top of page
  • Writer's picture

X Review

Directed by: Ti West

Written by: Ti West

Starring: Mia Goth, Martin Henderson, Jenna Ortega



Ti West was once a consistent figurehead of indie horror, directing The House of the Devil, a segment of VHS and The Innkeepers. After a long break, he has teamed up with A24 to write/direct a homage to both 70’s slashers and porn. X is a more mainstream effort from both creatives, but the end result is still another quality horror film.

In 70’s Texas, actresses Maxine and Bobby-Lyne (Mia Goth and Brittany Snow), actor Jackson (Scott Mescudi), assistant Lorraine (Jenna Ortega), director RJ (Owen Campbell) and producer Wayne (Martin Henderson) get together to shoot a porno near an old house. But trouble starts brewing when the old couple don’t take kindly to them.

X wears its vintage roots on its sleeves proudly. There are both clear visual call-backs to classic horror movies and filmmaking choices that make the movie feel like a film of the 70’s. The sometimes-strange jumpy editing, the wipe transitions, the look, even the soundtrack invoke this old-fashioned feel. There is little that wouldn’t have been in a 70’s version of this film (aside from maybe some of the graphic violence) and West’s cinematography is great at not only being like this but also at just being appealing to look at. There are many standout angles and shot choices, which goes hand in hand with the sense of build-up and payoff/subversion, not to mention excellent sound design and music.

X’s porn hook allows the chance for not only more sex and nudity than you’d typically see in a mainstream film, but also a story about desire vs repression, the old generation vs the newer generation and the porn industry vs the standard Christian way of living. There’s even some meta stuff and typical A24 metaphorical readings about filmmaking, horror movies, censorship, religion, even fate.

The script can get unsubtle with these themes towards the end, but in many ways X not only functions as a film of two halves (a sometimes creepy but mostly humorous and light look at these guys shooting a porno followed by a dark disturbing slasher situation) but also like sex. A slow seduction followed by rough action and a climax. The script also writes the villains more interestingly than one would expect and they create some of the most bizarre scenes in the film, but there is a genuine creepiness to them and the motivation for one of them is interesting and a tad sympathetic.

X’s pacing is slow, and the film does feel longer than it is, but it has enough characterisation to keep investment. The characters are surprisingly likeable. Maxine is on her own a sympathetic character and one that is more interesting in light of a reveal towards the end, Wayne could have easily been a sleazy stereotype but has a lot of charisma and is decent towards his crew, even enthused stars Bobby-Lyne and Jackson are decent people. The only dislikeable one is RJ, but he fits what the film is going for thematically well. As for the acting, Brittany Snow as Bobby-Lyne is a fun presence, as is Martin Henderson, though Mia Goth’s acting is the standout, especially when considering that she actually plays two entirely different characters, which is both blatantly clear and seamlessly handled. She nails it.

X is probably Ti West’s best film since House of the Devil, a blend of old-fashioned homage and A24 weirdness that will be an interesting sit for some audiences. The upcoming prequel Pearl is teased after the credits and it looks like it will be an interesting addition to this accomplished horror production.



The UK Film Review Podcast - artwork

Listen to our
Film Podcast

Film Podcast Reviews

Get your
Film Reviewed

Video Film Reviews

Watch our
Film Reviews

bottom of page