Set in 1979, X follows a group of actors looking to break into the adult movie industry. A desolate guest house in Texas serves as their filming location, a spot where only a seemingly immobile elderly couple can disturb them. Not much of an issue, in other words, even though the husband has his own opinions on what the crew is working on.
That things start taking a turn for the worse should surprise no one. How and why, though? That is something that shouldn’t be spoiled. Going in blindly without having seen the cast list is beneficial, too.
What can be said about the latter is that each and every actor bring strong performances, disappearing completely into their characters. Some are unrecognizable, not just because of period-perfect costumes and make-up, but largely due to their out-of-character performances. I’m going to go as far as to say that Brittany Snow puts in a stellar portrayal of the assertive Bobby-Lynne.
X is written and directed by Ti West, the man behind The House of the Devil, a pitch-perfect recreation of the eighties. With X, he has done the same thing for the seventies. Had I not been exposed to a publicity wave from A24, I would have thought I was watching a remastered movie from that decade.
This goes all the way down to the type of film X is. It has the DNA of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but with stylish cinematography that goes beyond seventies grindhouse cinema. It’s obvious that West has used the six years since his previous feature to meticulously plan out X.
What happens to many in the group shouldn’t come as a shock, but the connection the elderly couple has to them will surprise you. There is a reason why a prequel, Pearl, is scheduled for a late 2022 release.
X, meanwhile, is a must-watch if you want a slick take on a gritty subject. It could have been sleazy, but it is, instead, a tense, thrilling ride.
Letterboxd summary: In 1979, a group of young filmmakers set out to make an adult film in rural Texas, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast find themselves fighting for their lives.
Ratings from around the web
|One Star Classics||5/6|