A classic urban legend is poorly reimagined in this weeks American Horror Stories.

After a night of drinking, dancing, and anonymous fraternization, frequent nightclub-goer Marci (unlikably portrayed by AHS newbie Bella Thorne) finds herself pursued by a menacing tailgater on her drive home. Despite warnings from her best friend/wing-woman and her husband (more on him later) about a serial killer targeting clubbers, Marci insists on continuing her unruly ventures while also trying to find the identity of the reckless driver who followed her from the club. Oh, and there’s a rip-off of a famous urban legend in there somewhere too.

The open relationship between Marci and her bland husband, Chaz (played by the not bland Anthony De La Torre), takes up a lot of screen time yet does nothing to propel the story forward, instead feeling like filler in a story that didn’t have a lot of extra time to waste, to begin with.

Short-form horror anthology storytelling requires the writing to be direct and to the point: get in, create an exciting premise, make us care about the characters, deliver an unforeseeable plot twist, and get out. Unfortunately, I think this particular episode attempted to pack too much into a 40-minute timespan…and yet somehow, I don’t think there was enough to extend the story any longer. Basing a story on an urban legend we’ve all heard should have worked as a quick/easy (cheap) way to set up a story, but it took too long to get to the legend, and the “reimagined” aspect was far too predictable. The story moved too quickly for any sort of suspense to build, and yet it didn’t move fast enough to get to the point in time.

After last week’s much better episode, AURA, I had hopes for the new season of this hit-or-miss series. However, this week just brings flashbacks of last season’s frequent disappointments and “plot twists” that fell flat. I can usually at least admit a bad episode was fun to watch, but I can’t even pretend to have enjoyed this one. Based on the every-other-week pattern I’m noticing, maybe the next episode will bring a better story…and some real scares.

Ricky J Duarte

[He/him/his] Ricky is a writer, actor, and singer. He's also the host of Rick or Treat Horrorcast, a biweekly horror movie podcast. He lives in a super haunted apartment in New York City above a giant, spooky cemetery with his evil cat, Renfield, and the ghosts of reasons he moved to New York in the first place. www.RickOrTreat.com

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