Film review: “X” by Ti West

“Generally my problem with horror movies isn’t so much that they scare me too much, it’s more that they bore me, because I feel like in order to appreciate them you have to constantly having seen another film, which itself is inspired by another film, which itself is inspired by Hitchcock, which itself is inspired by the silent cinema of the thirties, in short, it’s a well bottomless. Not to mention franchises, type “Scream” Where “Halloween” (of which one of the emanations has just been released in the cinema), who never stop quoting themselves, parodying themselves, putting themselves in the abyss.

In general, I therefore feel totally excluded, and therefore, I miss out. This is still somewhat the case with the film I’m going to talk to you about, but less so; let’s say that we can see it other than by playing the game of seven errors.

X” is not Ti West’s first film, but his previous ones were not released in cinemas in France. The film has been talked about at the festivals where it was screened, notably Deauville a few weeks ago, suggesting a somewhat stylish object, an indie horror film for intellectuals, which it is in part, but without to be annoying for all that, probably precisely because he takes his subject and his genre at face value.

We are in 1979 in Texas: a group of young people leave to shoot a pornographic film in a house they have rented deep in the countryside. There are three couples: two regular actors, the director and his sound recordist girlfriend, and the producer and his girlfriend, who dreams of being a Hollywood star, Maxine. Arrived at the location of the shooting, they note with a little concern that on the one hand, the rented house is a little creepy, and that on the other hand, the old man who welcomes them does not seem very aware of the nature of their activities. Night falls, the actors are filming, the owner’s old wife observes from afar.

Horror movie / porn movie

It reminds

Chainsaw Massacrethe film by Tobe Hooper which dates back to the 1970s. Many scenes, objects, camera angles are directly reminiscent of this horror classic, others are reminiscent of

Tarantinoat

Hitchcockin short, a whole mixture of classics and B movies, but the interest exceeds the reference, because if it plays smart, the film still does not forget the staging.

Certainly the process of mise en abîme is at the heart of the form, since the film shows a shooting, and plays on the permanent confusion between the pornographic film in the film, which is called “The farmer’s daughters” – the farmer’s daughters, and the reality in which the film is set. For example in the porn film, the farmer’s daughter offers a glass of lemonade to the worker who comes knocking at her door, and this sequence alternates with another sequence in which one of the young women is also offered a glass of lemonade by the neighbor. Mise en abîme therefore, except that the film shot in the film is not a horror film, but a pornographic film, which creates a kind of discrepancy, and a welcome breath of fresh air in the loop of the genre. Sex is at the heart of the issues, as often in horror films, but in a slightly different way, since the desire and the fantasy is not the condemning and returned fantasy of a man observing young women, but of an old woman. This notably gives rise to a rather impressive sex scene between two old men, an archaic and frightening counterpoint to the typical pornographic scene shot in parallel. The image is beautiful, the form clever, the actors compelling play characters built beyond slashing flesh,”X” is a good auteur film.” Lucile Commeaux

  • X of Ti Westin theaters November 2

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Film review: “X” by Ti West