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MaXXXine (2024)

-Written by Kyle Bain


MaXXXine, the epic conclusion to Writer-Director Ti West’s horror series, sees the titular Maxine (Mia Goth) attempting to make her mark in Hollywood. As she slowly begins to break the stigma that surrounds her, thanks to her years in porn, she finds that someone is hunting those closest to her. She does her thing, and the serial killer does his–and she will soon find that death is much closer to her than she initially imagined it could be. 


A star-studded cast helps to bring MaXXXine to life, to conclude the bloodsoaked brainchild of West. Honestly, there’s not much point in expressing how brilliant the acting is, because with the likes of Goth, Elizabeth Debicki (Elizabeth Bender), Bobby Cannavale (Detective Torres), and Kevin Bacon (John Labat) viewers know exactly what they are getting, and this stellar cast doesn’t disappoint. 


My concern going into this film was that West set himself up with a bit too much content, that there were too many narratives going on at the same time. I was worried that the storyline of Maxine becoming a movie star might detract from the primary storyline of the serial killer. However, West develops something beautifully cohesive–a story that wastes not a single second. Even in the seemingly most unimportant moments of MaXXXine West manages to insert something important and relevant to the primary storyline. Every moment of MaXXXine matters, and everything converges in the final act in [what I found to be] an unexpected way. 


If you’re familiar with West’s trilogy up to this point (that includes Pearl and X), then you know that you’re in for a veritable bloodbath before all is said and done in MaXXXine. Certainly that’s not a corner of cinema that’s for everyone–but I don’t believe that the blood is unwarranted. The way in which MaXXXine is told, as it surrounds a religious-based killer, it seems only fair that an obscene amount of blood would make its way to the screen. If you’re squeamish, then MaXXXine certainly isn’t for you. But if you can handle the blood (or that’s something you genuinely enjoy), then the blood-soaked moments will only add to the experience for you. 


Similarly, and considering the fact that a good portion of this trilogy follows a young pornstar, nudity is on display as well throughout MaXXXine. This is the aspect of the film that doesn’t necessarily add to the plot, but it also doesn’t steal from it. It’s relevant to what’s occurring throughout the course of MaXXXine–and it doesn’t typically feel like it’s nudity for the sake of nudity, but to, at the very least, develop characters ever so slightly. 


Both X and Pearl were steeped in darkness–both literally and figuratively. With murder being one of the most prominently featured aspects of the series, it makes sense that dark, heavy tones would consume each film–MaXXXine included. The majority of MaXXXine takes place at night, and when it doesn’t West and his electrical department are often able to create darkness by casting shadows on characters and/or entire sets. As that darkness seeps into each and every moment of the film, the intensity grows–and it continues to do so throughout the duration of the film. 


I had high expectations heading into MaXXXine, only recently seeing its predecessors and thoroughly enjoying them. MaXXXine met my expectations, and my initial thoughts after leaving the theater landed me at a rating of nine out of ten, but I’m not sure you need to run to the theater to see this film. There’s nothing about the theater experience that might separate it from a viewing session in your home. MaXXXine is definitely worth paying for, and maybe a trek to the theater may behoove you. At the end of the day, however, if you love horror films, particularly those cult classics from the 1980’s and before, MaXXXine will enthrall you. 


Written & Directed by Ti West. 


Starring Mia Goth, Elizabeth Debicki, Giancarlo Esposito, Halsey, Kevin Bacon, Michelle Monaghan, Bobby Cannavale, Lily Collins, etc. 


8.5/10 = WORTH RENTING OR BUYING


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