A24’s X is an erotic slasher that is a gory throwback to 70’s grindhouse movies.
2022 is off to an excellent start for fans of slasher films, and X will join great company starting this weekend. While it doesn’t deconstruct the genre like Scream (2022) or its meta predecessors, it succeeds where others have failed by offering chilling suspense and gruesome deaths. All with the directorial flair A24 Studios is known for.
In 1979, a group of young Houstonian filmmakers set out to make an adult film in rural Texas, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast members find themselves in a fight for their lives.
The film stars Mia Goth as Maxine, a drug-addled stripper who believes this starring role in an X-rated film is her ticket to Hollywood stardom. She is joined by her sleazy producer boyfriend, played by Martin Henderson. Owen Campbell plays the director who envisions himself as an arthouse director meant for more than pornography. They’re joined by Lorraine (Jenna Ortega from Scream 2022), Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect), and Kid Cudi.
Gross shots of roadkill and ominous music foreshadow things to come. And black and white TV clips of a preacher giving a sermon on modern-day morality often punctuate the eerie events that take place on the farm. The two elderly hosts’ motivations are what make them so sinister. Their jealousy towards the youthfulness of their guests comes from a human place. The young people are making a sex film; the aging wife just wants to know her husband still finds her attractive. There are also some great one-liners and plenty of creative kills.
I give X a 3.5 out of 5 stars. At a refreshing 1 hour and 45 minutes (when every movie seems to tip the 2 and a half hour mark lately), ‘X’ doesn’t overstay its welcome and offers some entertaining thrills.