As a prequel to X, Ti West’s Pearl is an excellent companion piece. What I liked most about it was that it was not an overly complicated story written only to justify or launch the drama in X. Instead, it was a character study of X‘s villain. I also liked how Pearl was told in a very different way than X, more like a drama than a gore flick.
Pearl had a slower pace, which reminded me of the pacing in West’s The Roost. A slow build. The movie was held together by Mia Goth’s outstanding performance that delivered a mix of desperation, naivety and vengeance that was disturbingly relatable and sincere.
I can’t say that Pearl went onto my list of favorite West movies like X did, but it did not let me down, and I would consider it an achievement that West can be proud of.
Ti West’s horror movies are among my favorites—The Innkeepers, The Sacrament, and The House of the Devil—that I have seen multiple times. His newest feature, X, lives up to his reputation.
Like his previous movies, X takes a horror genre cliché and puts a refreshing new spin on it. Like Texas Chainsaw Massacre or the Wrong Turn series, X takes place in a remote country setting with the locals as villains. Watching it, I admit that I was skeptical at first because I had seen the storyline before. But, I was intrigued early on because of the reason why the main cast of characters was going to the remote country location, which was something I had never seen before, so that kept my attention. Then, as the narrative unfolded and the villain was introduced and developed, I was hooked!
With good pacing, satisfying gore, and a strong cast of characters, I highly recommend X.
I recently re-watched Ti West’s The House of the Devil. I remembered liking how spooky it was, but I forgot how much I liked the storyline. The narrative both pops and lulls as it unfolds toward a dark ending about free will and Satanism. The gore is bloody and satisfying. The heroine is strong and resourceful. The villains seem distant but are many and close by. So spooky!
Admittedly, I might be biased because Rosemary’s Baby is one of my favourite movies and The House of the Devil pays an intriguing homage to the Unholy Trinity. Its ending is very different than its predecessor’s, however. It is unresolved yet satisfying, which I liked. I am very much a Ti West fan!
West, Ti. The House of the Devil, MPI Media Group (theatrical) / Dark Sky Films (DVD and VHS), 2009.
IndieWire: The story behind the reason you made “The Innkeepers” is almost as good (and scary) as the film itself. Can you tell it for those who aren’t familiar?
Ti West: Well the hotel that inspired the film is actually in the film. What happened was we were making my previous film The House of the Devil, and we were staying at this hotel called the Yankee Pedlar Inn because it was the best option to put the crew up. It was the cheapest and nicest place we could find and about 25 minutes from our location.
We would go and shoot this satanic horror movie nearby, but the weirder stuff would happen back at the hotel. It just started off kind of goofy, but it became this thing where most of the cast and crew started to think there was something up with the hotel.
The staff at the hotel believe it’s haunted. The whole town believes it’s haunted. So it has this kind of mystique to it. But what was charming to me about it, was that it’s this mixture of a historic, perhaps haunted building and totally bad ’70s renovation. The people who work there are in their twenties…part timers. So there’s this weird lore of the place. At the same time, the place doesn’t live up to it. So I found it really charming and interesting.
I wanted to make a ghost story. I was trying to think of how to do it cheap. Then I thought, “Why not make a movie we lived?” The place let us be there before, so they were likely to let us do it again. That’s kind of how it all came to be. They let us back in and we moved very quickly.
Anyone else a Ti West fan? The Roost is the only film where I was scared of bats. A classic Ti West move, the film slowly builds tension until something not necessarily scary is unexpectedly terrifying. Love it.