Tag Archives: Ti West

X (2022) Review

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X

Time: 105 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence, horror, drug use & sex scenes
Cast:
Mia Goth as Maxine Minx/Pearl
Jenna Ortega as Lorraine
Brittany Snow as Bobby-Lynne
Kid Cudi as Jackson Hole
Martin Henderson as Wayne Gilroy
Owen Campbell as RJ Nichols
Director: Ti West

A group of actors sets out to make an adult film in rural Texas under the noses of their reclusive hosts, but when the elderly couple catches their young guests in the act, the cast finds themselves in a desperate fight for their lives.

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I had been hearing of X leading up to its release. I wasn’t familiar with director Ti West’s past work, I only knew that it was an A24 horror movie starring Mia Goth. I didn’t watch the trailer, but it looks reminiscent of the low budget horror slashers from 5 decades ago, so it intrigued me. Overall, I was quite satisfied with the movie and it delivers on what it set out to do.

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X is definitely a slow burn with a lot of build up over the course of the film, in fact it is quite a while before the first kill happens. However, I thought that it worked for the movie, and it never really dragged across its hour and 45 minute runtime. It definitely has a lot of love for the slasher movies of the 70s like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and pays tribute to them. The tone was appropriate for this story, you take it seriously enough. but at the same time it has its fair amount of humour and self-awareness that makes it fun to watch. There’s a lot happening thematically, transgressive art vs puritanical values, repression, sex and beauty. It’s also a surprisingly sex positive movie, especially considering that this is a slasher film with its setup being the main group of characters making a pornographic movie. In terms of issues, I wished that more things happened at the ending, it felt a bit too abrupt in the last minutes of the film. Also, for all the ideas and themes that it touches upon, X doesn’t seem to do much with them by the end. In that sense, I wish it either committed more and delved deeper into those topics, or focus more on the grindhouse homage.

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The acting from everyone is great. Mia Goth stands out among the cast in two stellar performances, one of them playing a completely unrecognisable character. Other actors including Jenna Ortega, Kid Cudi, and Brittany Snow also deliver, the main cast works together incredibly well with natural chemistry.

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This is the first movie I’ve seen from director Ti West, and now I really want to check out his other work. As I said before, X clearly has a lot of love for the grindhouse horror subgenre, and it embraces its silly and bloody nature. It nails the 70s aesthetic and style, and absolutely nails the eerie atmosphere. At the same time, it’s not stuck being only a grindhouse homage and manages to be its own thing. The cinematography is great and takes advantage of its locations and sets, the use of zooms were particularly effective in building up the tension. It is less aiming for jump scares and is more intense and suspenseful with the feeling of lingering and growing dread. There are some great practical effects with top notch sloppy gore with the creative kills (again very grindhouse-esque). The makeup is also excellent, especially with one particular character. The editing also does a lot for the movie, especially with the split screens and harsh cuts. The score from Tyler Bates and Chelsea Wolfe also added a lot to the feeling of the movie.

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X is a solid, suspenseful, gory and darkly funny horror movie and homage to the slashers of the 70s. It’s stylishly directed by Ti West and has great performances from the cast. If you like slasher movies, particularly those leaning towards the grindhouse side, I definitely think that you’ll really like it. Apparently, West has already films a prequel to X and is currently working on a sequel, and after seeing the first movie I’m already interested in them.

V/H/S (2012) Review

Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Contains horror, violence, sex scenes and offensive language.
Cast:

Tape 56
•Calvin Reeder as Gary
•Lane Hughes as Zak
•Kentucker Audley as Rox
•Adam Wingard as Brad
•Frank Stack as Old Man
•Sarah Byrne as Abbey
•Melissa Boatright as Tabitha
•Simon Barrett as Steve
•Andrew Droz Palermo as Fifth Thug

Amateur Night
•Hannah Fierman as Lily
•Mike Donlan as Shane
•Joe Sykes as Patrick
•Drew Sawyer as Clint
•Jas Sams as Lisa
•Cuthbert Wallace as Toothbrush

