Good news, horror-fans – Ti West’s X hits the spot.
Set in the badlands of 1979 Texas, X follows a group of young filmmakers who hire an isolated farmhouse to shoot an adult film titled “The Farmer’s Daughter” – but when their reclusive, oddball elderly hosts catch a glimpse of what they’re doing, things turn violent, quickly!
I loved how ciné-literate and meta this was, and didn’t mind at all how unsubtle it was in showing that off.
The hickspoitation films this riffs on dealt with contemporary concerns, whereas this one can’t help but be a nostalgia exercise. Nonetheless, one death got a laugh and another got a spontaneous clap from me, so being a throwback isn’t necessarily such a bad thing. Certainly if you see one Texas Chain Saw Massacre riff this year, make it this one. Bonus points for the combined Perfect Blue / Psycho reference shot.
The MVP is a tie between Mia Goth (in two different roles!) & Jenna Ortega, though Martin Henderson is also pretty game, hands-on-hips in his tighty-whities.
I also enjoyed Goth’s disappearing/reappearing eyeshadow. Probably a genuine continuity error, but it fit the low-budget exploitation vibes.
West has fun with his quotable dialogue too, giving his characters great lines from “Now I am executive producer on this here picture, and that means I get a say!” to “We’re like a foxy car wreck.” That last one is true indeed, in all the best ways.
If you’ve been missing that sweaty, chicken-fried southern exploitation vibe in your horror of late, then be sure to check out X – in cinemas now.