Yep, more American Horror Story. Yep, still the first episode. Mostly a quicknote on the visuals.
(For those of you not watching the show and yet for some reason still reading this; Tate is the teenager that Ben is giving therapy sessions to in his home study. He is also the teenager who starts hanging around Violet, Ben and Viven’s daughter. This prompts Ben to take Tate’s mental issues a lot more seriously.)
I’d noticed that there are odd little jump-cuts when Ben’s calling in and trying to report Tate as potentially dangerous; little clips, each about a sentence long. The camera angle doesn’t change; it’s just a sequence of jump cuts showing Ben in (almost) exactly the same position.
Honestly, what I thought of was Devi’s attempt to call the police and report Johnny for trying to kill her in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. It doesn’t work, because the universe regularly adjusts itself to protect him, and every time she calls in the police have no idea what she’s talking about and she can’t get it across. I think the phone calls about Tate are producing the same end result, although I’m not sure if it’s because the house is affecting Ben so that he’s yelling into a dead phone line when he thinks he’s talking to a bureaucrat, or because people outside aren’t being allowed to hear the warnings. I’d bet the former. Either way, the different filming style evokes a skipping record, looping back again and again; and again, kinda fits with the stasis and repetition that shows up again and again in little ways.
(The “oh my god he’s dead” convention suggests that someone will come across a newspaper article about Tate’s bloody (spree) murder and/or suicide. I’m hoping that AHS handles it differently, just because the newspaper route is so very overdone.)
You see get a similar broken effect in the strobing lights when Tate attacks Violet’s classmate, and less blatantly in Moira’s attempted seduction of Ben. The camera’s on her and cuts back to her when she’s telling him his wife’s not home, and there are thirty different shots in the forty seconds between her starting to unbutton her shirt and Ben realizing Violet is there.
I didn’t notice the same suddenness with Constance or Addy (possibly why I was initially inclined to consider them not haunts, though I’ve changed my mind). Also, John describes Constance as giving off this “why yes I am the next-door neighbour and the plot next door is a graveyard!” vibe, which I think is a great turn of phrase.