Second Honeymoon
•Joe Swanberg as Sam
•Sophia Takal as Stephanie
•Kate Lyn Sheil as Girl

Tuesday the 17th
•Norma C. Quinones as Wendy
•Drew Moerlein as Joey Brenner
•Jeannine Yoder as Samantha
•Jason Yachanin as Spider
•Bryce Burke as The Glitch

The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger

•Helen Rogers (actress) as Emily
•Daniel Kaufman as James
•Liz Harvey as The New Girl
•Corrie Fitzpatrick as Girl Alien
•Isaiah Hillman as Boy Alien
•Taliyah Hillman as Little Girl Alien

10/31/98
•Chad Villella as Chad
•Matt Bettinelli-Olpin as Matt
•Tyler Gillett as Tyler
•Paul Natonek as Paul
•Nicole Erb as The Girl
•John Walcutt as Cult Leader
•Eric Curtis as Roommate

Director: Adam Wingard (Tape 56), David Bruckner (Amateur Night), Ti West (Second Honeymoon), Glenn McQuaid (Tuesday the 17th), Joe Swanberg (The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger), Radio Silence (10/31/98)

Hired to steal a rare VHS tape from a remote house, a ragtag band of crooks finds a dead body, old TVs and a lot of cryptic footage.

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This idea sounded dead on arrival, simply because found footage movies have been done to death, nearly all of them nowadays are just retreads of previous better versions, and are just cash grabs. However, this movie is a bit surprising, as it has a lot of variety and is almost experimental. I wouldn’t really call it a great movie overall, a lot of it is hit or miss but it is better than most of the found footage films in recent years.

This movie ties everything together with a main plot of thieves breaking into a house and seeing these tapes. However, you don’t really end up caring that much about this plotline. It doesn’t help that these characters are horrible, uninteresting and unlikable. By the end I didn’t really get why this story was supposedly tying the other tapes together. The best segment was the first tape titled Amateur Night. It also has a clever way of having the camera, with it being in the protagonist’s glasses. On top of that, there seemed to be an actual reason for most of the characters to be unlikable, and it pays off in a great way. The payoff on the whole is great and it does have legitimately intense moments. The 2nd tape, Second Honeymoon was one of the weakest segments, basically it follows a couple. Aside from the ending, there’s nothing that memorable about the segment. The other segments at least had some sense of uneasiness before the payoff, this segment only had one scene before this payoff, and it just isn’t at the level as the others. This movie aside from a couple scenes didn’t have much reason to have the camera. Tuesday the 17th follows a group of friends going to the forest. It had some good aspects to it, it was rather creative with the payoff but the characters were insufferable. The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She was Younger is a bit different from the others but once you see everything, it works well. It’s done through skype calls between two people and while I wouldn’t say that its scary, it was well done. The last clip is 10/31/98, which involves a group of friends on Halloween going into an ‘odd’ house. While it was fun, it wasn’t really a great segment.

The acting is incredibly hit or miss. Some were fine, others were awful, though I have a feeling that a lot of that has to do with the writing. Most the characters are incredibly annoying or unlikable. There are some good performances in here though. In Amateur Night Hannah Fierman is great in her role, without giving too much away she does well at being socially awkward, creepy but yet manages to infuse sympathy into her performance. And in The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily When She was Younger, the two lead actors (Helen Rogers and Daniel Kaufman) were really good in their roles.

As for the direction, each of the 6 segments has its own director, all of them are at least okay, the direction of the clips weren’t really the source of my problems with some of them. As I said, some of the found footage aspects made sense within the story, but for others, not so much.

VHS is a bit of a mixed bag honestly. Most of the characters are horrible, the plots follow a lot of clichés and most of them aren’t all that great. However, if you are a fan of horror and you are curious enough, I’d suggest giving it a watch. It’s not all great but it is a little fun. It’s at least good enough for me to willing give the sequel a try, maybe it might be better overall.