'MaXXXine' Closes Out Ti West's Horror Trilogy with Style

'MaXXXine' Closes Out Ti West's Horror Trilogy with Style

- By Nicolas Delgadillo

Mia Goth stars as an 80s porn star with a talent for violent survival in this thrilling conclusion to 2022's 'X' and 'Pearl'.

Ti West’s X trilogy has earned itself a special place in the modern horror scene, taking clear inspiration from scary movie classics and wearing them on its sleeves, yet carving an original lane to call its own at the same time. 

MaXXXine concludes this delightfully twisted triple feature by trading out the rural setting and technicolor pastiche of Pearl and the grindhouse nastiness of X for an 80s drenched crime thriller in the heart of Hollywood. It’s the messiest of the three films, tripping over itself a bit tonally, but still delivers a bloody and satisfying ending for fans of this particular sinful tale.

While you technically don’t need to have seen the 1910s-set prequel Pearl (although you’d sorely be missing out), you should probably familiarize yourself with the late 1970s action of X before jumping into MaXXXine. The movie picks up six years after the grisly events on that infamous Texas farm - an incident now dubbed “The Texas Pornstar Massacre” - and follows lone survivor Maxine Minx (Mia Goth) as she tries to make it big in the city of Los Angeles.

Maxine is still haunted by her brush with death and the loss of her friends, but that doesn’t stop her from walking into every audition as if she owns the place. In fact, channeling that pain and fear from the past only seems to help her acting. Radiating an intimidating yet captivating aura of self-confidence, Maxine is determined to make a name for herself in Hollywood no matter what. And she just might be about to get her chance.

Maxine lands the starring role in an upcoming sequel to a controversial horror movie by esteemed director Elizabeth Bender (Elizabeth Debicki), and it surely seems like real stardom is just around the corner. But when a mysterious and threatening figure arrives with knowledge of her buried past, Maxine’s chance at the good life starts to unravel in terrifying ways. 

Goth is just as excellent as ever in the lead role, bringing a newfound and complete sense of assuredness in her final go at the character. Maxine is complicated in the best of ways; she’s a violent and mostly selfish person, but someone that you unabashedly root for throughout. Her story is a compelling one, shown through acts of debaucherous rebellion and encapsulated by the repeated mantra of her televangelist father, “I will not accept a life I do not deserve.”

Whether she’s attacked by a stranger in a dark alley or pestered by a private detective (Kevin Bacon in a hilarious scene-stealing performance), Maxine is anything but helpless. She always finds a way to turn the predator into the prey, and that especially goes for the mysterious person that’s out to get her just when she’s about to become a star. She’ll show them no mercy, and with the help of friends like her agent Teddy Knight (Giancarlo Esposito), her wannabe Night Stalker might have bit off more than they can chew. 

Those hoping for the direct kind of slasher horror that West did so well with X might be surprised by the different stylish thrills of MaXXXine. While the film does boast a couple of the year’s most absurdly gory moments, it has much more in common with crime thrillers than horror movies. MaXXXine also shares the same thematic threads of Pearl when it comes to their titular characters, although their approaches to the psychosexual aspects of them are entirely different.

Whichever of the three films ends up being your favorite will vary depending on your tastes, and it’s that exact variety of genres and styles that helps make this trilogy so interesting and compelling. MaXXXine is the most meta of the bunch, using its Hollywood setting to do fun things like stage chase scenes through famous movie sets or directly state how they're trying to make “B-movies with A ideas”. West manages to bring it home with a solid cap to his trio of movies-about-the-movies, winkingly blending strong ideas into a story of exploding heads and testicles. It’s not to be missed.

‘MaXXXine’ is now playing in theaters.

Back to blog
1 of 3