MaXXXine Movie Review

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

Released by A24 Films

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Written and Directed by Ti West
2024, 104 minutes, Rated R
Released on July 5th, 2024

Starring:
Mia Goth as Maxine Minx
Elizabeth Debicki as Elizabeth Bender
Giancarlo Esposito as Teddy Knight, Esq.
Kevin Bacon as John Labat
Halsey as Tabby Martin
Michelle Monaghan as Detective Williams
Bobby Canavale as Detective Torres
Larry Fessenden as Security Guard
Brad Swanick as Frankie Love
Charley Rowan McCain as Maxine Miller

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Review:

When was the last time you watched a movie you could call seedy? Sleazy, even? And what if said film were written and shot with a desperate intensity that drips off the damn screen? Would it entice you further to have a stacked cast, first-rate practical SFX, and the pacing of a serial killer-flavored slasher? And what if it were capped off by another balls-to-the-wall performance from Mia Goth (X, Pearl)? Surely that has your attention, right?

Well, Ti West has pulled off the hat trick and closes out his X trilogy with a film that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with X and Pearl. If you know me at all, you know that I love me some Pearl, so I don’t say that lightly.

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Maxine Minx (Mia Goth) is looking for her big break outside adult films. She’s still running from the events of her early foray into porn, but this is Hollywood in the ‘80s and there’s a killer on the loose, stalking the night. As she finds her big break in the horror sequel The Puritan 2, Maxine also finds herself stalked by a greasy P.I. named John Labat (Kevin Bacon, Friday the 13th, Footloose) and a killer of her own. It seems her past won’t stay in the past, and now she’ll have to face it head-on if she wants to capitalize on that big break.

This is the right way to finish out a trilogy. MaXXXine plays with different genres and marries them with ‘80s visuals and a killer soundtrack. It also uses its soundtrack to great effect, with some extremely memorable scenes I’ll not ruin for you. But I will say my balls are still a little shrunk from MaXXXine’s most memorable piece of brutality.

That’s the thing, though – it’s not just an SFX horror flick. MaXXXine works equally well as a cop drama centered on the Night Stalker’s reign of terror. When you combine that with what might be my favorite Kevin Bacon performance of the last twenty years, the result is a flick that’s a darkly comic slice of sleazy and exploitative beauty.

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It’s written to suit the uber-talented cast of supporting characters; I could use a whole-ass side film about the exploits of Teddy Knight, Esq. Giancarlo Esposito tears this role up. Period. Bobby Cannavale and Michelle Monaghan make for a surprisingly comedic pair of detectives. Plus, there’s a Larry Fessenden cameo, and that makes any film better.

Still, it’s all about Mia Goth in one of her most alluring roles. Maxine Minx is a big star, and if you have any doubt, she’s apt to teach you a painful lesson. She’s a heroine with some serious layers to her, and that’s the sweet spot for Goth. The entire series has seen her turn in bigger and more commanding performances each time out. As Bugs Bunny would say, “The mind boggledeth!” She’s operating on a different level here.

Ti West should be seriously proud of the whole trilogy and for finishing it off here with a damn near-perfect exclamation point. This flick will be on a shitload of top-ten lists at the end of the year for good reason. So, pop that tape into the VCR and hit play on one that’ll definitely be on mine.

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Grades:

Movie: 5 Star Rating Cover
Cover

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Stuart D. Monroe
Staff Reviewer
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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