A few months back a friend and I went to see this movie at a local art-house cinema. I had a good time, but it was during one of my few hiatuses from the blog, and therefore, I never got around to writing it up. The good news is, that this is one of those movies that stuck with me and I didn’t really need to do much googling to jog my memory.
XX is an anthology horror film with four segments. I will discuss each of the segments and their plots (briefly) below. The conceit of this film is that all of the filmmakers (i.e. the writers and directors) are female, hence the title. I had trouble with that last sentence. Specifically, I wasn’t sure whether or not I should even include it. It shouldn’t be a big deal that this is a horror movie created by women… I’m not saying that a horror movie created by different genders would be indistinguishable. Quite the opposite in fact. These films are clearly told from the perspective of women. This doesn’t make them any less scary or tense, but rather comes at it from a slightly different angle. That being said, I was never fully cognizant of this fact while watching the movie, even though I knew about it going in and discussed it at length after the viewing. It just didn’t matter because they were good stories that were engrossing (mostly… more on this later). In the end, I decided to mention the all-female creative teams since it was part of their marketing campaign (the quote on the poster states “Four Deadly Tales By Four Killer Women) and because I think making the point that it’s not really a point is an important point.
In terms of the actual content, XX is like any anthology film… there are hits and misses. The first segment The Box, deals with family whose members start refusing to eat one by one. It sets an ominous tone but ultimately is unsatisfying. It’s a shame that this is where the film started since it put me at the defense from the jump. I was worried about what the rest of the film was going to be like. Fortunately, the second segment The Birthday Party was hilariously dark. As the title suggests it centers around a birthday party. However, something goes horribly wrong before the start of the party and the mother (portrayed by a terrific Melanie Lynskey) does everything she can to hide it from her daughter and the guests. This was the perfect segment to wash the taste of the first out of my mouth. The third part, Don’t Fall is just a fun monster movie that, while it couldn’t support a feature length, was perfect in twenty minutes. The final segment, Her Only Living Son, was closer in tone to the first segment, but was better executed. It was eerie and kept the viewer guessing and dreading what was about to happen.
All-in-all, I would say that this was one of the more successful anthology horror movies. I think you could probably skip the first segment, but definitely make a point to watch the last three.