A few years ago, Ti West promised in interviews that he was done with the horror genre. He broke his promise and returns to his roots with the new movie X, a homage to 70s horror films, which I saw last night at its World Premiere at SXSW. The director and stars of the movie were in attendance.
In 1979, a Houston film crew set out to shoot a porn film in a farmhouse somewhere in rural Texas. Its film producer Wayne (Martin Henderson) believes this new emerging video market is going to make him a fortune. He hires a young ambitious young filmmaker RJ (Owen Campbell) and his girlfriend Lorraine (Jenna Ortega); alongside this production are his novice porn actors Maxine (Mia Goth), Bobby-Lynne (Brittany Snow) and Jackson Hole (Kid Cudi). Wayne rented a cabin on a farm from an old recluse Howard (Stephen Ure) that lives with his ill wife Pearl. The only problem is that Wayne never told him that they were shooting a movie on his farm, much less a porn movie. The sexual energy disturbs the old couple and the crew learn of this farm disturbing history. There will be a huge body count by the end of this night.
A film that makes you scared of old people, X is a good return to form for West. It’s not a perfect film but it will leave horror fans satisfied. The special makeup FX look amazing with gore effects brought to us by Weta Workshop, making me feel pain when the murder scenes, of which there were several. The make-up work looks fantastic on the couple that are played by younger actors. He also does a great job with the cinematography by capturing the look and vibe of 70s horror films like the TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and a touch of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. The farmhouse looks like the last place you want to be stuck in Texas.
If there is a weakness in this movie is that I didn’t like the characters. They are just there to fill the body count. The people that won’t be happy about this film are people that are freaked out by old people.
X is a solid homage to 70s horror drive-in fare and I could totally see this movie playing at drive in that era (or even a good one today). This film might also be the beginning of a new horror franchise for A24. At the end of the SxSW screening, there was a preview for the film PEARL, a prequel to X that takes place 61 years prior. It was shot in secret after filming X which was shot in New Zealand. The Covid lockdown gave the director the time to write a script about the horrifying backstory of the farmhouse and shot it with a cast that was available. Overall, many horror fans will love X, especially people that love gory pictures.
X is now screening in theatres and will be available in Canadian theatres through VVS Films and A24 Films in the United States on Friday.
This film and many others like it will be showing at South By Southwest taking place March 11-20. For more information point your browser to www.sxsw.com!