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Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Culture Pick: ‘Maxxxine’ is a disappointing end to a remarkable series

Maxxxine+is+a+horror+movie+that+follows+the+2022+film+X.
Courtesy of A24
“Maxxxine” is a horror movie that follows the 2022 film “X.”

Maxxxine” is a rather disappointing ending to a bold and electrifying trilogy. 

2022’s acclaimed slasher film, “X,” captivated audiences with its over-the-top gore and raunchiness, as it followed a young woman named Maxine as she and a group of other filmmakers try to create an adult film in a farmhouse. When the couple who own the property find out that the group are shooting an adult film, the couple begins trying to kill the group. A prequel called “Pearl” released later in 2022 and followed the origin story of a villain in “X.”

“Maxxxine” begins with a grayscale clip of a child dancing in a style reminiscent of “Pearl.” The eerie video is of none other than the protagonist and namesake, Maxine Minx.  

 The film then opens up into the world of the ‘80s, filled with nostalgia and an ever-so familiar atmosphere, revealing that Maxine, now known as Maxxxine, is a highly successful adult film star. Due to the nature of the film and the events of the previous films, it is expected that Maxxxine was to take this career route. In fact, the entire opening sequence of the film echoes the 1950s ultra Southern evangelism of its previous counterparts.

Mia Goth’s reprisal of the titular character is expectedly phenomenal. Goth effectively convinces audiences that the character won’t stop at anything to accomplish her dream of worldwide stardom.

Within the diverse tonal scope of the “X” trilogy, “Maxxxine” takes the appearance and vibe of a classic ‘80s slasher film, with an unknown killer stalking Hollywood figures. The world of “X” is still as bloody and gory as ever, relying heavily on thrill and violence to carry the plot. Although bloodshed is present and potent in the previous films, “Maxxxine” fails to capture the boundary-pushing hyper-sexual ambiance of the first two films that made them original and worthwhile to watch. 

The producers of the film wanted to accomplish something bigger, with grander themes of religious trauma creeping throughout the film. This unfortunately proves hard and maybe impossible to complete in the background of an ‘80s slasher film, due to this form of film coming off as unserious and too stereotypical to handle a strongly sexual atmosphere.  

It’s obvious that “Maxxxine” attempts to bank on the rewatch value and internet success that the series previously held, especially with “Pearl.” The cinematic choices made for murder and bloodlust demonstrate this attempt at connecting with a young adult audience and reaching viral success. This is also evidenced by various “Pearl” quotes throughout the film, including the viral “I’m a star” line. Although these quotes offer brief comedic reliefs, they do not add anything substantial to the film itself. 

The film’s climax and resolution, although satisfying, are nothing shy of predictable. 

Debuting with a 75% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, “Maxxxine” is statistically a successful movie, but compared to the score of 92% for “Pearl,” its shortcomings are increasingly present. 2022’s “X” and fan-favorite “Pearl” created a shift in the horror genre, displaying a campy and over-the-top production style that “Maxxxine” fails to emulate.

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