After watching American Horror Story: Freak Show, I was disappointed with an anticlimactic ending that felt as if Ryan Murphy ran out of ideas. That being said I had no inclination to tune into the next hotel –themed installment, but after seeing it come up on one of the endless Netflix categories, I decided to keep an open mind and gave it a watch.
For those who may not be familiar with the AHS formula, the seasons involve different plot lines and themes, but keep the same core group of actors with assorted variations. Hotel seemed in keeping with this mode although noticeably more star studded with the addition of Lady GaGa making her real acting debut as a leading character in the compelling role of Elizabeth a.k.a “The Countess”. And with her comes the returning heavy hitters including Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Evan Peters, Denis O’Hare, Wes Bentley, Angela Bassett, and the like.
As a quick synopsis:
The story revolves around detective John Lowe, played by Wes Bentley, who is investigating a series of killings that have been committed and are somehow mysteriously connected with the ominous Hotel Cortez. Throughout this case he also deals with problems at home having a strained relationship with his wife and daughter after the disappearance of his son. This hotel has a mysterious presence that comes from the presence of certain residents in the Hotel and detective Lowe senses that these employees and residents know more than they let on.
It was slow going in the beginning, but with the arrival of the supporting characters the story starts to pick up. I appreciate American Horror Story for their story telling in how they give supporting storylines the ability to go beyond the normal parameters of what a side story is supposed to be. This is where Murphy and his team of writers are successful in that they allow these other characters to develop and provide captivating dialogues that get you invested in these characters without detracting from the main plot line.
The main story is compelling in its own right displaying the unpredictability that AHS is known for and Bentley doing a nice job as detective Lowe who eventually portrays psychological issues as the series progresses. Wasn’t the biggest fan of Lady Gaga, I’m not sure if her performance was Golden Globe worthy, but she did do a decent job as leading woman. Certainly though the big sellers are the lesser roles in the show who seem to shine the most at different times.
If you’re into psychological thrillers I definitely recommend the entire series, but I wouldn’t say Hotel was the best of all previous work.