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  • Writer's pictureJamie

MaXXXine - Review

2024 has not been the strongest year for horror films. MaXXXine joins the years list as one of the few exceptions to this for me. It delivers in closing out Ti West’s X trilogy with a camp and sprawling dive into 80s Hollywood. It specifically takes place in the era of “Satanic Panic” where serial killers like “The Night Stalker” terrorised the city. When I saw the inclusion of this real world killer in the film, I was initially worried it was going to be a take on this story, one that I don’t think the Mia Goth lead franchise really could have dealt with in a sensitive way. Thankfully, it only serves as a setting for the story, giving us context to the world we’re in, and almost acting as a cheat code to tension when we’re roaming the LA streets at night.

The story picks up with Maxine (Mia Goth) in Hollywood, heading into a sound stage for an audition. She is looking to get into her first “straight” film after making a name for herself in porn. She gives a stellar performance for the casting team, including director Elizabeth Bender (Elizabeth Debicki). The impression made on the team gets her cast in the film. 

However, some murders going on around Maxine’s life throw her into a bit of a side story, where she has to clean up her personal life, before being able to commit herself fully to this film role.

The aesthetic for all three films for me have been spot on. I think MaXXXine is just as effective, at times looking like it has been plucked directly from the bottom shelf of some old VHS store. It has a strong look to it that I don’t think everyone will enjoy, but for me it doesn't get lost in trying to look like its from the 80s. 

The music is also really strong, with some great needle drops and an effective accompanying score by Tyler Bates, who did the music for the previous two films in the trilogy. Also returning is Eliot Rockett who was the cinematographer for both of the other films. I think these returning crew members do make an impact, clearly understanding the time frame they are in and also the tone of all three films, which do differ between them.

To make a trilogy like this, I think takes a lot of trust with all you returning cast and crew. Especially from Mia Goth, who has come into the trilogy working closely with Ti West on the direction of the films. She has taken a producer role for both Pearl and MaXXXine. It is always nice to know that the main cast are clearly down for whatever weirdness is going on on the screen when you see them listed as a producer. I think Mia Goth commits so fully to the role of MaXXXine in this, breezing through intense scenes and understanding the levels of camp in her line delivery. You sympathise with Maxine, but also get to see her questioned for her morals, creating a divide we haven’t seen in these films. 

The horror of the film is not as present as in films like X, and I think it does chug a little bit in moments in between. Where the horror is present though, is some definite cringe inducing gore, that almost everyone audibly reacted to in my screening. The gore is not shied away from at all, but is also used sparingly enough that you never really get desensitised to it. Where we lack in horror, I do think the film makes up for in a compelling crime(ish), comedy(ish), drama(ish) that once it got going, kept me hooked.

Overall, I think this trilogy goes down as one of the most solid in modern horror, for me not taking a quality dip really (even if X is still my favourite). I am very satisfied with what we got in MaXXXine and I am very excited for a triple bill as soon as this one drops on streaming. 


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