Plot: What’s it about?
Chalk this up as one of 2022’s biggest surprises. X is a film that I saw the trailers for and was mildly intrigued, but the positive feedback from critics furthered my anticipation. I am a horror film, but more of the past and not so much the present. I find much of the recent efforts to be strongly lacking. A few slip between the cracks and are effective (I enjoyed both Strangers films and some others), but really the genre is oozing with greatness lately. X finds a way to make the old new again. The film wisely goes back to the late 70’s and follows a film crew as they set out to make a porno film, but find things soon take an ugly turn. I will dive further into the plot in a bit, but this is one that horror fans from the past need to check out. The cast is top notch, and Director Ti West puts his own signature on the film. While it does wear its influences on its sleeve (most notable the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre film), it still feels like its own thing. Worth noting is that when I saw the film theatrically, it contained a post-credits scene which was a trailer for a prequel film featuring a main character. This was supposedly shot in secrecy while this film was being film. Unfortunately, this scene was left off this home video release for some reason, but I can’t wait to see what Ti West does next.
The film begins with a Sheriff stumbling upon a very bloody crime scene. It’s a rural location, and we’re not quite sure what has taken place, but we, the audience will get more of a clue than the sheriff and those investigating this crime scene. We flashback 24 hours and see the events leading up to the opening scene. We meet our lead characters who are all working on making a porno film out in a rural part of Texas. We have Wayne (Martin Henderson) who is the producer and boyfriend of Maxine Minx (Mia Goth in a dual role). She is a porno actress and then we have Bobby-Lynne (Brittany Snow) and her boyfriend Jackson Hole (Scott Mescudi). Both are also acting in the film that is being made. Lastly, there’s RJ Nichols (Owen Campbell) and his girlfriend Lorraine (Jenna Ortega) who is the most reserved of our lead actors. After some early exposition, they arrive at the location where they are to shoot the film. At first, they’re met with some hesitation by the elderly couple, Howard (Stephen Ure) and his wife, Pearl ( Mia Goth), but Wayne is able to ease their minds and things resume. One thing X gets right is giving us some interesting and well-developed characters. All the actors here fir their characters so perfectly that we almost forget they’re acting. Well, acting within acting too. By that I mean that we see them filming the movie-within-a-movie segments as well. I was really hoping that none of them would perish, but they’re in a horror film, so that wasn’t meant to be. It isn’t until abut halfway through the film that things take a turn, but I don’t want to reveal too much. While I have seen more frightening horror films, X does provide some solid thrills.
I do hope the film finds a wider audience on home video as it really is a solid experience. There are, however, just a few things that keep it from greatness. While I wasn’t as bothered on the second viewing, there are some plot elements that could’ve been fleshed out better. There’s a nice theme about aging gracefully and that all of us are on borrowed time basically. I just felt some things could’ve either been left out or explained in a more effective manner. That nitpicking aside, this really is one of the better horror efforts in quite some time It has really all one could want from this sort of film. There’s gore, nudity and just enough touches of humor to make for a satisfying time. It also knows not to overstay its welcome. Check it out.
Video: How’s it look?
We get a nice 1.89:1 transfer that was pleasing to the eyes. It is important to remember that any traces of grain or roughness are likely intentional as the film has a throwback feel to it. Details are strong and all the colors appeared real and accurate.
Audio: How’s it sound?
I enjoyed the DTS HD track, especially in the livelier moments. I did want a bit more clarity from the vocals but adjusting the volume accordingly during those scenes helped. Overall, there isn’t much to complain about here as this should please viewers.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- The X Factor – A nice behind the scenes that features the cast and crew discussing the film and what drew them to the project. It’s fun to see what some of the actors look like without their wigs and makeup on.
- The Farmer’s Daughter – This gives us a quick look at the porno film being made.
- Pearl Makeup Timelapse – A short but interesting feature showing how they aged Mia Goth for her secondary role and Pearl.
The Bottom Line
X is a horror film done right. I can’t wait to see what Ti West does next. The stars are all perfectly cast in their roles (both in the actual film and the film being made) and it gives us exactly what we’d expect. Some plot elements could’ve been better fleshed out, but otherwise this is a solid effort that needs to be seen, especially for fans of this genre. Recommended.