X - Lilith Likes to Watch Halloween Trick & Treat 2022

Title: X
Starring: Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega
Director: Ti West
Synopsis: In 1979, a group of young filmmakers set out to make an adult film in rural Texas, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast find themselves fighting for their lives. - via Letterboxd.com
Lilith's Notes: Welcome to the 5th Trick & Treat!

"A toast to the perverts."

Welcome to Lilith Likes to Watch Halloween Trick & Treat 2022! This is one of my favourite times of the year on this site. Usually this month is filled with a wide range of quality so let's hope we start with a bang with…


As soon as I saw the trailer for this movie my first reaction was "Yes". I loved the premise and as we all know, 70s sex and violence goes together like peanut butter and chocolate. I had been waiting around a year to experience this movie. The anticipation built and built. Finally, I sat down to enjoy the experience.

I was left with a moderate case of …eh.

X follows a group of six who venture to a cabin in the woods to film a porno. Lurking on the property is an old couple (Played by Stephen Ure and Mia Goth in questionable old age makeup) who don't quite agree with the artistic pursuits.

This film has a solid first half. It looks good, there are some great shots, the characters had clear motivations, despite me never bothering to remember anybody's name except for maybe R.J. (Played by Owen Campbell) because it's screamed so many times and Maxine (Played by Mia Goth) because she's the main character.

Once the first kill is engaged, the movie goes from an interesting drama about art versus profit and dignity to a subpar slasher that thinks its more clever than it is. This movie has capital "I" Ideas and those ideas are brazenly spouted from one character to another verbally over and over. You won't be young forever. Movies are art. Purity culture is bad. Good sex is worth dying for.

For the most part I don't have a problem with our pack of entrepreneurial filmmakers. Every porno and every slasher needs warm bodies. What I do have a problem with are the antagonists. 

So the old lady, Pearl is old and ugly and horny and she misses when she was young and able to get it. Her equally decrepit husband, Howard has a heart condition so he can't make love to his wife. So, Pearl kills the young.

Why? Jealousy I suppose. And I think something about how premarital sex is sinful and ungodly. And also maybe dementia.

I guess filmmakers are in the era of reflecting on their own mortality. The Visit. Old. That one horror movie whose title escapes me about how the demon was dementia all along. Old people are the new Jason.

It just feels weak. 

This is a period piece. The villains could have been Satanists. Or rabid religious fanatics. Have it dovetail into both the set up and the era. The film clearly ponders religions its right there!

But no. Gotta fear the Olds.

Alright, so the antagonists are weak. How are the kills? That's a vital ingredient to slasher secret sauce.

Some are fine. The first one is predictable and goes on for perhaps too long. One was extremely predictable and do easily subverted, but no. It unravels exactly as expected.

But the one that really annoyed me was when a character gets shot with a hunting rifle point blank to the chest and it's done offscreen. There's no cut to the aftermath, nothing. Look. You're either a gory slasher or you aren't. This is your money shot. Don't pull away. Embrace it. For all your rumination on sex and violence, this comes across as cowardly. You have undermined your thesis.

Was it a budget issue? Then find another way to film it. Use oatmeal and silhouettes. Movie magic exists!

Credit where it's due, there were a couple deaths I really liked. I'm not going to spoil them here though.

This film ends with a line that suggests what we just watched was some seriously effed up ess! And it really wasn't. 

This would be a fun drive-in movie, or to watch with a crowd. It needs energy, gasping, cheering. It needs the grind-house experience to match the grind-house pastiche, otherwise it's just telling an Abe Simpsonesque story. There's a prequel out and a sequel coming, but none of us are getting any younger

Best Moment: An overhead shot where a character is swimming in a lake and is being lazily stalked by a crocodile.

Worst Moment: A character gets shot point blank by a rifle off-screen. This was where I gave up all hope

LILITH'S SCORE: 2.5/5 - Almost a Halloween treat...and that's the trick.

Until next time, my voracious voyeurs. I’m Lilith, and I’m always watching.

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