MaXXXine Review

Back in 2022 Ti West gave us X, which was a movie about an adult film crew filming in an old farm. One incident led to another and X was a horror movie that we did not know we needed at that time. The film was suspenseful, gory and introduced us to the character of Pearl. 6 Months later, West released Pearl, which was not a continuation of X but more of an introduction to the character of Pearl that we met previously. Mia Goth replays the character of Pearl again. Many people did not even realize that she played dual roles in X until the credits rolled, and gave us the origin story of this young lady that is determined to be a star. Ti West introduced us to both worlds of X and Pearl by opening the big barn door to his universe and with MaXXXine, the door opening is again the introduction to this new world but this time it’s a stage door from a studio lot.

6 years after the events in X we catch up with Maxine who has become an adult star and is audtioning for a horror movie called “The Puritan II”. Maxine is confident in her audition and due to her background in porn, the producers and director ask her why she wants to be in this movie. Maxine speaks her mantra that she “Will not accept a life (she) does not deserve” and continues with the audition and shows her raw emotions. Ti West digs into the 80’s world that MaXXXine inhabits by not only showing the producers’ bias on hiring a porn star but by also asking her to take off her top after the audition. This is reminiscent of stories about “couch auditions” that were wildly rampant during this time.

Unbeknownst to Maxine, she is being followed by someone that has hired John Labat, played by Kevin Bacon, to track her down. So while John is hunting her down the Night Stalker is also hunting women down in Los Angeles. Again, West gives us all the 80’s set up in the beginning credits of the movie, we see news clips of what is going on at the time and we also see the news stations talking about the Night Stalker murders. MaXXXine, plays like a cross between Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Angel, (Yes, this is an old an odd reference). The movie dabbles in real world events but it ultimately is about Maxine trying to track down who is doing the killings.

Courtesy of A24

Once the story is set in place we are introduced to various characters in Maxine’s life. We meet her co-workers who are also trying to break into showbiz and her video store employee friend who assists her in trying to solve the puzzle of who is following her. Of the three characters, the video store employee, Leon, played by Moses Sumney, is the more developed one. We see how close their friendship is and their love for watching movies together.

Just like in Pearl, we see how driven Maxine is to get closer to her dream. She is constantly working. She works in one strip club and then goes to work in a peep show booth. It seems that Maxine’s past still haunts her and she keeps moving to try to have it catch up to her. Once things start going astray Maxine reaches out to her agent, Teddy Knight, Esq, played magnificently by Giancarlo Esposito. Teddy has been around and knows how to take care of things and it is great to see him in action later in the movie.

Courtesy of A24

Maxxxine feels like it was made in the 80’s and that is a great thing. The score feels like it was borrowed from old 70’s exploitation films and the music just fits in the moments they are played. I will say you will listen to John Parr’s “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” differently after seeing MaXXXine. Even Michelle Monaghan as Det. Williams and Bobby Cannavale as Det. Torres feel like they walked off an old 80’s television show. One is the straight edge detective while the other one keeps talking about how they wanted to be a star if they were not on the force.

There are a lot of great callbacks to older horror films in MaXXXine, one of the biggest ones being the house from Psycho that plays a small part in the movie. This is one of the great moments in the film but it feels like it runs out of steam in the final act. While it is not the best movie in the series, MaXXXine does a great job of continuing the saga that was started in X.

Final Thoughts: MaXXXine ends the Ti West trilogy that started with X and Pearl. The movie is reminiscent of early 80’s slasher movies from the look, the music, and the campiness of some of the acting. Mia Goth is a star as Maxine Minx and Kevin Bacon steals the screen as the private detective, John Labat. The story hints at the previous movies so you do not need to see them to understand what is going on but it would help. MaXXXine is a great slasher movie but does come a little short of its predecessors.

Kid-Friendly: The movie is rated R and is not for kids under 17. Due to Maxine’s previous profession, we do see moments of adult films being filmed and nudity in the movie.

Violence: MaXXXine is filled with some gruesome kills that are not for the faint of heart. There is a kill in an alley with a naked man that will make everyone squirm in their seat.

In 1980s Hollywood, adult film star and aspiring actress Maxine Minx finally gets her big break. But as a mysterious killer stalks the starlets of Hollywood, a trail of blood threatens to reveal her sinister past.

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