Film Review: X – 8/10

‘Divine intervention…’

As a rule, I generally try to write my film reviews as the credits roll. Indeed, I’ve pretty much got the whole thing written in my head before I begin. As I went to see X at the cinema; however, on a school night no less, I didn’t have time to write anything that evening. And then the days turned to weeks and here we are two months after the fact and I’ve finally got time. So, here is a poor quality review of a good film I saw ages ago…

It’s 1979. Film is grainy. Jeans are long. Hair is massive. A group of young filmmakers led by dubious producer Wayne (Martin Henderson) head to rural Texas to film an adult movie in the farmhouse of a weird older couple. Maxine (Mia Goth) has experience in the adult film industry, but the more reserved Lorraine (Jenna Ortega) finds the whole thing a little overwhelming.

As horror fans, we know where we are here. This is Texas Chainsaw Massacre country. It’s House of 1000 corpses territory. So, what can writer-director Ti West bring to the table when treading such familiar ground? Well, first of all, West has proven himself incredibly adept at aping the classics of cinematic horror history. The House of the Devil was a lovingly crafted homage to ’80s slasher movies, and with X, West turns his attention to the exploitation horror flicks of the ’70s with a similar level of success. West perfectly captures the grind-house aesthetic of the era, but this is more than simply an exercise in nostalgia, this is a brutal, nasty ghost train through the recesses of our subconscious.

Aided by a talented cast, and a stunning amount of sex, violence and gore, everything about X screams old school. For those of us raised on the uncompromising horror films of the ’70s and ’80s, it is thrilling to return to that world here. It helps that in Jenna Ortega, West has recruited the hottest scream queen in the business right now (The Babysitter: Killer Queen, Insidious and Scream), but really, this is West’s baby, and boy, is it gleefully deformed and monstrous.

X is unabashed in its commitment to the past, but Ti West holds the future of mainstream horror movies in his hands. Now, get on with a ’90s tribute, please.