Finally, I was able to check out the new A 24 horror film X from writer-director Ti West. Here is my X (2022) Movie Review. Should this take on dueling exploitation genres be on your watchlist?
X (2022) Movie Review
X (2022) is an American slasher film written, directed, produced, and edited by Ti West. It stars Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson, Brittany Snow, Owen Campbell, Stephen Ure, and Scott Mescudi.
In 1979 rural Texas, a group of young filmmakers set out to make an adult film, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast finds themselves fighting for their lives.
In Horrors, movies have typically contained sex and nudity, perhaps in a way of showing the dangers of living a life of physical lust and sin. If you do it in the woods, some maniac killer is going to slash you to pieces as a result of your transgressions.
And we all know that the girl in white is supposed to survive because of her virginity remaining intact. Brittany Snow is one of the adult film stars in this movie wears white a few times, which completely contradicts the state of her chastity.
There’s also a mysterious elderly woman that lives on the farm that the crew arrives at. She wears a white nightgown a lot of the time, telling us that she is pure and righteous. But we also know that horror movies have blown all of these assumptions and tropes right out of the water.
And the rules are out the window too. Anything and everything goes. And if a story can upend our expectations and confound our normal sensibilities along with thrilling or chilling us, then it has a chance for success.
The cinematography is absolutely beautiful, where they’re not afraid to put the camera a good distance away from the subjects and then create this vast and lonely feeling.
There are also a couple of times that feel like they’ve come directly out of a 70s film where the camera zooms in or maybe out on a subject and it is a long Zoom, but it’s also not just a fully locked down Zoom. I mean, it kind of sways left or right as it zooms in and out.
When the violence is focused, we get up close and personal with the Gore and the actions. Even in the opening scene, I love how we don’t see the full scope of what’s going on Initially.
The camera sits on the setting for just a bit and then it pushes in, which then allows the whole picture to come into play, showing us that what we think may have started out as serene is anything but.
As much as I love the cinematography, I wasn’t totally a fan of a couple of the editing choices that are made in this, but I do admire their consistency.
There are some transitions that will flash back and forth between two scenes before resolving on one of them. This type of editing provides a quick sense of foreshadowing, which I think is effective and I mean the transitions aren’t bad. I just didn’t enjoy the flashes that we get between the different scenes.
There are some really great kills in this. I mean, the violence is gruesome and even exploitative in one scene, but it fits with the tone and the direction of the entire story.
Now, one kill didn’t surprise me at all. The setup and the reveal were just as I’d expected it to be. Another kill was expected, but not in the details, which were then shocking funny, and abrupt.
And there was one kill that completely caught me off guard and I laughed out louder. I mean, partly because it was jarring, but also partly just because it was genuinely funny to watch.
There’s also one kill that feels like it came directly out of the Toxic Avenger, which I thought was a nice throwback.
The effects are executed really well, with a lot of what we see done practically. The makeup, when matched with the unflinching eye of the camera, really does make for some visceral scenes, and the sound design in one particular scene is also wonderfully captured as we get to just hear all of the very detailed blows, punctures, wheezes, spurts. I mean, it’s gross, but it’s also awesome.
There are some really good conversations also that take place between the characters. The parallels between what the adult film crew discusses and then what we hear in Snippets from this televised Hellfire and Brimstone preacher. I think they’re eerily similar.
But there are also a lot of great talking points within a conversation that the film crew has as they’re just sitting around in the evening. They touch on real issues, bringing their conversation close to becoming a social commentary.
The dynamics shown between the characters are also funny, but in a frustrating way. There’s a double standard that comes into play that is just pointedly humorous, and I love how the conversation first comes about and then how it’s executed.
The hour and 45 minutes story is patient. I mean, it gives us a decent amount of buildup before anything dire actually happens.
The tone of the story starts out hopeful, but then it quickly takes on this unsettling air and the soundtrack is mainly cheery, but the score is more dramatic, sucking us into the drama and then the horror.
The intensity builds in this one, which makes the whole experience that much more immersive. And we’re not just thrust into the violence where it makes no sense. But even when it does begin, there are still a bunch of questions that I had.
I do like though, how the story does provide resolution and answers. No, I didn’t see the ending coming in the way that it plays out, and then in one sense it almost does feel a little anticlimactic.
But then, on the other hand, the conclusion is also wildly satisfying because it raised some questions about the true nature of a character, which then I left the theater pondering about.
As tense as this was, and then combined with the violence and the Gore, I was expecting to be a bit more unsettled or maybe even slightly scared, I wasn’t though. I enjoyed the anxiety that is created from the setting, the cinematography, and really the overall tone of the story but the way that it all plays out Never raised the hairs on the back of my neck or even gave me chills.
I was thrilled and engaged but just not frightened to overall, X is an exciting horror and slasher film that’s pretty smart in its storytelling.
The characters aren’t a bunch of dumb people running around the campground when they’ve just seen their friends hacked all apart. The characters react in realistic ways and when confronted with their terrifying reality they do everything they can to remove themselves from the situation.
I really appreciate that level of intelligence and awareness. The score is haunting and it contrasts incredibly well with the upbeat soundtrack of the late 70s and then the aesthetics of the production from the hair and the costumes and even the content are convincing and engaging.
While we don’t get a massive amount of development or background on the characters, what we do get is enough to become invested in at least a couple of them. Plus their charisma makes up for any lacking info creating characters that, while flawed, are also sympathetic.
The violence and Gore can be exploitative which then matches perfectly with the adult film that’s being produced. This was a surprisingly good entry into the horror genre Especially in the way that we’re drawn into the story before being coded in blood.
There’s a lot of sex and nudity but probably less than you would imagine given just the whole premise of the story. There’s a lot of profanity and an absolute ton of bloody and gruesome violence.
I am going to give X (2022) Movie 4/5.
So have you seen this one yet? I’d love to hear what you thought about it in the comments below.
Guys thank you so much for reading the X (2022) Movie Review. See you next time.
X (2022) Movie Trailer
Here is the X (2022) Movie trailer. Check it out.