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MicroReview: Ti West’s “X” is an Epic Start to a New Horror Franchise

I finally saw “X” and I enjoyed it so much more than I expected to. Was like “Boogie Nights” meets Shyamalan’s “The Visit” with stylistic shades of “Kill Bill 2” and “Death Proof”. One of the plot twists had me screaming! I would add another film to the “X” homage list, but it’d be a spoiler. The movie blended humor and horror really well. I especially loved how it subverted a lot of male gaze expectations in particular for the slasher genre. But it also had subtly embedded critiques of the porn industry too, especially when it comes to race and interracial relationships on screen.

My main issue was the troubling elderly-as-monster trope. But even that in the clever context of “X” offered moments of important cultural commentary on generation gaps and the violence of older gens on younger ones as we socially liberate ourselves from their puritanical systems. How this dynamic is met by older folks with rage and violence. This aspect makes the film even more relevant in the wake of recent legislation decisions overturning Roe v Wade in the USA, dismantling human rights gains that will in particular affect the futures of the youngest generations. Painfully resonant.

And “X” was a whole movie. It didn’t do that annoying thing A24 films often do by ending five minutes before it should, leaving the story unfinished rather than ambiguous.

Mia Goth played both the young ingenue Maxine AND the elderly serial killer Pearl. She was BRILLIANT, especially as Pearl. What a moving performance, so powerful and evocative even as it was so disturbing. I really felt for Pearl with my whole body, which made it painful to see how far down the well of indecency she’d fallen. Mia Goth embodied that role all the way. She should win awards for it, but of course won’t since it’s just a lowly horror film.

I’ve since learned there will be a prequel focusing on enigmatic Pearl as well as a direct sequel to “X”, and it’s such good news. This is potentially my new favorite horror franchise. Absolute win. Highly recommend.

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