A return in style that of American Horror Story which, with this twelfth season, seems to have finally found the verve which made the first vintages unforgettable. In 2011, myself and a few others (who are you, raise your hand) were avidly looking for a show that was truly scary and truly brought horror to TV. Thus, the release of that first season seemed like the answer to our darkest desires, but the idea, even the possibility, that the first would be followed by eleven more was still light years away. I don’t know how many others, but personally I was firmly convinced that the story of the Langdons would be at the center of the story of any future seasons, in the most classic television style. The idea that Murphy’s project was conceived as an anthology hadn’t even crossed my mind, much less did I believe that that season finale could be a series finale. Instead, with great or rather enormous surprise, here it is American Horror Story returned for a second season. The faces were the same but the story was completely different, so much so that, suddenly, a subtitle appears to distinguish the first and second rounds of episodes.
The television history of America Horror Story, however, has experienced a downward parable, starting from that “Roanoke” which split the audience in half (or perhaps already before, with Hotel?). A season unlike any seen before, destined to mark the future of Ryan Murphy’s show. Between those who considered it brilliant and those who considered it a botched plan, there remains no doubt that “Roanoke” ideally embodied the turning point for the American Horror Story that followed. A TV series that, by now, seemed increasingly tired and listless, with ideas that were still captivating but managed in an embarrassing way: from “Cult” which got lost at the best of times to the kitsch “1984”, ending with “Double Feature” and its confusion. After ten seasons, it therefore seemed that the anthology TV series no longer had anything to tell despite the possibility of renewing itself with new plots and new characters. The eleventh took us back in time a little, between the vulgar and the gore who had made the fortune, for example, of “Asylum”. But it is this very fresh twelfth season that finally makes us breathe a sigh of relief. At least for now.
American Horror Story: Delicate is the glass of water given to the thirsty after a long journey in the desert, and the credit also goes to Emma Roberts.
To the woman he said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrows and the pains of your pregnancy; in pain you will bring forth children…” – Genesis 3:16
After last appearing in season nine, Emma Roberts returns as the absolute protagonist in a season that focuses on motherhood, gender relations and good old black magic. In “Delicate”, Anna Alcott is a young actress with a career on the rise, with a bright future ahead and an ongoing campaign for an Oscar nomination. Her private life, however, is not as happy because Anna wants more than anything a child who is late in arriving. The various attempts at artificial insemination in the clinic or other more absurd methods are of no avail, they all leave Anna increasingly disheartened and sad, certain that the absence of a child does not make her complete in some way. Things change when, finally, the woman manages to conceive a child and, even after a terrifying event and an abortion, her pregnancy seems to continue as if nothing had happened. But the fake nurse (Cara Delevingne) who actually procured her abortion is just one of the many strange events that are now pressing her ever closer. Convinced that someone is following her, Anna is attacked in her home, vomits black goo at the Gotham Awards, and something starts to grow under her skin like a wart.
Anna’s horror is increasingly tangible, taking on the features of two women dressed entirely in black and a dark underground cave which she manages to access through a door in her cellar. Here she finds jars of human fetuses and monstrous creatures, as she delves into the dark tunnels in search of answers. Answers which, however, do not seem to arrive, pushing the woman, now increasingly exhausted, down a spiral of isolation and paranoia. Nobody wants to believe her. Neither the caring partner Dex who treats her with unbearable disdain, nor the manager Siobhan (an unsuspectingly convincing Kim Kardashian) who alternates friendship and psychological blackmail, nor the doctors to whom she asks for explanations for the excruciating pain she feels at her side .
Without friends and without a family, Anna is completely alone, at the mercy of the evil that is poisoning her life and her body. Emma Roberts conveys these sensations of unease to us with disarming humanity, making us participants in the vicissitudes of her character to the point of shouting at the screen “Anna, please wake up!”. Our screams, however, remain unheard and we can only helplessly witness the defeat, now apparently inevitable, of a woman who would only like to be a mother. Yet it is also clear that the naive Anna actually hides contradictions and dark sides that are not fully explained but can be understood. Her ambition is equal to her desire for motherhood, so much so that she has no qualms about telling Siobhan that she is willing to do anything to win the Oscar. We have seen her capable of extreme gestures to achieve her goals and prey to macabre hallucinations that push her to feed on dead animals.
Our horror grows from episode to episode, thanks above all to the multifaceted interpretation of the former child prodigy Emma Roberts who goes from being the simple girl to the Machiavellian Hollywood star. Something about this character doesn’t completely convince us and we are quite certain that the second part of the season could really open up a Pandora’s box regarding the true nature of Anna Alcott. Sweet, loving and sensitive, Anna is not entirely what she seems, moving through space in a way that is far too childish to be believable. We’re a long way from the days when Roberts played the cynical Madison in “Coven” but her talent certainly hasn’t diminished over the years.
It’s no surprise at all that the season earned its highest rating in years on Rotten Tomatoes. By taking up the themes of Satanism and witchcraft already addressed in the past, Ryan Murphy managed to adapt them into a contemporary and current narrative. The need of many women to become mothers, fueled by false stereotypes and expectations from society, is transformed here into a nightmare that will make you lose any desire to visit the gynecologist. The second part could turn the tables on the table and represent the collapse of the entire season, as has unfortunately already happened in the past. So far, however, we can consider ourselves more than satisfied with a story that disturbs and disturbs us more than enough.