Christopher Moss / Courtesy of A24
X is a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed, not only because one of my favorite rappers is in it, but because it gives the watcher everything they want and needs in a horror movie; blood, sex, and a good plot twist.
Spoilers may apply; you’ve been warned.
So X starts off with a group of folks looking to engage in the wonderful world of adult filmmaking in a rustic, rural area of good ole’ Texas. While watching the movie, I had instant flashbacks to the original 1974 film “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” a group of out-of-towners visiting a small town, clearly not fitting in. The one good thing that I enjoyed about the movie is that there were no slow to build, dull scenes; there was action throughout the entire movie.
I overlooked head-on but eventually started picking up the signs; that Maxine (Mia Goth) would be a massive part of the movie. Although she starts off the movie sniffing cocaine and speaking affirmations to herself in a mirror and comes off as insecure, you don’t realize that she is the movie’s main star rather than Bobby-Lynne (Brittany Snow). Figuratively and literally. But we will get back to that in a minute.
As the group makes their way through town to the boarding house they are renting to make their film, you’re introduced to the two main adult film stars of the dirty movie, Bobby-Lynne and Jackson Hole (Scott Mescudi). The group stops off to get some food before heading to the house, which mirrors the Texas Chainsaw Massacre scene. We would then learn of Maxine’s obsession with being the biggest adult film star as she would talk to her boyfriend Wayne (Martin Henderson), who left his wife for her.
The movie shows who has the confidence it takes to be a porn star and who doesn’t. At the same time, Bobby-Lynne is sure of herself, and Jackson does what he feels he was born to do; Lorraine (Jenna Ortega) fights the urge of becoming “one of them” as she initially sees the whole thing as immoral. Lorraine becomes more intrigued by being sexually free and liberated as Bobby-Lynne and Maxine. Her boyfriend, the filmmaker, RJ (Owen Campbell), coaches his less-than-liberated girlfriend to be less of a prude, which all backfires at the end.
As the group finally makes it to the house, we are torpedoed by Bobby and Jackson, making out in the back of the van like two horny teenage kids, which, if I may add, was extremely hot and quite humorous. We are then introduced to Howard (Stephen Ure) and his ailing (but not really) wife, Pearl. And to be honest, Howard doesn’t like them. He doesn’t like them one bit, and as I watched the movie, I realized that the film’s premise is about an old couple who seems to have disdain and a hint of jealousy against the group, mainly because they are young and fertile. So he disapproves of them; however, he allows them to stay in his boarding house as long as they do not disturb his wife. We would later learn why.
Almost immediately, the group of eager porn stars gets to work. Literally, tits and ass, a bit of moaning, and a glimpse of Scott’s derriere, we are in the middle of “The Farmer’s Daughter” production. As Bobby-Lynne and Jackson roll in the hay, Maxine steps away in a scene that almost introduces her to imminent danger. The unknowing of dangers that linger around is unbeknownst to the character but not to the movie’s watchers who learn that alligators aren’t the only thing hazardous to their health.
We then meet the infamous Pearl, the wife of the boarding house’s owner and the movie’s main villain. She looks innocent but creepy, a creepy and harmless old lady who invites Maxine over for a nice cold lemonade drink. Pearl is automatically drawn to Maxine, showing her photos of herself and Howard as a younger couple, enticed by Maxine’s face and soft skin. At first, I believed Pearl may have seen herself in Maxine and was fighting the urge to be an older woman, but we later realized that Pearl’s old ass is a sexual deviant. Maxine becomes creeped out, as anyone would, and finds her way back to the boarding house of her loyal and loving boyfriend, Wayne.
Now it is time for Maxine to make her adult film debut, and it becomes clear that Jackson is the only one clapping cheeks in this movie. Meanwhile, Pearl is slowly working on easing herself into the foxy, sexy lady she once was. So while Maxine gives Jackson one heck of a ride, Lorraine is also becoming intrigued by being a part of the film, which she later admits to the group, which comes with massive disapproval from her boyfriend, RJ. We soon realize that RJ has a secret double standard between Bobby-Lynne, Maxine, and Lorraine, as he sees her as more of a “good girl” compared to the other two ladies. Which wouldn’t matter because Wayne eventually convinces RJ that if he doesn’t work with Lorraine in the sense of being in the film, she’ll do it anyway, and he won’t have a say in it. Lorraine then proceeds to have her porno flick cherry popped.
RJ has difficulty accepting that he just saw his girlfriend having relations with Swinging Schlong Jackson and decides he will leave them to their own devices and without a vehicle. But his trip was cut short after running into Ms. Pearl, who plays the dazed and confused ailing old woman well to her advantage. After turning down her sexual advances, (yes, Ms. Pearl is trying to get her groove back); RJ is stabbed in the neck repeatedly until he dies. A scene that was as gory as I like it. Lorraine wakes up to her boyfriend, not in bed, and decides to go and investigate, which is something I never understood because why do I have to go and find you? Anyways. With the help of a shirt-less, pants-less, and shoes-less (this is important) Wayne, Lorraine ventures out to find her boyfriend, who is now dead.
