Because after watching Wednesday night’s season premiere of the horror anthology, we were left frightened, intrigued, and mostly confused!
The episode started with the ominous warning “Inspired by true events,” setting up the season’s dual timelines with two sets of actors — one with sit down interviews for a true crime style documentary, and the other in the not-so-distant past retelling what happened.
The season centers around a friendly couple — yoga teacher Shelby and pharmaceutical salesman Matt ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ who move to Roanoke, North Carolina.
Lily Rabe plays the “real” Shelby in the sit down interview, while Sarah Paulson plays her in the reenacted timeline. Andr├â┬⌐ Holland plays present-day Matt, while Cuba Gooding Jr. portrays him the flashback.
Will this storytelling device pay off — perhaps giving us two unreliable narrators — or is Ryan Murphy just paying homage to paranormal reenactment shows? We don’t have the answer yet, but we do know the title of this season is American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare.
The nightmare starts with Shelby and Matt blowing their savings on a beautiful 18th-century farmhouse in North Carolina to get a fresh start — but the three upset hillbillies they outbid weren’t exactly pleased.
After moving in, Shelby starts to get haunted pretty much right away — from strange noises at night to stumbling upon a rain shower of human teeth. (That escalated quickly!) But because this is only episode 1, Shelby decides to stay in the house and calm her nerves with Yoga and wine!
While Matt heads off on a business trip, Shelby has more paranormal encounters. After catching a glimpse of two ghoulish girls in her hallway, she decides to take a soak in her dark, secluded outdoor hot tub — only to be violently pushed underwater by an elusive figure.
Matt and the cops don’t really believe her, but Matt decides to install security cameras after finding a dead pig on the doorstep. (Which he doesn’t tell Shelby about, because it’s obviously those pesky racist hillbillies!)
For more protection, Matt calls on his sister to watch over the house during his frequent business travels. Lee — played by Adina Porter in the interview timeline and Angela Bassett in the flashback — is an ex-cop who lost her job and family due to her booze addiction.
After Matt departs for another business trip, the sisters-in-law quarrel before having a brush with the supernatural — like missing knives and taunting wine bottles — before following a strange noise down to the basement.
The noise turns out to be an old TV playing a grainy VHS tape of footage from a camera in the woods. A disturbing figure appears wearing a pig head before a scuffle ensues.
After being trapped in the basement, Lee and Shelby head upstairs to find hundreds of little handmade colonial dolls of twine and straw hanging up everywhere — which is (finally) enough to send Shelby running.
Girl hops in her car to escape her horror house but is so frazzled when Matt calls her phone that she hits an old woman in the middle of the road. That woman turns out to be Kathy Bates, who we can probably assume is a ghost due to her colonial garb.
After the woman casually gets up and heads to the woods, Shelby continues her winning decision-making streak and follows — only to get lost and stumble upon a web of the same straw dolls hanging from the trees.
But things only get worse — Shelby falls and finds herself laying on a patch of land that seems to be breathing. Then she gets up and runs again, this time straight into a mob of figures with torches.
As the figures come into view, we see Hotel alum Wes Bentley playing a colonial creep, and some dude with his scalp missing!
Clearly, the mystery of this season will involve the lost colony of Roanoke. But like Murphy said, there are still plenty of twists and turns to come, which makes us think the documentary format could have a very satisfying payoff later in the season.
We hope anyway…
Do YOU like this faux doc style??
[Image via FX.]