Starring Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega
Scott’s Review #1,310
Reviewed October 20, 2022
Film company A24 has become synonymous with releasing quality independent films, mostly within the horror genre. The newbie distributor, only birthed in 2012, has hit it out of the park on numerous occasions.
Cutting-edge and downright bizarre projects like Ex Machina (2014), Hereditary (2018), and Midsommar (2019) immediately spring to mind.
I’ll see anything that this company releases.
A group of young, aspiring actors set out to make an adult film named The Farmer’s Daughters, in rural Texas. They rent a cabin from an unwitting elderly, reclusive couple. When the old folks catch on to what the actors are doing all hell breaks loose as an unlikely killer begins a murder spree.
At the risk of spoiling the fun X was shot on location in New Zealand which doubles as Texas, USA.
Ah, the magic of movie-making.
The film immediately will draw comparisons to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) in setting alone. Isn’t remote and barren farmland so effective in horror? There is something so creepy and foreboding about the stillness, animals, and miles and miles of emptiness.
Instead of a slaughterhouse or rotting meat, X uses a deadly alligator which comes into play during the final act.
To further add to the similarities of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the time is the late 1970s so the character’s dress and mannerisms are similar. Even one long shot of the elderly couple’s house entryway is almost identical to the one used in that film, and surprise, surprise, the cast drives up in a van.
But X is better than merely a modern film patterned after a cult classic. There is proper tension and a stark 1970s, dirty grindhouse look with gritty camerawork and a grainy texture.
I felt absorbed in the atmosphere and the time capsule rather than watching current people dress in retro clothing.
Very few viewers of X will likely be prudes but there is a fair amount of nudity and sexual behavior- I mean a lot!
Since a porn film is being made this is unsurprising but rests assured there is a hefty helping of tits, asses, and full-frontal nudity.
Perhaps as a response to the typically voyeuristic female-only nudity in most older slasher films, there is plenty of male nudity to balance the scales.
Another improvement to slasher films is the incorporation of character development and diversity. In lesser films, supporting nymphomaniacs like Bobby-Lynne (Brittany Snow) and Jackson (Scott Mescudi), who is black, would have been written as one-dimensional but not in X.
Bobby-Lynne and Jackson love sex but they also have dreams and aspirations and are kind people, each separately trying to help the elderly couple.
Unsurprisingly, the elderly couple, especially the wife, takes center stage as the plot moves along. Suffice it to say, Pearl (the old lady) longs to be young and sexual again like she was in her prime.
She stalks Maxine (Mia Goth), touches her, and finally sneaks into bed with her hoping to recapture her lost youth.
Things don’t exactly go well.
Goth portrays both Maxine and Pearl.
Motivations of Pearl may be a stretch but there is a creepy fascination that works well throughout X and the film never drags. It’s not every day that a ninety-year-old woman in a blood-soaked house dress wanders about a farm bludgeoning folks to death.
For a raw, independent, and fun foray back to the early days of the slasher genre before it became overly conventional, X is a winner.
A24 has another success on its hands since X (2022) will be followed by both a prequel and a sequel.