The two make the ultimate BAD mistake that all horror movies usually make; and separates. Lorraine goes towards the main house, where she runs into Howard, who isn’t very happy to see her around his house so late at night. This would have been the moment when Miss little Lorraine turned around and headed back to the house, but you know—movie. So while Howard convinces Lorraine, affectionately known as “Church Mouse,” to help find his not-so-ailing wife, Wayne heads over to the barn, hoping to find the very upset RJ. But instead, Wayne got a nail to the foot in a humorous yet disgusting turn of events. Wayne ends up being the second fatality of the movie as Pearl stabs Wayne in the eye with a pitchfork through a hole in the barn. I am starting to see a pattern here.
Churchmouse and Howard are in the main house, and he asks her to check in the house’s cellar for a flashlight that will be needed in the search for Pearl, in fear that she could fall and break her hip. Unfortunately, Lorraine ends up locked up in the basement. As Lorraine starts looking for a way out of the avoidable predicament that she has now found herself in, she discovers a body hanging in the basement from the ceiling. Clearly, the man is dead, and his body is battered and bruised, and so is his manhood, which is another sign that this old couple is a set of sick, sexually charged murderous weirdos.
As Lorraine lets out a loud and blood curdling scream, Jackson intuitively wakes up and notices the bedroom door is open. (Jackson is a war veteran, which is pretty hot.) Jackson would hop up out of bed, swinging schlong and all, to get a drink of milk, and I automatically noticed the missing person ad on the side of the milk carton. Although the movie was based in 1979, I felt like that was an Easter egg. Jackson would see Howard through the window, walking towards the boarding house, flashlight, and shotgun in toe, and unfortunately for him, (Jackson had done two war tours) wasn’t in the bit of least scared of him or his gun, answered the door, naked as a jaybird and offers his help in finding Pearl.
As Howard walks Jackson into the deep dark woods to find his wife, they separate to cover more ground. Jackson would find a car, half-sunken in the swamp, but seemingly chose to ignore the fact that a vehicle was half-sunken in the water, but would see the same lantern that Howard was carrying and ran towards it, thinking that maybe the harmless older man had fallen in and potentially drowned. He didn’t. It was all a plot to catch Jackson with his guard down. After accusing Jackson of enticing his wife, he would shoot Jackson dead in the chest, killing him instantly.
Back to the boarding house, Bobby-Lynne and Maxine are the only sole survivors outside of Lorraine locked up in the main house’s basement. Pearl sneaks into the house as the two adult film stars sleep soundly in their separate beds. Finding the bedroom that Maxine was in, Pearl would again be drawn to the softness of Maxine’s skin and body and would lay in the bed with her, disgustingly breathing deep into her ear. Clearing turned on by her. It would be at that moment, Lorraine would find a small ax that she would use as an attempt to break down the basement door, only to be caught by Howard, who would take off a few of her fingers, as he tells her to keep her ass in that basement.
Back to the boarding house, Pearl is getting her feels on as Maxine is unbeknownst of what is going on. Eventually, she would wake up and scream bloody murder, which would wake up both Bobby-Lynne and the dead. Bobby-Lynne would hop out of bed and be startled by a naked Pearl, brisk walking through the house like a 1957 playboy bunny. As Bobby-Lynne comforts Maxine, Pearl makes her way to the dock nearby the house, naked as the day she was born, waiting for the next victim to come. As Bobby-Lynne leaves the house to find the men, who have all been slain, Maxine comforts herself with some cocaína.
Bobby-Lynne would find the naked Pearl on the docks and attempt to help the woman, who is seemingly dazed and confused. However, Bobby would soon learn that Pearl is anything but confused after slapping her in the face, after assuming the woman would need a nurse for her mental abilities. Enraged by the blatant disrespect, Bobby-Lynne attempts to leave the old woman right where she stands but soon realizes Pearl has no intention of letting her go. So instead, Pearl would push Bobby into the murky, dark waters and watch as a giant ass alligator rapidly eats her up. Victim number four.
As Maxine attempts to escape from the house, she notices that Howard and Pearl are on their way back to look for their newfound prisoner. She would hide under the bed and overhear the couple talk about her, growing older, and Pearl’s yearning for her husband’s touch. At that moment, we realized that Pearl was missing something in her life, and that was what she was chasing after when it came down to the gang. Then Howard and Pearl bang in a very uncomfortable scene of sagging cheeks and dry humps. Maxine would escape from the house and find her way to the van but to only find that one of the tires had been stabbed with a knife and the body of RJ, who was nearly decapitated. She would grab the gun in the van’s glove compartment and head to the main house after hearing Lorraine screaming for help.
Maxine would make her way into the house and the basement door, where she would find a fanatic yet angry Lorraine. Churchmouse blames Maxine for where she is and what has happened to her. While Maxine is trying to calm the distressed teen down, Lorraine walks out towards the front door and gets blasted back into the house by single buckshot from Howard and his trusty shotgun. As Maxine hides from view, she listens as Howard and Pearl attempt to drag Lorraine’s body back into the house. As one last scare for Howard and his worn-out heart, Lorraine’s last gasps at life take Howard’s as he succumbs to a fatal heart attack.
The movie draws to a close, as Maxine and Pearl have a final showdown that ends with Maxine shooting an empty gun and Pearl shooting her husband’s shotgun that, with divine intervention, sends Pearl out of the house and onto the porch, hilariously breaking her hip. Being the sole survivor of the gang, Maxine turns out to be the daughter of a preacher that the older couple religiously watched throughout the movie. And in the final moments of trash-talking, Pearl gets her head caved in when Maxine drives over her in the pickup trunk of Howard’s and then proceeds to drive off into the sunset.