Earlier this year, I watched a film called “Pearl” one of my top 10 best movies of 2022. A story about a crazy murderous psychopath growing up during the age of World War 1, is one of the best character studies to be released this year.
It turns out that ‘Pearl’ was a prequel to the film ‘X’ also starring actress Mia Goth. In order to get the full picture of ‘Pearl’, I had to go back and watch the film ‘X’ second.
‘X’ is a film about a group of traveling pornographic filmmakers who are attempting to create quality porn films on a shoestring budget. Deep in the Heart of Texas, the group finds themselves on the road looking for a place to stay to film more content. They stop at a middle-of-nowhere Texas Ranch hoping to dupe the homeowners without their knowledge.
What the group doesn’t know is that the couple who owns the property are have a dirty Little secret of their own. The old lady who owns the property named Pearl is a mentally unstable woman has a murderous past of her own. What turns into a night of movie-making history becomes a night of survival as our group has to do whatever they can to get off the property with their lives which is easier said than done.
I was confused when I saw Mia Goth playing a different character than Pearl especially given the backstory that the film ‘Pearl’ has established but if you watch the pair of films backwards, there is a lot of nuance to understand about the movie.
‘X’ isn’t as defined as ‘Pearl’ because instead of character study of an unstable woman, ‘X’ is a straight-up horror film about a group of pornographers getting picked off one by one. Without a doubt, Mia Goth is the muse of this series as once again her performance is the highlight of the movie due to her ability to take complex characters and bring them to life on the big screen.
Mia pulls double duty by playing the character of Maxine who much like the character of Pearl was obsessed with the idea of becoming a star. Of course, due to her drug problem and problematic relationship with her family back home, instead of becoming the movie star that she dreamed of, she became a part of a shady group of touring pornographers holding on to that dream of being a superstar.
The supporting cast of characters are strong with Brittany Snow and Martin Henderson giving the best performances outside of Mia. However, the same can’t be said for everyone such as Jenny Ortega who is not a great actress and plays a character that audiences won’t have much sympathy for.
Judging this movie as a slasher film ‘X’ is one of the better films of the year when compared to bigger budget efforts like “Scream (2022)” or “Halloween Ends.” Because it’s a slasher, there isn’t the focus on characters and storytelling which makes it a step down from its prequel.
‘Pearl’ may have set a high bar but ‘X’ is still a strong film and a perfect watch in the middle of the Halloween season.
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