SXSW 2022: X

All slasher horror fans know that the ultimate sin that gets one killed is sex. Well, Ti West’s latest horror feature presents what happens when adult filmmakers and their cast become the targets. Taking place in 1979, X proves to be a gruesomely fun throwback that not only beautifully recreates the era in which the film takes place, but also celebrates the wild, freewheeling spirit that drove the adult film industry during the time. Now even though the movie doesn’t offer too many surprises with its story and plot, it still delivers some ghastly and disturbing moments, some of which includes some shocking violence.

In 1979, a porn film crew decides to shoot their next movie in a Texas farmhouse they rent from an elderly gentleman named Howard (Stephen Ure). Seemingly unbeknownst to Howard and his ailing wife, the film’s producer Wayne (Martin Henderson), director RJ (Owen Campbell), RJ’s sound tech girlfriend Lorraine (Jenna Ortega), and actors Maxine (Mia Goth), Bobby-Lynne (Brittany Snow), and Jackson (Kid Cudi) get to work. As production proceeds, some internal drama develops. However, this issue becomes the least of their worries, as a vicious killer begins picking them off one by one.

Written and directed by Ti West, X is certainly a wildly entertaining slasher flick. And that is not to say that it isn’t a well produced or directed one at that. West and his crew do a great job of making this movie feel just like a 1970s, moderately budgeted horror film. And at the same time, the team also work just as well at recreating the way that adult films from that era appear and play out. In addition the editing, effects, and makeup also perform exceptionally in delivering violence and gore that seems very real.

West and his casting department have also selected very well when it comes to their actors. While everyone performs solidly in their respective roles, it is Mia Goth who most definitely stands out here. As Maxine, she is the real star of this movie, but also contributes to in a way that would be a spoiler to anyone interested in the film. Just take my word for it, Goth definitely shows wonderful range in X and I hope she continues to make some bold choices with her acting career, as she has already done so far.

It makes me happy that X is already opening in theaters, because I would hate to see the festival buzz from SXSW fade away, with people forgetting about this movie. X deserves some attention and moderate admiration from horror fans, as it is a solidly executed and entertaining slasher pic.

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