When I first heard of what Ti West was working on with X, I was more than intrigued. His The House of the Devil is one of my favorite throwback to the 80’s films, so I was completely on board with Ti deciding to set a film about shooting a porno in the late 70’s.
A pornographic film director (Martin Henderson) based in Houston takes a young filmmaker (Owen Campbell), his girlfriend (Jenny Ortega), and three actors (Brittney Snow, Mia Goth, Kid Cudi) to a rural Texas farm to shoot a new film. The elderly farm’s owner (Stephen Ure) and his wife, Pearl (Mia Goth – yes, she has two roles), are well well past their prime. Pearl sees what the film’s stars represent, youth and freedom in their sexuality, and longs for the days when she had the same.
When the cameraman’s girlfriend decides she would like to be in the film, he becomes jealous and decided to leave in the dead of night while the rest of the crew is asleep. He encounters Pearl as he attempts to leave, and it sets off a chain of bloody events that leave only one person alive.
Every frame of this film is brilliant. Both Brittney Snow and Mia Goth bring their A-game, but it is Mia Goth as Pearl that really stands out. When Mia Goth is the porn star, she is sensual and you can’t look away. As Pearl, she is haunted by her own lost youth as her husband turns away her advances and she is left watching the film crew make a film of the very thing she is missing out on.
West expertly combines the exploitation aspects of pornography, the atmosphere and gore of a horror film, and the post-Vietnam War era in American history. Both sexuality and gore are on full display, as well as the regrets one encounters in old age when your body wilts and your spirit diminishes.
This film is masterful in every sense. Nothing was left behind here. Every moment was thought out in detail. Every shot a work of art. Every performance a marvel. It’s now at the top of my list of horror films for 2022. X deserves a viewing on the big screen so head to the theater, buy some popcorn, and watch this masterpiece unfold where it was meant to be seen.