further proves that the micro-anthology format works much better for the franchise than the full-series version.

Ricky J Duarte

[He/him/his] Ricky is an actor, singer, and writer in New York City. He gets excited about theme parks, Disney villains, and watching horror movies with his cat, and is in constant search of the best taco truck in NYC.

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