Once the credits started rolling at the end of X – my friend turned to me and said: “Good luck reviewing that.”

This new horror movie – written and directed by accomplished genre helmer TI West – took a short while to process once leaving the auditorium. Perhaps no surprise to anyone that has seen other A24-produced indie movies.

Much like the studio’s other acclaimed horror movies such as Hereditary and Midsommar, you do indeed question: “What did I just watch?” Personally, I like that. I'm more than content with a slow-burning ‘thinker’ of a film that sticks with you and makes you question certain things. Sometimes it’s nice not being ‘spoon-fed’, so to speak.

I think it simply comes down to whether or not you enjoyed movies such as the aforementioned Midsommar, as to whether or not you'll like this. If that movie is indeed your ‘cup of tea’ then head over to the Showcase immediately and help support independent cinema. If you're looking for more of a mainstream slasher such as Scream, you’ll likely be disappointed with X’s methodical pacing.

The plot itself is simple enough. Set in 1979, it focuses on a group of bohemian young people driving to the middle of nowhere to shoot a pornographic film (I sense that sentence alone will sell a ticket or two). Here’s the thing, any horror fan will tell you that having sex within this particular genre rarely ends well. The aspiring adult-film stars – including the confident Bobby-Lynne (Brittany Snow), the super-smooth Vietnam vet Jackson (Scott Mescudi), and fame-hungry Maxine (Mia Goth) – learn this the hard way (no pun intended).

Things start to go awry after inadvertently coming across the disturbing owner (Stephen Ure) of the property where they intend to secretly film their project. Greeted with a shotgun as opposed to a welcoming: “Hello”, most people would have u-turned without an ounce of hesitation. This group bizarrely don’t, in a decision that might just cost them their lives.

On paper, it all sounds like your typical horror movie but refreshingly there’s a lot happening beneath the surface here.

I should perhaps warn you that a majority of the runtime is slow – with most of the action taking place in the third act. It’s at this point you’ll find some creative deaths and a sex scene even weirder than the one witnessed in Midsommar. You’ll know the one I’m referring to once you’ve seen it.

I have seen X compared to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre numerous times and it’s easy to see why – especially with the location and time period it’s set.

Although this movie never quite reaches the raw intensity of that seventies classic, it at least gets closer than most other imitations do – as ‘X’ marks the spot.

ESP Rating: 3.5/5

Mikey Clarke

Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now

Cast: Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Brittany Snow, Kid Cudi, Owen Campbell, Scott Mescudi, Stephen Ure, James Gaylyn & Martin Henderson

Running Time: 1 Hr 46 Mins