Horror movies run the gambit with sub-genres ranging from gruesome slasher films to psychological thrillers and supernatural entities to comedic horror. Regardless of how the bodies manage to pile up, horror films have a built-in audience whether or not they are any good and with, at least, two horror movies premiering each month, there are plenty to choose from each year. This past March writer/director Ti West (The House of the Devil) debuted his latest slasher film, X. Winning immediate praise from both critics and audiences, it was revealed that a second film, a prequel to X, had been filmed simultaneously and was in post-production with a release date later this year. Pearl premiered in September and is set to be released this week on Blu-ray and DVD.
Pearl (Mia Goth; Suspiria) is a young woman who lives with her overbearing mother and invalid father while her husband is off fighting the war in Europe. She tends to the farm and her father while always dreaming of being a performer. She goes to the movies any chance she gets and fantasizes of being up on that screen. She also has a tendency to enjoy torturing and killing animals and people. She kills a goose to feed to the alligator in the lake, then moves on to her parents and finally her sister-in-law after confessing her murderous urges.
The story is the prologue to the aged Pearl in the movie X. In X Pearl acts strangely and murders the group of young people staying at the farm while filming a pornographic movie. As a backstory, it offers some insight into the fact that Pearl was a deranged serial killer in the making, but it never entirely reveals what caused her to snap. In X, there was suspense and a wanting to survive an evil entity, while Pearl just shows Pearl as being odd and killing people over the fear of abandonment or jealousy. Goth does a fantastic job as the seemingly harmless, strange, young woman who is triggered by anything and everything and who embodies the very essence of evil.
Technically, Pearl looks terrific but, while the 1080p resolution and 2.39:1 aspect ratio highlight the incredible color palette and minute details, one has to wonder why the movie wasn't released in 4K, or for that matter, why X wasn't, as well. The video quality is clean making this Lionsgate home entertainment release a pleasure to watch over and over again.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is layered which gives the viewer an excellent auditory experience but again, I feel the need to ask the question, why only MA 5.1 instead of Dolby Atmos? Is there going to be a special trilogy release in 4K after MaXXXine comes out next year? Did the powers that be not want to spend the extra money for the better quality transfer? Whatever the reason, the audio track on this current release doesn't disappoint. With sharp dialogue and clean ambient sounds, the film has an above average audio which services the visuals well.
Besides the Blu-ray Disc, DVD disc, and a digital code for VUDU, this combo pack only has a few extras to watch, including "Time After Time" Featurette, "Coming Out of Her Shell: The Creation of Pearl" Featurette, Teaser Trailer, and the Theatrical Trailer.
When X came out it easily fell into the thriller sub-genre of horror movies building the suspense until the third act. Pearl, on the other hand, was more of a drama that turned into a gory, slasher film. When Pearl was announced the anticipation and expectation was for more of what was seen in X but the two films are vastly different and Pearl just doesn't hold one's attention the way X did.
With the third installment of the franchise, MaXXine, coming to theaters next year, you may want to buy both X and Pearl to keep yourself familiar with the story but you may decide to hold out for either the trilogy to be released in a combo pack or the 4K versions to eventually be created and packaged for home entertainment purposes.