From director Ti West comes a film, X, that combines the horror and adult film genres. X manages to surpass the limits of graphic killings and slashings of Wes Craven’s Saw franchise, while also including a lot of sexual content. Fair warning—this is a film that may be more than some moviegoers can handle. But it is well done and I actually loved it.
X takes place in in 1979 in rural Texas. A group of filmmakers rent out a property to make an adult film. The porn gang includes Maxine, Lorraine, Bobby-Lynne, Jackson, RJ, and Wayne, played by Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Brittany Snow, Kid Cudi, Owen Campbell, and Martin Henderson, respectively. The film starts with laughter, a lot of sex, and the gang partying down like there’s no tomorrow. But the fun starts to go downhill when landlord Howard, played by Stephen Ure, realizes what they are doing on his property. Then the porn stars must fight for their life from this insane landlord, as he stalks them in the woods where alligators lurk and traps await them.
All slasher thrillers have some obvious commonalities, and X is similar to some other slasher films I love, like Vacancy(2007), both versions of The Last House on the Left (1972 and 2009), Sinister(2012). Besides the gore, horror films always leave the audience wondering how the good guys could possibly make it out alive when the killer is around every corner. In X the good guys have more places to hide, but that means there are also more places for the crazy landlord to hide. Plus, the land itself is dangerous with the alligators and other traps lurking.
X was filmed on a Sony Cinealta Venice camera, which greatly enhances its cinematography quotient, and the overall enjoyment of the film. No camera captures natural light and vivid colors like the Venice.
There aren’t many slasher thrillers that can shock fans of this genre, but X does manage to shock at times, and it’s just different enough to make it not your typical brand of horror. It really is a knockout work of art. Three and a half stars for X.