Director: Ti West
Runtime: 106 minutes
Cast: Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson, Owen Campbell, Stephen Ure, Mia Goth, Scott Mescudi, Brittany Snow
Synopsis: In 1979, a group of young filmmakers set out to make an adult film in rural Texas, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast find themselves fighting for their lives.
Written and directed by American film director, producer, screenwriter, editor, cinematographer, Ti West [The Roost (2005), The House of the Devil (2009), The Innkeepers (2011), The Sacrament (2013), In a Valley of Violence (2016)], the film X is a terrifying, bloodthirsty love letter to ‘70s slasher films. It follows a group of young filmmakers who travel to rural Texas to shoot an adult film. When the working day is done, and with nowhere to go, the crew (led by Suspiria (2018) star Mia Goth) find themselves spending the night at a reclusive elderly couple’s farmhouse. But, of course, things are not what they seem. Will they ever get to wrap on their X rated feature?
Funny, filthy and freaky, X is a fresh spin on the classic slasher formula. Ti West is a virtuoso in the horror genre and X is an atmospheric, self-referential, narrative which is a slow burn and deeply psychological, horror black comedy with a throwback element to previous ‘70s slasher-type films.
X is original decadent, disturbing and depraved and the killings come in various ways, providing a gut punch, along with excellent production values, stunning visuals from cinematographer Eliot Rockett, and superb sound-effects and soundtrack. Women are not portrayed as helpless victims and there is a sly humour about sexual relations.
Ti West’s excellent inventive script also makes poignant and pointed obervations in terms of age versus youth and the desire to be desired.
There is also among the traditional unnerving ‘scary bits’, the added perk of an alligator that conveniently shows up at the right moments.
A strong acting ensemble, entertaining while simultaneously disgusting, provide a sinister homage to the 1970s horror genre films.
X is a well-timed, perfect mix with just the right amount of horror gore, sex and challenging commentary on how society views and judges people. One day it may become a cult classic…but for now note X is not suitable for a couple on a first date!
Images courtesy of: A24