Paying homage to the slashers of yesteryear is nothing new, but Ti West's new movie X makes it feel fresh. He does this by primarily bringing attention to the sex parts of the genre and exploring what sex means. This is, after all, in part about a crew of people attempting to make a porno. But the sex angle goes beyond just cheap titillation. It is at the heart of the film, and West seems to be most interested in what the experience means, whether it's for love, a way to recapture youth, or getting the most out of life while one is still capable of experiencing the act.
Beyond all this, though, is a fun, classically styled slasher that is equal parts titillation and slasher mayhem. Some may find the amount of nudity and sex, and heck the subject matter itself, distasteful, but for slasher fans, this will remind you of much of the early years of the genre. A lot has been made about how this is so heavily inspired by Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it's easy to see why. The majority of the film revolves around the singular location, an old farm seemingly in the middle of nowhere, Texas, ripe for plenty of slasher fun. Ti doesn't skimp on the red stuff either. While nothing gets too outlandishly creative, we do get some brutal kills with often gory results.
It helps that characters are written well and likable. Despite the sleazy material they're attempting to create, they don't feel shallow or sleazy themselves. They believe in their work and the reasons for making it. While it may have been nice to get a little more depth out of them, they clearly have history and there are things hinted at that never get much development, they're at least a decent crowd of folks who are fun to be around. As for the villains, they're not quite as out there or mysterious as the trailer would lead you to believe. In fact, they're pretty grounded, but never the less creepy and tension is maintained consistently once the violence starts.
If you know what the film's about, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. It does take some unusual turns, but for me that only added to just how much the film stood on it's own. It certainly feels like a fresh entry into the slasher genre, something the genre needs. Ti West continues to make a name for himself as someone to watch out for. Have fun with this sexy, bloody good time.
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