Critic Consensus: American Horror Story: Roanoke takes a surprising turn away from prior AHS formats, revisiting the deliberate pace of earlier seasons on a spookier, smaller scale, even if the true-crime format feels overdone.
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This is all very fun, but I'm actually more excited -- at least for now -- by the show's format.
Indeed, the setting is Roanoke. But where this new season might go from there wasn't clear by the end of the season premiere, a pretty riveting piece of classic horror.
Unfortunately, the writers only use this historical story as a mechanism for creating ghosts to torment the modern-day dwellers, and don't really take the time to explore the time period and story with the depth it deserves.
Here it seems that Murphy and his writers believe they have found a solution to the over-stuffed, gleefully excessive seasons of the past; instead, they've merely found a different approach to heavy-handed storytelling.
Despite its mockumentary format, this season of American Horror Story feels smaller and spookier than the last, like a campfire story read off a glowing smartphone that still manages to tap into our primitive fear: that of the great ghastly unknown.
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