Pembroke Academy

‘Red Tide’ terrifies

October 21, 2021


Rating: 4/5

After numerous production delays, the long-awaited 10th season of “American Horror Story” has returned and, so far, it was worth the wait. 

The new season, titled “Double Feature,” is split into two parts: “Red Tide” and “Death Valley.” It’s title harkens back to a time when theaters would show two movies for the price of one ticket.

“Red Tide” takes up the majority of the season with six of the 10 total episodes. This half of the season follows a screenwriter named Harry Gardner (Finn Wittrock), his pregnant wife Doris (Lily Rabe) and their young daughter Alma (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) as they move into a  house in Provincetown, Mass., where Harry is attempting to remedy a bout of writer’s block. 

Series regulars including Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Frances Conroy, and Leslie Grossman also make appearances as some of the mysterious townies and characters summoned to The Cape for various motives.

The new season’s format was a breath of fresh air from creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. It was a storyline that felt new and interesting. “Red Tide” also did not interconnect with any past seasons, similar to the previous season, “1984.” 

The plot was interesting and compelling. With a mysterious winter town, shady locals and bald-headed creatures who wreak havoc on Cape Cod, what more could you ask for? “Red Tide” focuses on a black pill called Muse that transforms some artistic nobodies into creative superstars overnight.

Wittrock and Rabe excel in their leading roles. Both actors have had numerous roles since the series’ creation in 2011, but this is their first foray in the spotlight, and they certainly stepped up to the plate.

Wittrock’s acting was superb. He delivers each line purposefully and really inhabits his character. It is clear he understands how to deliver both horror and comedy successfully, keeping the tone consistent throughout the season. 

Rabe, meanwhile, does not disappoint. While her character was unbearable in terms of personality, it is a sign of both great writing and great acting when I can’t stand a character, yet can empathize with them.

While the ending to “Red Tide” left something to be desired, I love fast-paced television and understand that they had to wrap up a season’s worth of plot in six episodes. Still, it seemed abrupt. 

Was it creepy? Of course. Did it do what a horror series is supposed to? Absolutely. But it still just left me wanting more.

This half of “AHS’s” 10th season was definitely successful and has me excited to see “Death Valley” play out in the second half.

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