American Horror Stories: “Aura” Review

Who else shudders every time someone knocks on their door at night?  This day and age, doorbell cameras are all the rage because in the digital/texting world we live in, it’s rare that people just “pop over” anymore.  The latest episode of American Horror Stories, “Aura” taps into that fear, but with a fascinating spin on it.

Spoilers Ahead – You’ve Been Warned!!!

Home Security
Opening with a brutal home invasion commercial, we’re introduced to the Aura doorbell camera, as is Jaslyn (Gabourey Sidibe) in the store when she decides to buy it.  Having recently moved to a gated community, her husband Bryce (Max Greenfield) doesn’t feel like it’s necessary.

When she was a kid, a home break in left her traumatized.

However, Jaslyn starts to see a creepy visitor at the door that doesn’t show up on other cameras and demands that she let him in.  She then realizes that it’s someone from her past and does some more digging to discover that he in fact died several weeks earlier.

Soon, she discovers that the Aura doorbell camera seems to have a window into the supernatural and is a beacon for spirits with unfinished business.  In her case, the ghost of her high school janitor merely wants to apologize for hitting on her and making her uncomfortable while she was a student.

Gabourey Sidibe gives her best AHS performance in this episode.

Supernatural Twist
But not all the ghosts are remorseful.  And the next visitor reveals a shocking secret that Jaslyn didn’t know about her husband Bryce.  In a fascinating subversion, the ghosts aren’t really the threat or the force of fear or evil, Jaslyn’s own husband winds up being it.  It’s always fun to see when the ghosts are actually trying to be helpful and it’s the humans that are the real danger.  It taps into the tragedy behind each ghost that was the story of their death.

It also succeeds in being just a really creepy, and suspenseful mini horror film that doesn’t feel at all like American Horror Story, and that’s meant as a compliment. All the over the top scenery, style over substance, and complete lack of subtlety are all missing from this episode and it’s better off for it.

There’s something very creepy about someone being at our door at night.

Plus it benefitted from not being shoehorned into connecting with a previous season so it was free to be its own independent story, much like an episode of Tales From the Crypt might be.  We’re only two episodes in and this season of American Horror Stories is already better than all of last season and the last few seasons of its predecessor show.  Hopefully the trend keeps up!

What did you think of this episode of American Horror Stories?  What do you hope to see next week?  Let us know in the comments!

New episodes of American Horror Stories are streaming every Thursday on Hulu!

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