• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 5, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4
American Horror Story Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 580 Ratings

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  • Summary: After a miscarriage and nearly breaking up, Ben and Vivien Harmon (Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton) move from Boston to Los Angeles with their daughter to start a new life in a house with an eerie past.
  • Genre(s): Horror
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Oct 5, 2011
    I loved the pilot, mostly because I could never predict where the story was going, a rarity in prime-time TV.
  2. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Sep 30, 2011
    It's funny and moves blindingly fast, barely giving you time to blink or gulp--Dark Shadows for the PlayStation age. [10 Oct 2011, p.39]
  3. 80
    The show may be ridiculous, but the humiliation and panic feel real. And there's something to be said for surprise.
  4. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Oct 5, 2011
    The hot mess of American Horror Story is berserk to a fault, though it does have an unnerving originality compelling us to watch while we cringe, or perhaps smirk.
  5. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Oct 5, 2011
    Viewers who like the horror genre and the offbeat Murphy/Falchuk approach, and who are willing to put in enough serious time to absorb all the nuances, will fall in love.
  6. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Oct 5, 2011
    It's fun to look at, but there's not a lot of substance underneath.
  7. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Oct 4, 2011
    It doesn't work as a character drama and it's tiresome more often than it's freakily scary.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 92 out of 112
  2. Negative: 5 out of 112
  1. Dec 4, 2011
    really like this series, great characters, acting and sense of foreboding. the characters all feel natural in their world, no one dimensional parts. The story might be similar to The Shining, but with layers of detail that keep coming, with each episode about different people who stay as mysterious as the story itself Expand
  2. Jun 4, 2014
    I first started watching AMERICAN HORROR STORY when the first season came on TV. No one believed me that it was so interesting and captivating. There is a thick plot and you really have to pay attention to detail. It is hands-down my favorite TV show of all. Season one was unbeatable, then season two was also very good with an unpredictable story, then we have season three. season three was horrible they could have taken coven like a baton in a relay race and ran with it, but sadly they did'nt. Coven was not your typical American Horror Story season. It was not what the typical AMHS fan would have hoped for. other than that I really love American Horror Story and hope that season four is better. Expand
  3. Oct 6, 2011
    This show did a good job at keeping viewers wanting more. Other than the show "Supernatural", this is the only show with a horror theme on basic cable. The Pilot is one of the best I've seen the fall season so far. This show is an example why well written shows and good actors makes for great television. Expand
  4. Dec 15, 2011
    every week. the show gets better and better, the story is complex, but you can follow it, you think you will get a LOST type "non-explanation" but every week more is revealed. This show reminds me of LOST more then any other show, and thats a good thing. Every thing about this show is thought through and entertaining, you can tell the actors are having fun in their roles, everything about this show is amazing, i can't wait for it to come to DVD so i can watch it start to finish in one sitting. it is an amazingly crafted story, i hope season 1 ends with the completion of the current story, and they do a season 2 with a brand new story. Great job coming up with original TV (its so rare these days...) Expand
  5. Jan 28, 2013
    The polar opposite of its second season, American Horror Story: Murder House starts off weak and finishes incredibly strong. Jessica Lange and Connie Britton are the hilights of this freaky first season. Expand
  6. Nov 14, 2011
    Television is one of the least diverse genres out there. We see comedy, drama, and crime shows. That's pretty much it. So it's great to see a horror series on TV other than THE WALKING DEAD.

    I enjoyed seeing the familiarity of AMERICAN HORROR STORY. Some things are directly connectible to widely-known horror films (for instance, both the demon baby theme from ROSEMARY'S BABY and the demon child theme from THE OMEN are held); while other themes don't seem fully original, but they do not feel easily related to horror films.

    The music used in this program is phenomenal and new. It is not consistent with the same type, as it ranges from an eerie tapping on bells with no instruments accompanying, to piano music that reminds us of John Carpenter's classic soundtrack to HALLOWEEN.

    As for a recommendation, I'd say this should be for horror fans only. It is a chilling twist on the classic "haunted house" sub-genre, and at that it is likely to keep horror fanatics watching, but terrify anyone else.
  7. Oct 9, 2014
    The 2014 season is pitiful. Rather than introducing us to a cleverly written plot the show inundates us with unnecessary violence and sex during the first episode. This is the first season that I found myself annoyed by Jessica Lange. In all previous seasons she did a fantastic job. This season it feels like she is over acting and putting on a weak imitation of Meryl Streep with that awful German accent she is using. Expand

See all 112 User Reviews

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