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American Horror Story: Cult Review – ‘Neighbors From Hell’

September 20, 2017 | Posted by Wednesday Lee Friday
American Horror Story Cult - Neighbors From Hell
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American Horror Story: Cult Review – ‘Neighbors From Hell’  

Ever have Neighbors from Hell? I have. Loud music, screaming fights, sexy-time headboard banging that keeps you awake for…minutes? Lousy neighbors can make even the nicest street seem like a nightmare. That’s pretty much what the Mayfair-Richards family is enduring. But we can’t be sure if the threat is coming from the neighbors from hell, the mysterious Kai Anderson, or it might be coming from…inside the house!! Expect spoilers alongside the pithy commentary for American Horror Story Cult, episode 3: Neighbors from Hell
We begin with Rosie, another patient of Dr. Vincent (a hunky Cheyenne Jackson) who is trying to get over her phobias. She’s got a few, actually. She has taphophobia, which is when you’re afraid of being buried alive. Apparently the fear of ferrets is called “ferretophobia,” and is an actual thing. I can see that, since ferrets are long, hyperactive rats with softer coats. Rosie is so happy to be over her phobia, so happy that she goes home to sex up her husband. Until…they’re set upon by clowns in their own home. As you’d expect, they get nailed into coffins and their bodies are found a week later. Oh, American Horror Story. That’s even worse than the freezer murder!!

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The obvious question here is, what is the role of Doc Vincent in this? How many people would know about such a debilitating phobia? We’ll come back to this. At the Mayfair-Richards home, we see that poor Pedro is dead. The good news? Michigan’s “Stand Your Ground” law basically means you can shoot whoever you want so long as you were frightened * pause for flamey debate * Ally is not arrested, and is crushed when she’s accused by her fellow liberals of being a racist. Also, Officer Handsome takes Ally’s gun.
The camera work on this show has always been exceptional and innovative. As I’m trying to figure out whether Ivy is truly on Ally’s side, I notice that when they talk to each other—even when they’re getting along—the camera shots are from one POV or the other. We either see Ivy’s face with Ally in profile, or Ally’s face with Ivy in profile (or the backs of their heads). I wasn’t a film major, but that tends to mean that they aren’t on the same side. By the end of the episode, the split widens. We’re also left wondering how sane Ally actually is.

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A note about the people protesting Pedro’s death. Why was Ally’s pic on the signs and not Pedro’s? That seems dumb.
The news coverage and protests surrounding Pedro’s killing is a spot-on spoof of what would probably happen under those circumstances. “Lesbian George Zimmerman” isn’t accurate, of course, but why get in the way of an eye-catching news metaphor, right? Worse, is the look on Ally’s face when she sees that Kai Anderson is on her side, saying she’s “incredibly brave” to have shot someone. I know that feeling well. How exactly will Kai “take care of this mob?” We don’t know. The impotent frustration inherent in Ally’s trembling “we were here first,” was super cringeworthy.
The mythology of the smiley face continues in Neighbors from Hell. When the Wilton’s show up wearing sombreros and throwing Taco Bell coupons, we can’t help but be horrified. This continues as the eerie symbol is seen on other houses in the neighborhood, plus the murder of poor Rosie and her husband. The Wilton’s have the mark, and so do the Mayfair-Richards. A new element is introduced this week as well—the Truck. We’re capitalizing that, because for now, Truck is a character. It’s scary, and whatever it’s spraying, it’s killing birds in droves. All of this together may be slowly driving Ally insane.

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After eps 1&2, I was sure Ivy was the bad guy here, gaslighting her spouse to get her money and take the kid. Now it seems like anyone we’ve met could be a crazed killer. Ally is def getting gaslit by Winter, and messed with by Kai. But we can’t be sure who is responsible for what chicanery, and what their reasoning is. Jill Stein was brought up again this week, certainly not for the last time.
The return of Winter was not surprising though. Ally was furious that Winter left her. Um, the nanny isn’t supposed to stay late because the mom is scared. The nanny takes care of the child. Winter does these outrageous things though, as if they’re meaningless. This time, she lets a random man in the house because he says he’s there ‘about the ad.’ The ad? Well, when they find a naked man about to masturbate in their living room, it becomes clear that they’re being horribly messed with yet again. This time, it’s Ivy who comes out swinging.

