In the new slasher film from director Ti West (The House of the Devil), he sets himself a difficult task, but just like Hereditary, Midsommar, The Witch and Hereditary, distributor A24 does not disappoint and disturbs us again. Its writer-director knows that a society obsessed with youth is much more terrified not only of growing old, but also of confronting the terrifyingly real desires of the elderly.
The film, titled X, is set in 1979 Texas and stars Mia Goth, who plays Maxine, a young aspiring actress who travels with her older producer boyfriend (Martin Henderson) to a remote farm outside of Houston to shoot a porn movie. They are accompanied on the trip by two other artists from the adult film industry (Kid Cudi and Brittany Snow), as well as the film’s rookie director (Owen Campbell) and his girlfriend and soundman on the set (Jenna Ortega).
X (2022), by Ti West
The ambition of all those involved to make quality cinema, starting from pornography. For moviegoers, this look may echo the aspirations of Burt Reynolds’ character in Boogie Nights. And that’s just one of the many, many, many references that X makes to other movies.
Being a slasher, the film makes several references to other titans of the genre such as Halloween (1978), and Friday the 13th (1980), however, the clearest influence lies in Tobe Hooper’s horror classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974. True to form, the farm where the protagonists settle is isolated and creepy, but not nearly as creepy as the disturbing older couple who rent the property to them. Stephen Ure, who plays Lieutenant Howard, makes it clear that he disapproves of any juvenile mischief on his property with a shotgun. Clearly, Howard is in for a surprise when he learns of the secret intentions with which the team rented the property. However, it will be his wife Pearl who will be severely affected by the filming of the porn.
Mia Goth as Pearl, in X (2022)
West has worked in horror for a long time and has completely mastered both the clichés of the genre, as well as all those aspects that elevate X to something more than a new slasher of the bunch. The film has very deft camera handling, with good use of muted colors, grain textures typical of 1970s films, and good camera aspect ratio handling.
In addition to its great technical feat, X also manages to stand out due to its clever script and the themes it explores. Be it loneliness, religion, the contrast between youth and old age, and mainly, sexuality and desire. The best moments of the film will come from the contrast between the final girl’s character, Maxine, and the terrifying aging owner, Pearl. Interestingly, Mia Goth plays both characters.
Jenna Ortega in X (2022), with a clear visual reference to The Shining (1980)
The work of the cast in general is very good, but there are two stars that stand out above the rest, even though the singer Kid Cudi and the ex-Bella of Pitch Perfect, Brittany Snow, also surprise in their roles. First of all, we have Jenna Ortega who confirms herself as the new Scream Queen of terror thanks to her work as the sound engineer Lorraine. After a small role in the horror film of the Foo Fighters, Studio 666 and her incorporation into the Scream saga as Tara Carpenter, Ortega returns to scream and bathe in blood in this film. Her character, the delicate and reserved Catholic girl, will have an interesting arc when she joins the production of the porn film as a sound engineer.
Secondly, the great star of the film is undoubtedly Mia Goth, who, as we said previously, plays a double role in the film. Whether as Maxine or Pearl, Goth makes it clear that she is more than capable of leading the film. When X needs terror, Goth delivers. When X needs suspense, Goth delivers. When X needs excitement, Goth delivers. When X needs sex, Goth delivers. And when X needs terrifying brutality, Goth delivers.
Mia Goth in her double role, as Pearl and Maxine
X is already in cinemas in Spain. It is not yet known if it will be released in Latin American movie theaters, or when it will be streaming there. In any case, the A24 film opened in theaters in the United States last month and is already available for digital purchase in its territory.
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