Fancy a creepy erotic horror set on a farm in the 1970s? Then A24’s X is your answer. More specifically, Ti West’s movie sees a group of young pornographic filmmakers head on to a set on the grounds of a farm run by the elderly Howard (Stephen Ure) and his wife Pearl (Mia Goth). Flaunting their youth and being incredibly indiscreet about their X-rated antics, their hosts catch them in the act, and as night falls, they one by one begin to disappear under gory circumstances in an act of ageist jealously.
Featuring a renowned cast and an enticing plot, one is eager to see more as the feature opens upon a body and blood-soaked nightmare being investigated by two police officers. Taking place over the course of 24 hours and bearing a run time of 105 minutes, it isn’t too long before the cast quit fooling around and get to the slashing. Once the bloody violence does ensue, it all begins to unravel quickly, knocking off character after character in every following scene. But what makes this film different from others of its genre is how it features an exceptionally able cast, not falling to the trivial and typical stereotypes that surround the story arcs of most horror movie characters.
Goth does most of the heavy lifting, playing two roles, both young and old, but alongside Brittany Snow, Jenna Ortega, Kid Cudi and Martin Henderson, you really do get a collective of colourful characters that you believe in. They have arrived at this spooky farm with freaky owners, not because they are lost, but because they actually have a purpose. One character entertainingly goes as far as to say the reason for his presence as a movie maker in the film is that, “It’s possible to make a good dirty movie”, and if he believes it then so do we. Their performances assist with X’s brazen self-awareness, and the funny quips and other movie references throughout hit with acceptability.
Where the horror elements are concerned, kudos must go to the hair and make-up department who go to town on Goth and Ure, transforming them into the ugliest and most decrepit – yet still human – human beings you’ll ever see. The editing too presents, not your usual frightening traits, but instead inserts cunning cuts throughout moments of tension, meaning the viewer really struggles to anticipate when the true jump scares will happen.
Like in many horrors, there are numerous counts of ridiculousness, but this time the genre has got the A24 treatment and there is visibly some more style in its presentation. X should be considered more “creepy” than “scary”. Rather than constantly thinking of how to make the audience scream, the screenplay maintains its gaze on the idea of how our bodies change with age, only this time the elderly seek revenge on the young for their sins out of bitterness. That is not to say you pity the villains towards the end, but the monsters in this movie are human too and were in fact just like you and me, once upon a time.
X is released nationwide on 18th March 2022.
Watch the trailer for X here: