MaXXXine (2024) Review

By Allison Rose   X Formly Known as Twitter
3 Min Read

MaXXXine stands out as West's distinct creation, showcasing his unique style choices across all three films.

MaXXXine (2024) Review
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Two years ago, we first met Maxine (Mia Goth; Suspiria) when the Ti West (The House of the Devil) creation X hit theaters.  The horror (and just shy of soft porn) film, set in the 1970s followed a group of actors and filmmakers who went to the country to make a pornographic movie that highlights the exploitation days of the 1970s.  The owner of the converted barn they were using was all too happy to take their money while turning a blind eye to just what it was they were doing in there.  However, the owner's wife, Pearl, had other plans.  X was a success and before it even left theaters West announced there was a sequel, Pearl, that had already been filmed and was in post-production.  Pearl, which was a darker and much more bizarre movie, gave audiences the backstory of the deranged woman who lived on the farm all her life.

This 4th of July weekend, West offers audiences the third installment in the X series, MaXXXine.  Beginning after the ending of X, Maxine, the only survivor of the massacre at the country farm, is living in Los Angeles in the 1980s and has found minor success starring in porn films.  After auditioning for the lead in a major motion picture horror movie, Puritan II, Maxine gets the role.  However, at the same time, her friends start getting murdered and she begins being followed by a private eye named John Labat (Kevin Bacon; Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F).  Threatening to railroad her fame and fortune, Maxine with her lawyer, Teddy Night (Giancarlo Esposito; The Boys), takes matters into her own hands to discover who is stalking her and is responsible for her friend's deaths.

Goth has owned the Maxine/Pearl role since the series began 2 years ago and she was, and continues to be, perfectly cast.  Both characters are similar but different enough to be distinctive and Goth subtly makes those differences with facial expressions and body language.  Even the changes in Maxine from X to MaXXXine are evident while still maintaining continuity so the audience sees her as the same person but older and wiser.  The other cast members including Bacon, Esposito, and Elizabeth Debicki (Tenet) offer support for Goth while not overshadowing her.

West, who directed and co-wrote all three films, makes distinctions between each with his style choices.  X is a classic 70s horror film while Pearl is more suspenseful with a tinge of Mommy Dearest thrown in, and MaXXXine is a 1980s slasher through and through.

As far as the tech aspects go, MaXXXine nails them.  From hair and costumes to set designs, everything screams 1980s.  Adding to the overall look and feel of MaXXXine is an amazing 80s immersive soundtrack.  As Casey Kasey counts down the top 40 songs from the car radio, 80s kids will recognize ZZ Top, Animation's Obsession, and John Parr's Saint Elmo's Fire song, Man in Motion.

West has created a mildly disjointed horror film trilogy, and MaXXXine has its flaws.  The pacing is off from the beginning and is erratic throughout. The movie starts slow, then builds a little bit of tension only to rush throughout to end up at another slow point.  It feels as if West missed the boat a little bit with this one as the build-up and tension aren't as well defined as with the other two movies and the "twist" towards the end is lackluster at best.

While West works on the fourth installment of the franchise, he would be wise to take these flaws into account or he will end up where so many other horror franchises go to...ridiculously and sublimely stupid plots to simply grab as much money as they can.

Grade: B


Cast:
Directed By:
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 104 minutes
Distributed By: A24

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For more information about MaXXXine visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

MaXXXine images are courtesy of A24. All Rights Reserved.


FlickDirect, Allison   Rose

Allison Rose, a Senior Correspondent and Critic at FlickDirect, is a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry with a communications degree from Hofstra University. She brings her film expertise to KRMS News/Talk 97.5 FM and broadcast television, and is recognized as a Tomatometer-Approved Critic. Her role as an adept event moderator in various entertainment industry forums underscores her versatility. Her affiliations with SEFCA, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Online Film Critics Society highlight her as an influential figure in film criticism and media.




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