Earlier this year, Ti West returned to the horror genre with the release of X – a slick, slasher film that follows a group of young filmmakers who enter the Texan countryside to make an adult film. It would go on to receive positive reviews from both fans and critics and become one of the stronger horror releases of the year – Check out our review of X here.
Even before the release of the film, production had begun on a prequel that would tell the backstory of X’s lead antagonist, Pearl. A full trailer for the film was actually released after X’s end credits and you can check it out below. The trailer confirmed that the film would be released a lot earlier than expected, with Pearl slashing its way into theatres on September 16th, 2022.
Pearl sees Mia Goth reprise her role as the titular character and the films synopsis reads:
Filmmaker Ti West returns with another chapter from the twisted world of X, in this astonishing follow-up to the year’s most acclaimed horror film. Trapped on her family’s isolated farm, Pearl must tend to her ailing father under the bitter and overbearing watch of her devout mother. Lusting for a glamorous life like she’s seen in the movies, Pearl finds her ambitions, temptations, and repressions all colliding in this stunning, technicolor-inspired origin story of X’s iconic villain.
The film debuted at the Venice International Film Festival and early reviews are praising Mia Goth’s performance and the development of the titular character.
Check out some of them below.
William Bibbiani, The Wrap:
Ti West and Mia Goth’s gorgeously photographed and impressively acted #Pearl isn’t just a great horror movie on its own. It also retroactively makes “X” better.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian:
Perhaps I shouldn’t have enjoyed Pearl as much as I did: but it’s clever, limber, gruesome, and brutally well acted. A gem.
Peter Debruge, Variety:
Whereas “X” unspooled like a backwater “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” homage with a lascivious Russ Meyer streak, this turns out to be a fairly straightforward cross between “Psycho” and “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?,” with Mia Goth going all-in as a small-town farm girl who’ll do anything to become a star. In short, “Pearl” is the prequel no one asked for to a movie not many people saw. And yet, despite being something of an afterthought, its distinctive look and oddly appealing antihero (picture Norman Bates as Shelley Duvall might have played him) could actually make this the more popular of the two films.
Robbie Collin, The Telegraph:
A working knowledge of X isn’t required to enjoy the stylish bloodbath that follows. But sly parallels lurk everywhere, from Pearl and Maxine’s shared belief in stardom as a means of reinvention to the various recurring locations, props and even costumes shared by the first film’s scummily downbeat 1970s and this supposedly more innocent age West initially cranks up the colour to pastiche levels, but as Pearl’s desperation mounts, the look of her world feels wrenched towards Psycho and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: it’s as if those two films, sat at roughly the halfway point of cinema’s lifespan, are a twin black hole of depravity from which the medium can never escape. In her first outright lead role Goth is straightforwardly tremendous, and gets to move through the considerable breadth of her talent even within individual shots.
Tim Grierson, Screen Daily:
Ti West’s ‘X’ sequel features a stellar performance from Mia Goth in an engrossing character study.
While early reviews aren’t always an indication of what’s to come, fans can be encouraged from what we’ve heard so far.
Pearl arrives in theatres on September 16th.