Film Review: X
For those left questioning why we exist after Netflix subjected us to the abomination that was the latest Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot, worry not. A film has been released to cure you of any disenchantment towards Texas-based slashers. X, Ti West‘s latest film is a refreshing and innovative tribute to the 74’ Tobe Hooper film that started it all.
Another success for A24, a production company that is now a label synonymous with visionary filmmaking. Slapping their sticker on a film guarantees an automatic watch for me, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
It’s 1979, and a group of “adult entertainment actors” arrive in Texas. They require a rural farmhouse setting for their new “film”, so they settle on the property of an old, cranky, and definitely creepy couple. However, the group’s hijinks do not sit well with their elderly landlords- to ruthlessly violent consequences.
The movie centres around the hopeful break out actress Maxine – Mia Goth in captivating form as usual. As is Scream (2022) star Jenna Ortega. Brittany Snow has a fantastically fun role, which she plays for laughs brilliantly.
X is one to see in the cinema if that is possible for you in these times. It’s always a good time to experience the audience’s collective outbursts. Laughter, verbal gross-outs, murmurs of anticipation at tense scenes and awe at the gore splashed across the big screen. X features impressive prosthetics that rival Tilda Swinton‘s in 2018’s Suspiria and practical effects that should always belong in a good Slasher. If this is something that will convince you to see it: plenty of farm equipment meets flesh!
A component of X’s intention is shock value; it is looking to get a reaction out of its audience, whether in horror or disgust. The only less-than-positive critique I have of the film is that, at times, it feels like it’s using a gimmick.
There is also the use of the elderly as a source of horror, which feels a bit unfair. What is unfortunately colloquially nominated as ‘Hagsploitation’. If X is anything, it is society’s fear of aging on full display in the most grotesque way possible. Expect front and centre, the use of the naked body of an older woman as monstrous- and take what you will about the morality of that. Something for us all to question and reflect on is the sexism that has spawned this brand of exploitation.
However, these sensational elements also enter the film into the horror-comedy realm. It also has some of the best comedic timing that I have lately witnessed, a welcome effect of one hell of a script.
X is visually enthralling and looks authentic to the decade in which it is set, which helps to establish itself as a homage to those older horror classics. The film features a mesmerising aerial shot that will go down as one of the most iconic water-based horror sequences ever. I’m calling it now- you’ve seen that claim here first!
Leave oversaturating remakes back in the 2000s where they belong and watch X- a near-perfect love letter to a foundational film of the genre. It will get praises just for doing that. But it would be a shame to applaud it just on its ‘elevated horror’ when it has so many other things about it to appreciate. X is a genius piece of horror filmmaking.
“a refreshing and innovative tribute to the 79′ Tobe Hooper film that started it all”
4 tombstones out of 5…