One of the most interesting new American horror authors, Ti West, returned in style to the genre with which he gained his name in the 1920s and early 1930s. This was a quality slasher recorded in a retro style, an undisguised homage to the classic “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, and at the same time a modern horror that is an interesting social subversion. The concept here is seemingly completely simple, as in any real classic slasher of the seventies. The time and place of the action is Texas in 1979, and the film crew headed deep into rural Texas to film porn. And it’s a real guerrilla team, with no money, and producer Wayne believes it could be a new hit for the videotape market that is starting to take shape.
Young Maxine (Mia Goth) is Wayne’s girlfriend and believes she will become the next porn star. The same is dreamed of by Bobby-Lynne (Brittany Snow) whose partner is Jackson (Scott Mescudi), a Vietnamese veteran and also a porn actor. There is also an ambitious director RJ (Owen Campbell) who plans to shoot some kind of arty porn, and he took his girlfriend Lorraine (Jenna Ortega) on the trip as an assistant. As soon as we see a van driving through some prairies and devastation, there is a real vibe of the “Texas Massacre”, and it is clear that this is an extremely conservative and dumb environment because all radio and TV stations echo the typical threatening voice of a preacher who he’s constantly blabbering on about sins, Satan, and shit like that.
For a pittance Wayne rented a cottage on an isolated farm owned by senior couple Howard and Pearl, and it is clear that the owners have not revealed the real intentions of the arrival of this young team. They plan to record porn in a day, two incognito, but of course it won’t just go that way. While Howard is distrustful of strangers and immediately lets them know that his shotgun is ready, Pearl seems to become envious of the youth and sexual unrestraint and freedom of the guests. When she sees the filming of one scene, it will excite her, and when Howard rejects her proposal for a little passion due to her weak heart, she will turn to the guests for help.
Of course, all this will very quickly turn into a classic slasher slaughterhouse in which West leaves little to the imagination and has a handful of well-directed scenes of horror and horror. West masterfully plays with the classic stereotypes of this genre, and just as “X” seems like a serious horror in the wake of the classics of the genre, so much is the subversion and parody of similar films from that period. They contrast nicely with that typical, stereotypical backward, conservative redneck Texas with modern, progressive, liberal and free-spirited youth from a city who just wants to have fun, enjoy life, and if they get lucky, earn and become famous. This is in complete contrast to the lifestyle of the elderly, who look like a caricature version of the sick family from “Massacre”.
The dynamics among the youth and the film crew is also interesting, since JR didn’t tell his girlfriend what kind of film they plan to make, and although she acts like a conservative girl, Lorraine will also want to star in “Farmer’s Daughter”, as the film they make is called. And before slaughtering, West managed to put the story together brilliantly and make us realize how painful it can be to realize that youth is long gone and that someone has turned into an old, wrinkled figure that virtually no one wants to look at anymore. All dancing around serious topics, West recorded one of the best and most exciting horrors of the year, and best of all, later this year comes a prequel that he recorded in parallel. Rating 8/10.
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