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The Crack Magazine



Director: Ti West

Stars: Mia Goth, David Corenswet, Tandi Wright, Matthew Sutherland, Emma Jenkins-Purro

British actor Mia Goth cements her reputation as Scream Queen de nos jours in this stylish and mischievous sort-of prequel to ‘X’. In ‘X’ a film crew shooting a porn film fell afoul of disproving locals. Here West winds back the action from 1979 to 1918 to profile one of those locals. Pearl is a guileless farm girl with big dreams of being a star. ‘One day the whole world’s gonna know my name’ insists Pearl anticipating Goth’s porn performer Maxine in ‘X’. Her unhinged nature is flagged from the outset when she is shown feeding a snack to the alligator that lives in a nearby lake. Her husband is away fighting in the war so Pearl is living with her parents: her oppressive and bullying German immigrant mother Ruth (Wright) and mute invalid father (Sunderland) who she helps look after. Two potential avenues of escape present themselves, when Pearl meets handsome projectionist (Corenswet), and when her well-meaning and sweet sister-in-law Mitsy (Jenkins-Purro) tells Pearl about a local dance audition. West channels American gothic via lush swooning technicolour visuals a la Douglas Sirk while maintaining a clever balance between dark comedy and empathetic drama. It’s a pastiche maybe, but Mia Goth's go-for-broke, committed and pathos-eliciting turn, peaking in a single take eight-minute monologue, is something to behold.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm