Sometimes a bad situation can produce gold, or even a Pearl.
While in New Zealand shooting the very fantastic “X”, director Ti West and star Mia Goth decided to make productive use of their COVID lockdown time. Rather than perfect their sourdough recipe they began writing a prequel or backstory for “X’s” psychopathic geriatric, Pearl.
So, straight off the back of filming “X” they began pre-prod then the subsequent shooting of “Pearl”.
Set sixty years before “X”, Pearl is a young woman rapidly going mad by her own ambitions, unfulfilled sexual desires, and a general lack of human interaction. It’s 1918, The Great War and the Spanish flu are almost done, and new bride Pearl is whiling her isolated days away murdering small livestock, humping a scarecrow, and dreaming of being a movie star (pretty normal stuff really), on the same farm (only newer) we saw in “X”.
“Pearl” is a dark, ingenious character study that showcases the intense talent of Mia Goth. Her 7-minute monologue at the end of the film alone is a performance that demands to be studied in all screen-acting classes. And that deranged ‘smile/cry’, holy moly it is truly unnerving.
West and Goth have done something remarkable here. They’ve added layer upon layer to the character of Pearl and quite frankly this is treatment almost never reserved for the ‘villain’ of a horror film. Oh, and it may be a hip little indie A24 art film but at its core it’s still a gory AF horror.
I really loved “X”, I was blown away by “Pearl” and now I wait in eager anticipation for the third film in this mythology – “Maxxxine”.
- Myles Davies