‘X’ movie review: Mia Goth stars in this silly retro slasher flick

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Written and directed by Ti West (“Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever”), the 1979 set “X” follows the unfortunate fate of the cast and crew of a super low-budget adult film called “The Farmer’s Daughter “. Set on a rural Texas farm and following the predictable contours of many dirty jokes centered around the basic character – do this caricature – of a sexually rapacious young woman and lucky traveler, the movie within a movie is a series of nudges and winks alluding to past tropes and stereotypes. Some are more offensive than others: An Afroed Scott Mescudi, aka Kid Cudi, plays the sexually prolific traveler, who can rock his head on camera not just with his blonde girlfriend (Brittany Snow), but also with the petite friend (Mia Goth) of the film’s producer (Martin Henderson) and girlfriend (Jenna Ortega) of its director (Owen Campbell). Campbell, whose character is an aspiring filmmaker who references the French New Wave, gets the nudgiest and winkiest dialogue. “It’s possible to make a good dirty movie,” he tells his sweetheart, Lorraine, who initially disapproves of all the hardcore sexiness – until she, for some unlikely reason, decides to go for it. join.

It’s certainly possible to make such a movie, but I’m not sure “X” is the most compelling argument.

Still, it has certain je ne sais quoi, if graphic nudity, self-referential humor and serial murder – neck stabbing, eye gouging, alligator nibbling and shotgun firing – are your thing. . The victims, as in many films of this genre, are young people who love sex. And the bad guys are the elderly owner of the isolated farmhouse where the crew has settled (Stephen Ure) and his equally elderly wife. Oddly, they’re the bad guys not because they don’t like sex, but because they do. Wife Pearl, who looks about 150 but still likes to roll in hay, is irritated that her retired husband can’t play because of a weak heart, so she takes his sexual frustration on the children. The fact that she’s played by Goth, doubling down on some pretty convincing if cartoonish old age makeup, is unsettling. This suggests that old people are inherently scary or something to laugh about – and excited ones are even scarier and more laughable.

Perhaps for this film’s young target demographic – presumably people who weren’t even born in the year it takes place – there’s nothing more terrifying than an old lady still feeling sick. sexual desire. For anyone old enough to have lived until 1979 – and not to have nostalgia for the ingenuity of DIY porn and VHS slasher movies, “X” is less of a treat.

On the other hand, who knew that a silly movie – part bloodbath, part skin-twisting – would offer the viewer not just so much to think about, but so much to look forward to? A prequel has already been shot, starring Goth as young Pearl.

R In neighborhood theatres. Contains bloody violence and gore, strong sexual material, graphic nudity, drug use and coarse language. 105 minutes.

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