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X – Review

A classic horror premise, a small group of young adults set out to some remote location to film and adult movie. While there some creepy local goes on a rampage and murders the outsiders. Can this old and familiar trope stay entertaining or will ‘X’ be a film best skipped?

X
Directed by : Ti West
Cinematographer : Eliot Rockett
Starring : Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Brittany Snow
A24 Studios
Rated R
1h46m

This common slasher/horror genre has been around forever. Countless films have taken the premise and done incredible(and horrible) things with the simple story concept.

A24 films is known for mostly high quality films, sometimes bordering on the bit “out there” in terms of the “what the hell did I just watch?” factor.

So seeing their take on this common horror premise was high up on my list, and they didn’t disappoint.

The film is set in 1979 and opens with the sheriffs discovering the aftermath of the slaughter. Right off the bat I thought it felt like an interesting choice because you start the film off knowing, roughly, where bodies are going to start stacking up.

From there we jump back 24 hours and meet our crew of filmmakers, all hoping to make a name for themselves with the porn film they are heading off to shoot. Lofty goals with a promise of “making a GOOD dirty movie” that will shake up and change the industry are the word of the day.

As the film strolls forward we are treated to the standard “T&A” so commonplace in those 70’s horror films and while we are getting hints and teases that something is not right, the suspense is a slow build and in A24 fashion, the focus is on character not on violence. At least through the first part of this film.

But once the violence kicks off, all bets are off and it becomes a fun game of figuring out which body will end up in which spot seen when the film started.

In the end we are treated to an adaptation of this old premise that feels familiar yet fresh. In large part that is due to the focus on character, the themes and parallels between our killers motive and the young adults just trying to live their best lives, and the beautiful cinematography.

While I’ve seen plenty of more extreme versions of this type of story, this one was very enjoyable. It balanced nicely the brutal violence and gore with character driven storylines and held that balance nearly perfectly through the entire film.

The violence and gore, while certainly worthy of some minor winces and tension, was NOT the most unsettling part of this film however. There are a handful of scenes featuring the elderly locals that own the farm being rented by the film-makers, in which moments of disturbing, well… no easy way to put it… disturbing intimacy and sexual acts occur that were by far the most unsettling and creepy thing in this film.

At the end of the day we are treated to a fresh take on a familiar horror trope that is full of great jump scares, tense moments, and unsettling creepy vibes. While not the most extreme horror film, it’s certainly a worthy watch for any fans of horror films.

‘X’ gets 4.5 out of 5 stars

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