X was a huge surprise horror hit earlier in 2022, so when the news dropped that director Ti West and star Mia Goth had simultaneously shot a prequel movie in secret, fans were eager to see what came next (or before). A 1920s-set small town girl dreaming of fame story but with a playful relationship to the early years of Hollywood and a seriously wicked streak running right though it, the account of how the wide-eyed young Pearl (Goth) became a decrepit serial killer is as enthralling as it is bloody and bizarre. West’s visual sensibilities, in particular how he plays with reality and pastiches music hall and movie musicals, will have you transfixed, but it’s Goth’s deranged central performance and especially a painfully uncomfortable long-take at the film’s close that’ll haunt your dreams. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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