American Horror Story: Delicate shows audiences that the horror genre can be more than jump scares and scary makeup.
With the new season, the American Horror Story (AHS) franchise continues to reflect society’s current fears and anxieties as it did with American Horror Story: Apocalypse and American Horror Story: Cult. But Delicate may end up taking the reign as the most sinister and personal of all the series’ seasons.
The AHS anthology has been airing for more than a decade. Perhaps it is because every season has a new storyline with different characters introduced, leading viewers to not get bored. The completely new horrific theme for each season continues to grow darker each time.
AHS’ 12th season introduces Anna Alcott (Emma Roberts), an actress, going through another in vitro fertilization (IVF) process after multiple failed procedures. While dealing with the struggles of IVF, she experiences disturbing encounters with a supposed stalker and strange occurrences in her home.
The first episode, called “Multiply Thy Pain,” establishes the anxieties of Anna’s life. Although it is just an introductory episode, the directors overwhelm viewers with eerie pieces of information such as the anonymity of the stalker and the secrets behind the unborn child, setting the unsettling tone for the entire season.
What makes this season so unique is how the show’s co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk turn the idea of motherhood and fertility, supposedly beautiful parts of life, to be something quite disturbing. IVF is a procedure to treat infertility, but the show dissects the frightening aspect of the process to create a monstrous storyline out of it. The narrative surrounding Anna’s IVF journey also reflects some couples’ real-life fears surrounding infertility and pregnancy.
The season is set in New York City, reflecting the ambience of the previous season American Horror Story: NYC. Although a modern, flashy atmosphere often comes to mind when thinking about New York City, the show reconfigures the futuristic setting to be something to fear.
The clinic scenes are the most prominent as they capture the essence of the season’s theme—the unknown of machines, science, and the future. Throughout the episode, the directors plant hints and symbols which point toward Anna’s troubling mental illness.
The scene in the bathroom, during which Anna talks to her husband’s friend, Talia (Juliana Canfield), changes from a simple conversation to an intense scene. Pensive violin strings begin to crescendo, and the scene’s color palette is diluted to a gray-blue tone with the exception of her bright red lipstick. These elements conjure an unsettling ambience, causing the audience to anticipate another disturbing scene.
One of the most interesting parts of American Horror Story: Delicate is its casting of infamous socialite Kim Kardashian. With very minimal acting experience, it seems like Kardashian is merely being used for publicity of the show’s new season.
But Kardashian’s role as Anna’s publicist, Siobhan Corbyn, seems to be reflective of her real self. Kardashian’s acting is average at best as her delivery remains monotone, sounding the same in every scene.
With the plot of a rising star in trouble, an unsettling experiment with fertility, and Kardashian as one of the leading actresses, American Horror Story: Delicate is a season horror fans cannot miss.