American Horror Stories: Aura
American Horror Stories: Aura

‘Aura’: Chapter 2 Season 2 AHSS

2 mins read

Aura is the second episode in the horror series, American Horror Stories (AHSS). This time it is directed by Max Winkler and stars Gabourey Sidibe, Max Greenfield and Joel Swetow.

A new chapter of the series created by Ryan Murphy, this time with a Black Mirror touch.

Synopsis

After moving into a new residential neighborhood, a couple is harassed by a strange visitor. Aura is an ultra-modern intelligent home security system that will prevent the unwanted guests from getting into their home… or not.

Review of Chapter 2: ‘Aura’

Being the anthology it is (although, first chapter did make us question if it in fact was going to be an anthology. You know, due to the sudden appearance of the witches from Coven, and such….) Chapter 2, ‘Aura’, offers us something completely different to Dollhouse. The gothic ambiance has been put aside, and replaced by a contemporary, suburban, middle-class setting.

It must be challenging to reinvent a series in each episode, and the change might seem drastic, particularly as mentioned before in the sharp turn in scenery considering the “open” ending of chapter 1, that led us in a way, to expect that there would be some continuity in the story leading into this next chapter. But, that was not the case, so let’s try to put that issue aside.

‘Aura’ is relatively simple, but the concept is not bad, as it knows how to push the buttons of paranoia that vigilant technology evokes in some of us, as well as the paranoia one might feel towards the real life boogieman. So here we have paranoia galore. Fear of the boogieman, leads the protagonists to recur to technology that is supposed to protect them. But, as in every good horror flick, everything comes at an unexpected price…. and in this case the ever watchful technology further feeds into that creepy feeling of being followed or harassed, since Aura the gadget turns out to be the gateway for something very strange, and that one’s (or the protagonist’s, rather) sense of agency might be threatened (is she perhaps losing her mind?).

What is interesting about the plot is its double entendre, while tech is oh so useful, it does too keep tabs on the past, just as is portrayed in this episode, albeit with a supernatural element. And hurray for that ghostly take! This story is all the better with ghosts from “Christmas past” – note: this story has nothing to with the yearly festivities – appearing through novel technology (the aforementioned price), it makes the story so much more amusing. It is a nice way of meshing tech and the otherworldly together.

The narrative structure is relatively smooth in its execution, as it flows without sharp twists and turns. The camera work is good at distorting the faces in the close-ups of some of the characters to augment a sense that the protagonist is not all that well mentally, basically giving us a feeling that she is being gaslit. We know, it is a very old technique, but at the end of the day it works. So good on Max Winkler for using it. The performances are good, and appropriately convincing; not as theatrical as in chapter 1, but as mentioned the premise and settings are entirely different, so no complaints in that respect.

All in all, we would say that this chapter delivers on what we expect of the 40 minute bedtime story, enough suspense, magical thinking and a pinch of fear, to pep up our uneventful lives. We can now say with certainty that Season 2 is indeed better than its predecessor.

Our Opinion

We had spent a week wondering if this season would actually be the anthology it had proclaimed itself to be, thanks to the unexpected ending of Dollhouse that left us baffled with the appearance of characters for Coven. We can now sleep soundly at night as we have been given an answer to that lingering question. Yes, it is an anthology. ‘Aura’, was well carried out, the concept of meshing tech with the supernatural spices the story up enough to make it a worthwhile viewing experience.

Cast & Crew

American Horror Stories: Aura
American Horror Stories: Aura

Title: Aura

Description: After moving into a new residential neighborhood, a couple is harassed by a strange visitor. Aura is an ultra-modern intelligent home security system that will prevent the unwanted guests from getting into their home… or not.

Date published: July 29, 2022

Episode number: 2

Part of season: 2

Part of series: American Horror Stories

Production company: FX

Director(s): Max Winkler

Actor(s): Gabourey Sidibe, Max Greenfield, Joel Swetow

Genre: Horror

Review

All in all, we would say that this chapter delivers on what we expect of the 40 minute bedtime story, enough suspense, magical thinking and a pinch of fear, to pep up our uneventful lives. We can now say with certainty that Season 2 is indeed better than its predecessor.

Overall
6/10
6/10

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