Filmmaker Ti West returns with another chapter from the twisted world of X, in this astonishing follow-up to the year’s most acclaimed horror film. Trapped on her family’s isolated farm, Pearl must tend to her ailing father under the bitter and overbearing watch of her devout mother. Lusting for a glamorous life like she’s seen in the movies, Pearl’s ambitions, temptations, and repressions all collide, in the stunning, technicolor-inspired origin story of X’s iconic villain.

What We Thought:

Mia Goth is back in Ti West’s Pearl, a prequel to his film X which Goth also starred in. I watched X earlier in the year and quite liked it. It takes place in the 1970s and it’s West’s take on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. With Pearl being a prequel, Goth plays Pearl, the villain in X, but as the younger version of her in 1918. Instead of a slasher, this time around we get a demented take on The Wizard of Oz.

If you haven’t seen X, well you should, it’s worth seeing, but if you haven’t you won’t be too lost watching Pearl. It’s a standalone enough film that the few people at the screening who hadn’t seen X didn’t have a hard time following along. Honestly those of us who have seen X might be a bit confused going into Pearl thinking Mia Goth is playing the lead role from that film again and not the younger version of the villain. But again it’s easy enough to follow along once it gets going.

That phrase there, once it gets going, is my biggest issue with the film. Overall I did like it, but I liked X more. X is more of a slasher/horror flick and it took a while to get going, but Pearl is much more of a slow burn than that. It doesn’t necessarily drag, but having expectations from X, I kept waiting for it and Goth to go off the rails.

Once it does it’s super fun and dark. Don’t get me wrong, the entire film is overall dark, but you probably guess Goth will go nuts at one point (like most Ti West films) so you sit there waiting. Once again Goth is good in her role and she really captures and holds your attention throughout this one. As a small town girl having big dreams, but dealing with an awful mother and a father who needs round-the-clock care, you can’t wait for her to snap and lose her mind.

Pearl takes a bit to get going and I did like X more, but it’s spooky season so we definitely need these types of movies right now. West’s latest film has a ton of Old Hollywood style with great backdrops, a great setting and costume design including masks because it takes place during the era of that pandemic. Goth handles these crazy characters with ease and you sit there watching her slowly fall apart. If you enjoyed X then I highly recommend seeing Pearl. If you haven’t seen X and like older movies or that style of movie you’ll enjoy it too. I’ll definitely watch the third in the X-franchise, MaXXXine, which sees Goth return to her X character, but this time in 1980s Los Angeles.

Directed By: Ti West

Screenplay By: Ti West & Mia Goth

Based on Characters By: Ti West

Starring: Mia Goth, David Corenswet, Tandi Wright, Matthew Sunderland, Emma Jenkins-Purro

Produced By: Jacob Jaffke, Ti West, Kevin Turen, Harrison Kriess

Rating: R for some strong violence, gore, strong sexual content and graphic nudity

Running Time: 102 minutes


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