X (2022)

Director: Ti West
Writer: Ti West
Cast: Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Brittany Snow, Kid Cudi, Martin Henderson, Owen Campbell, Stephen Ure, James Gaylyn, Simon Prast
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 7.5.2022

Wayne (Martin Henderson) has rented a guest house on a remote farm and gathered his girlfriend Maxine (Mia Goth), stripper Bobby-Lynne (Brittany Snow), vet Jackson (Kid Cudi) camera man RJ (Owen Campbell) and RJ’s girlfriend Lorraine (Jenny Ortega). Together they plan on shooting a farm-themed porno. Of course, the old farmer (Stephen Ure) can’t know about that part. But his frail wife Pearl gets wind of it. And that turns out to be much more dangerous for them than they could ever anticipate.

X was okay, but not exactly great. I liked the first part, but the second part left me pretty cold. There is a bit of nice meta commentary, but I was hoping for a little more.

The film poster showing Maxine (Mia Goth) holding an axe, behind a big wooden X.

I really liked how X started. I liked the group of people they got together to shoot their porn and the chemistry between them. I liked how RJ’s bigotry is included (he is not making “”porn””, he is making “”art””) and made even more obvious by Lorraine. I would have had no problem just watching a film about this group trying to shoot porn.

But, as telegraphed by allusions to Psycho that switches cinematic gears halfway through, the film is not content to just stay with them, but switches gears itself. And as soon as it turn towards Howard and Pearl and becomes the horror film we know it always wanted to be, I lost interest.

The film crew exploring the farm.

Part of that is simply because I didn’t care about Howard and Pearl at all. I found them neither as terrifying, nor as disgusting as the film made me constantly feel I should. There is an angle here that seems to criticize our obsession with sex and youth, but at the same time, feeling desire as an old person, especially an old woman is somehow the root of all evil. Plus, I just didn’t buy Pearl’s casting – without realizing who she was played by (which is why I’m not mentioning it here), she felt completely unreal to me. And that is not the feeling you should get with the villain of a film.

There are some hints towards a prequel to X which could be interesting – if it has a little more to say than X itself.

Maxine (Mia Goth) floating in the lake.

Summarizing: oh well.


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