"X" Marks the Spot for Ti West
There are few directors who can be dubbed a “Master of Horror”. John Carpenter and Wes Craven were during the 70s and 80s, while James Wan has emerged as one in the 21st century. Another one who may not yet be familiar to you is Ti West. He directed the “The House of the Devil”, “The Innkeepers” and “The Sacrament”. What separate him from other filmmakers are how unique all his projects. His latest, “X” is no exception and it may be his best one to date.
“X” is set in 1979. A small film crew is off to make an adult “art” film. The location for their film is a remote farm in Texas. An old farmer and his wife rent out their barn to the young film crew, unaware of their intentions. “Better to beg for forgiveness than ask permission,” says Wayne (Martin Henderson) the film’s producer. However, what these kids do not know is that this old couple is not as feeble as they may appear, nor as harmless.
One element that helps make “X” different from a slasher movie is the characters. While most horror films have their cast members killed off in some random fashion without the opportunity for us to get to know them well, here we have fully fleshed out people to whom we get connected. One reason why it is so hard to get to know a character in a horror film is that they just aim for a high body count. This leaves little time for any character development. “X” may have a small cast, but they are all very talented actors who play their parts very well.
A lot of credit must also go to the cinematographer, Eliot Rockett, a frequent collaborator on West films. The eerie music by Tyler Bates and Chelsea Wolfe also contributes to the film’s atmosphere. Along with Ti West’s skill as a director, these help build some tension at all the right moments bringing in some great jump scares every now and then. There are also some great close-ups and split-screen effects adding to the ambiance.
Ti West Has written a well-rounded script. Besides having great characters and good kills to satisfy horror fans, he also hits on the theme of ageism. It’s not a comfortable subject for many people so get ready for some uncomfortable moments in this movie. If he can make you squirm a little bit, then he’s done his job.