If you're like me, the moment the A24 logo pops up on screen before a movie, especially if it's a horror movie, you fully expect to be taken on a strange, dark, and atmospheric ride.
And their latest horror film, X, is no exception. Written and directed by filmmaker Ti West, X follows a group of filmmakers in 1979 who set out to make an adult film in rural Texas. The whole thing gives off The Texas Chain Saw Massacre meets Boogie Nights vibes. And, for good measure, there's even some surprisingly sad twists thrown in.
Note: Light spoilers ahead!
So, X opens on a grim crime scene at a run-down-looking farm. A cop arrives and appears just as clueless as we are as to what the hell happened there. Then, we get a flashback to "24 hours earlier."
We meet wannabe movie star Maxine (she idolizes Linda Carter!), her porn producer boyfriend Wayne, fellow sex workers Bobby-Lynne and Jackson Hole (who are kind of a couple, but only "sometimes"), and fledgling filmmaker RJ and his girlfriend Lorraine (who RJ has wrangled into working as his sound person for the shoot).
The group heads out on a quick road trip to rural, Bible-thumping Texas to make an adult film called The Farmer's Daughters. They even make a stop at a sad-looking gas station, which TRULY sets TheTexas Chain Saw Massacre tone.
Our filmmakers finally arrive at — what else — the ranch from the beginning of the movie. And WHO are they greeted by? Oh, only a creepy-looking old man named Howard who's CLEARLY not happy about renting his boarding house out to half naked, hot young people. He has a televangelist on blast on his TV 24/7, after all.
Howard warns Wayne and the others to not disturb his wife, Pearl, as she's apparently kind of "sensitive" to people who are up to no good. Fine by them, they say.
The cast and crew of The Farmer's Daughters get right to work and film a bunch of sex scenes worthy of Euphoria (which is somewhat ironic when you consider that Sam Levinson is also an executive producer on X).
Meanwhile, Pearl — who looks like a cross between Norma Bates and the old lady from It Chapter 2 — has DEFINITELY noticed something is afoot on her property. So, she proceeds to creep around the premises, following Maxine in particular. "She's got something special," Pearl explains.
As it turns out, Pearl has some WEIRD stuff going on. Not only is she uncomfortably obsessed with Maxine, but she's also very obsessed with youth, saying things like, "I was once like you" as she strokes Maxine's skin without her consent.
Pearl also has a penchant for wandering out of the house at night (heck, even during the day)...
...you can kinda see where things are headed with this, right?
Now, OBVIOUSLY, I'm not going to spoil the ending of the movie for you or explain how shit hits the fan, but let's just say shit hits the fan along with A LOT of blood, guts, and more.
Basically, things go from zero to 100 pretty quickly.
So, ya know, if you're squeamish...you're gonna have a hard time with this one.
Overall, X is a WILD ride. Things start out pretty boilerplate for a horror movie, but they go off the rails quite quickly. The filmmakers have done a nice job really making the film feel like it's from 1979 (there's a lot of fun, very era-specific editing and camera choices being made) and they also added some fun nods to other iconic horror films like Psycho and The Shining. There are twists that will make you cringe, some that will make you yell, and others that will likely make you laugh. So, if you're a fan of horror — 10/10 would recommend!
Curious to see the madness yourself? X opens in theaters March 18!