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X (18)

Cast: Mia Goth, Brittany Snow, Jenna Ortega, Kid Cudi, Martin Henderson, Stephen Ure
Genre: Horror
Author(s): Ti West
Director: Ti West
Release Date: 18/03/2022
Running Time: 106mins
Country: US
Year: 2022

Wayne bankrolls x-rated fantasy The Farmer's Daughters starring Bobby-Lynne, who performs at Bayou Burlesque in Austin, his fame-hungry girlfriend Maxine and bona fide porn star Jackson Hole. The three actors and Wayne bundle into a van, scripts in hand, with boom operator Lorraine and her director boyfriend RJ. They venture into the Texan countryside to shoot on location at a farm belonging to elderly couple Howard and Pearl, who are oblivious to the salacious subject matter of RJ's picture.


LondonNet Film Review
X (18)

In swashbuckling yarns like Robert Louis Stevenson’s 19th-century adventure Treasure Island, X scrawled on a map marks the spot where brave explorers should dig to unearth lustrous riches. In writer-director Ti West’s gore-slathered horror set on a remote farm in 1979 Texas – five years after Tobe Hooper revved up The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – X marks the spot where audiences can unearth a knowing homage to Leatherface’s murderous rampage threaded with a multifaceted study of female sexuality…

Full frontal nudity and wince-inducing violence abound, beginning with the stomach-churning image of disembowelled livestock on a sun-scorched highway – the unfortunate consequence of a head-on collision between a wandering beast and the front grill of a speeding lorry. That ill-fated bovine isn’t the only creature to suffer a grisly demise in West’s nostalgic script, which telegraphs its sadistic intentions so there is ample time to glance away before a sharp object like a knife or pitchfork pierces unsuspecting flesh in lurid close-up. X doesn’t skimp on viscera – sound effects editor Pascal Garneau has a symphony of squelches at his disposal to complement the icky make-up and prosthetics – and the film’s casting coup de grace is in plain sight throughout, confirmed rather deliciously, without fanfare, by the end credits.

Low budget film producer Wayne (Martin Henderson) bankrolls ex-rated fantasy The Farmer’s Daughters starring Bobby-Lynne (Brittany Snow), who performs at Bayou Burlesque in Austin, his fame-hungry girlfriend Maxine (Mia Goth) and bona fide porn star Jackson Hole (Scott Mescudi). It’s 1979, the dawn of a VHS revolution, and Wayne hopes his homemade titillation will be a licence to print money and soften the financial blow of an earlier failed project, The Topless Car Wash.

The three actors bundle into a van, scripts in hand, with boom operator Lorraine (Jenna Ortega) and her director boyfriend RJ (Owen Campbell), an independent cinema aficionado who intends to prove that “it’s possible to make a good dirty movie”. The excitable sextet venture into the countryside to shoot on location at a farm belonging to elderly couple Howard (Stephen Ure) and Pearl, who are oblivious to the salacious subject matter of RJ’s magnum opus. As night falls, someone stirs, sparking a bloodthirsty battle for survival that will eventually warrant the attention of Sheriff Dentler (James Gaylyn) and his officers.

X is a deranged throwback slasher of steadily creeping dread, which opens with Snow’s plain-talking starlet likening herself to “a foxy car crash” because viewers of The Farmer’s Daughters won’t be able to tear their eyes from the screen. It’s also an apt description for West’s picture, which trades enthusiastically in sensuality and slaughter, punctuated by macabre humour that veers towards the ridiculous in a frenetic final reckoning.

– Kim Hu


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