Four Deadly Tales by Four Killer Women. Sounds delightful.
Women In Horror Month sees the release of XX, a mixed bag anthological piece by four different female directors. This quad of eerie vignettes stutters through the first two bits but suddenly spreads its devilish wings during the last half, giving us the better portions of the film. The movie mixes themes of motherly love with brooding teenage angst and blends old school creature feature with demonic bloodletting, all the while paving a path for a female study in the realms of the horrific. All is not great with XX and some will take issue with the glaring artistic passivity of chapter one and two, but the last half more than makes up for it.
Considering how popular these types of genre pieces have been lately, expectations have been high for XX. Apparently, early assumptions were mildly wrong as this 80 minute horrorthon struggles to make any headway during the first forty minutes. The Box and The Birthday Party sections are amateurish at best, playing like film festival dropouts that couldn't be bothered with creativity or quality of the final product. Then, it kicks in with two great self contained stories that tackle the best tropes head on, which in turn makes this a must watch for scare junkies like myself.
|Bastard used up all the hot water again.|
As a huge fan of the V/H/S series and numerous other chaptered products of the anthology style, XX will definitely change the playing field to some effect. Adapting from a male dominated directorial field, XX gives each of these female creatives a direct line to an audience starving for passionate genre films. While they'll be let down by the two half baked appetizer portions, most horror hounds will adore the final meal that awaits them.
The final chapter is directed by Karen Kusama of Jennifer's Body and The Invitation. Her Only Living Son is a reminiscent tale that calls back to the satanic days of Rosemary's Baby and other stories that exist in a world where the devil may be on the loose. Of all four puzzle pieces, Kusama's has the best direction, the tightest editing, the most careful examination of relationships, and has the most concise conclusion of the anthology. Kusama has proven her skill at horror numerous times over and nothing is different here.
If you were planning on seeing this please take note that you may have a hard time with the first fifty percent of this feature. But when it finally gets moving there are some definite must see moments that should be required viewing for fans of cinematic darkness and the bleakness that can exist in this types of films. Watch this knowing that good things come to those that wait.