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One of the cardinal rules of caring for someone else’s kid is never to buy them things the parents don’t want them to have. So when Ally and Ivy think Winter bought Oz an Italian-American pig (we’re using PC terms in honor of the theme), they’re angry. They’re even more angry when they realize she didn’t. Still, Ally relents and allows her son to keep the animal. The family goes out to enjoy a nice dinner at the restaurant. Watch for the hilarious crack about heteronormative names for pets. LOL!
When they return home, the smiley face is on their house. Inside, we see Mr. Italian-American in Mr. Microwave. Yikes! It’s an awful, Fatal Attraction homage that sends Ally to the Wiltons in a rage. She pops the husband in the face and ultimately threatens to kill them both if either Wilton ever steps foot in their home again. Fair enough. But Ivy doesn’t approve of Ally threatening murder in front of their child. It’s a crazy scene that lets us know that the Wilton’s are also “marked by the killer.” Why Mr. Wilton knows that, I do not know. He said he believed the murder-suicide BS.

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When Ally calls her doctor, it seems clear that he’s got someone else in the office with him. But who? Why? She’s on her way to talk to the protestors at the restaurant, which is a terrible idea. The interactions between Kai and the Wiltons tell us a few things: One, he knows both of them. We figured, since they recorded his interactions with the Mexican workers (was Pedro there?). Two, she’s not happy. Three, Mr. Wilton wants his wife dead, though he’s loathe to admit it. We also see that Wilton’s new boyfriend is Officer Handsome. That does not bode well, especially given their disparate reactions to Pedro’s killing. When Kai talks with Mrs. Wilton, he tells her to “stop saying sorry,” and that “Everything is somebody else’s fault from now on.” That would explain a lot about the emotional tenor of our nation, wouldn’t it?
Truck comes back again and almost runs Ally down. Later, she confronts a guy spraying chemicals in her lawn. Enraged, she rips off their mask to reveal—the smiley face! So many questions! What does it mean? What’s with the big smear in the middle? Can I get that mask in time for Halloween?
“I wish I could say my goodbyes to you!” Damn. That’s harsh. I like Oz though, probably more than any other character. Later, when Oz apologizes for clicking a bad link, he’s praised for his honesty. The link though, is a little different. It’s a video of Ally in the bathtub with Winter nearby. Ivy describes the scene using the word “fingering” which seems out of place on TV. But then, this is American Horror Story after all. Oz apologizes for his mean jibe, but the friction has escalated to the point that Ivy wants to take the boy and go.

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Remember when Ivy was horrified that Ally would hit the neighbor? Ivy cracks Ally a good one after she sees the video. Yikes! Officer Handsome is still in the house, and is apparently eavesdropping. What’s he even doing there? Yuck. It’s also worth noting that Oz has an awful lot of information he shouldn’t (like his computer’s password for parental locks, and the combination to the locks at the restaurant). He also seems to go off by himself a lot. If Oz really IS the murder baby, a lot of this could actually be him. That might make him an even better character.
As ivy is leaving though, we see cops outside yet again. Meadow Wilton is missing, and her husband is covered in blood. In fact, he’s got a bloody handprint on his torso that doesn’t look like he could have put it there himself. But this season, who knows? AHS has made us all highly suspicious of every character, every event, every motivation. As far as I can tell, the only person who hasn’t told a lie yet is Ms. Hope, the newscaster. Let’s all pause to appreciate Adina Porter for a moment. She’s great.
Wilton is arrested for Meadow’s…whatever. He screams that it must have been Ally. So there are a lot of unexplained break-ins, murderous art, and hidden cameras happening here. We can’t be sure who’s involved yet, and they’re doing their best to keep us guessing. As always, we’d love to hear your theories in the comments. We end with another discovery of a smiley face. Apparently the killer(s) have been busy.
See you’s next week!

9
The final score: review Amazing
The 411
Whelp, American Horror Story is tapping into our collective fears again this week. From 'trapped in a box' to 'nobody is going to believe me' to some sort of Hand that Rocks the Cradle-style gaslighting, Ally's life just gets worse and worse. But who is really responsible? And who is in league with whom?
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