American Horror Story – Welcome To Briarcliff Online

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Full episode of AHS Asylum S02E01: Welcome To Briarcliff

------------------ Season 2 premiere ------------------

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------------------ Season 2 premiere ------------------

I loved American Horror Story, but AHS: Asylum’s Season 2 premiere, ‘Welcome to Briarcliff, is creepier and scarier than ever. Whereas last year we had a haunted house which followed a familiar if twisted template, Asylum has the element of surprise. We know a haunted house has ghosts, but in an insane asylum anything can happen.

At times, Asylum feels like an all-out attack on the rigidity of organized religion and socially conservative worldviews that attempt to put people into narrow boxes and straitjackets. Yet it’s also a series at war with itself, because it believes that there are situations in which something like organized religion might be necessary. Granted, some of those—like a demonic possession—are the sort that will only come up in stories like this, but the portrayal of Catholicism here is surprisingly nuanced all the same. These are people doing some awful things, yet they have goals and drives and dreams like anyone else might, and when they do extremely terrible things, the show always makes you acutely aware—often clumsily—of their motivations.

Director Bradley Buecker helmed several episodes last season, and this series opener proves to be as good as anything from the previous run from a visual standpoint. Buecker really makes hay with the mental hospital setting, and he emphasises its importance by using multiple match-cuts between 1964 and 2012. Particularly clever was a scene in which Theresa flees down one abandoned hallway by flashlight only for Sister Eunice (Lily Rabe) and Lana to come down the same hallway from the opposite direction, also lit by flashlight. There’s another great match cut later in the episode involving a telltale floor, and it’s just as brilliant as the first one. There’s also a fantastically shot scene involving Kit that I won’t reveal, but it’s the best of its kind I’ve ever seen bar none, including much more expensive variants in movies and on television.


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