American Horror Story : Red Tide is a six-part horror drama featured within the 10th season of this anthology series. Also known as American Horror Story : Double Feature, the 10th season is divided into two parts: Red Tide, which takes place “by the sea”, and Death Valley, which takes place “by the sand”.
American Horror Story : Red Tide’s plot revolves around screenwriter Harry Gardner (Finn Wittrock) who brings his pregnant wife, Doris (Lily Rabe) and nine-year-old daughter Alma (Ryan Kiera Armstrong to Provincetown, Massachusetts to rewrite his pilot. Experiencing writer’s block, Gardner retreats to a local bar where he meets renowned writers Belle Noir (Frances Conroy) and Austin Sommers (Evan Peters). Sommers offers Gardner a cure for writer’s block – a black pill called the Muse – which Gardner takes and his life is changed forever.
Gardner discovers indeed that the black pill inspires him to become the best writer he can be but there’s a disturbing side-effect – he develops an insatiable hunger for blood! Thus begins a downward spiral for Gardner as he sacrifices everything – he holds dear – including his family – for the sake of creativity.
American Horror Story : Red Tide is a scathing satire on writers and creativity that utilises a vampirism analogy perfectly to co-relate writers and creative people with bloodsuckers. Note that technically, Gardner – together with Noir and Sommers – are not supernatural vampires per se – there is a scientific rationale for their bloodlust but the vampirism is certainly a metaphor for the desperate need for creativity.
Most of the characters in Red Tide are unlikeable, awful human beings with selfish motives with Gardner’s agent Ursula Caan (Leslie Grossman) probably the worst of the lot. She is cold-hearted, manipulative and only looking out for number one, without a single thought for the people she hurts to get to the top.
Though the ending is rushed and unsatisfactory, overall American Horror Story : Red Tide succeeds because it is over-the-top and sensational with a germ of truth embedded deep in the vein. So to speak. Recommended.
Now streaming on Disney+.
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