A24 is one of my favorite studios in the business right now. While I certainly don’t like everything they produce, I can always count on them delivering something fresh and unique. Enter X, a new horror movie from Ti West, who’s got a pretty rich history in the horror world. I took a trip to the theater to check out the new movie and goddamn, is it good. Let me dig into why I can’t stop thinking of this flick.
Of course, I’ll be keeping things spoiler-free!
X follows the story of a group of adult filmmakers that go to shoot a dirty movie on a farm that soon find out there’s a bit more to the creepy old couple that owns the place. That’s about as far as I’ll go on plot info as I think this is one of those watches that are even better the less you know going in.
X gave me strong “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” vibes both in its setting and how it slowly builds up to its horror. There’s a lot of anticipation and dread that builds up in the audience, as we all know that this situation is heading to a bad place. There are also some particular shots and sequences that are lifted right out of the 1974 classic.
The movie is also stacked with great performances. Mia Goth is the star and delivers a mesmerizing performance. Brittany Snow and Kid Cudi are both charming, and I was really impressed with Cudi’s acting chops as a longtime fan of his music. Owen Campbell’s character has some of the funniest moments in the movie.
Jenna Ortega is a part of the ensemble, and I have to say she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite working actors. X and Scream two of my favorite horror movies in recent memory, and released just 2 months apart, and Ortega is excellent in both of them. She’s quickly becoming this generation’s Scream Queen and I’m all for it!
Something that really made me fall in love with X is its reverence for retro horror movies. In addition to its nods to TCM, there’s plenty of cinematic and narrative nods to classics like Psycho and The Shining. I love a movie that loves movies, and this is a damn good one.
On the horror side, there are some great kills. West does a good job at laying the groundwork for each kill, and the execution is often jarring and off-putting (in a good way). This can also be attributed to the movie’s editing, as the way it cuts between sequences builds suspense in the viewer.
Lastly, X has a pretty brilliant post-credit stinger. It gets me pumped for what’s next from Ti West and A24!
If you’re a horror fan that likes a good slasher, I can’t recommend X enough. It’s got blood, but also weaves in some clever storytelling and a decent helping of humor. For me, it hits on all cylinders. It’s hard to imagine this not being on my top 10 at the end of the year.