Pearl (subtitled An X-traordinary Origin Story) is a 2022 slasher horror film directed by Ti West, co-written by West and Mia Goth, who reprises her role as the title character, and featuring David Corenswet, Tandi Wright, Matthew Sunderland, and Emma Jenkins-Purro in supporting roles. A prequel to X (2022), and second instalment overall in the X film series, it serves as an origin story for the title villain whose fervent aspiration to become a movie star led her to committing violent acts on her family’s Texas homestead in 1918.
Pearl, like X, is a masterclass in low budget horror movie excellence, a tradition that began in the 1970s with film-makers like John Carpenter, Wes Craven, George Romero, Tobe Hooper et al. Ti West, who directed both movies, certainly takes his cues from these legendary directors in demonstrating innovation in the face of budgetary constraints and monetary strategy.
Consider this: Both Pearl and X were filmed simultaneously in New Zealand for a combined production cost of about $2 million plus but have collectively grossed over $25 million at the box office worldwide! The high profitability of these films points the way for the sustainability of indie cinema, especially in the wake of the pandemic taking its toll on box office grosses.
In Pearl, West builds up the tension in a deliberate manner, keeping the narrative simple and allowing Mia Goth to express the character arc of the protagonist in a way which makes absolute sense that by the time Pearl ‘cracks’ in the third act, it all seems so natural to the audience. The fact that Goth played the Pearl character (as an old lady) in X fits seamlessly in the scheme of things. We are certainly looking forward to the X sequel, MaXXXine!
Watch Pearl on Amazon.
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