Truth is, I started streaming 2022 horror movie ‘X’ weeks ago when it first dropped on Prime Video, but soon got distracted and stopped watching it. However, every time I visit IMDB, it is always on their top 20 ‘Most Popular Movies’, like a reminder “you still haven’t seen me”. So, I finally did.
Directed and written by Ti West, the movie has a great cast for a horror slasher. Set in 1979, the plot follows a group of six people who’ve rented a remote farmhouse to shoot an adult movie, but when their hosts – an elderly couple – find out what they’re up to, the repercussions are gorily bloody. Mia Goth plays Maxine, a young aspiring actress who wants to be world famous, while Brittany Snow and Kid Cudi play her laid-back older co-actors, who are in it simply for the money.
‘X’ delivers what it promises – a ‘R’ rated film about making a dirty film, where things get crazily bloody. There’s plenty of sex, skin show, violence and gore; but it takes too much time in unleashing the horror bits. Ti West steers clear from cliched jump scares and simply goes for the jugular each time someone dies. Visually, the film is very 70s and the cinematography switches to a slightly grainy retro style footage when the group is recording their work.
Interestingly, Mia Goth also plays Pearl, the old woman who owns the property and develops a creepy interest in Maxine. The make-up team has done a ridiculously fantastic job on Mia for the older role, there’s barely any traces of her youth or facial features, you’d think an actual senior actor was given the part. Mia’s Maxine is everything Pearl wishes she still was – young, beautiful, desirable. The women are two sides of the same coin, one side is still shiny, while the other has rusted into insanity. Stephen Ure is Pearl’s cranky cynical husband Howard, who she claims served in both World Wars. Martin Henderson plays Wayne, Maxine’s boyfriend and producer, his southern accent and voice sounded exactly like Matthew McConaughey. Owen Campbell is RJ, the director-cum-cameraman, who has grand visions of making an artsy sex film, while Jenna Ortega plays his girlfriend Lorraine, who handles the sound.
What works best for ‘X’ is the fact that the villains are fleshed out well. Stephen and Pearl are so old, they look like dead people walking, but they are fiery in spirit and their mere presence is ominously disturbing. Maxine and gang appear to be a bunch of silly hillbillies pretending to be ‘avant-garde’; so, as viewers you don’t really care if they live or die
It’s a 6/10 from me.
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