Pearl (2022) Horror Movie Review


“Pearl,” the 2022 film directed by Ti West, is a prequel to his earlier work “X,” and presents a harrowing and intimate portrait of the eponymous character’s descent into madness. Set against the backdrop of 1918 Texas, the film delves into the psyche of Pearl, played with an unsettling intensity by Mia Goth, as she grapples with the stifling constraints of her isolated farm life and the burning desire to be seen and adored.

The film opens with a picturesque yet deceptive tranquility that belies the turmoil brewing within Pearl. Goth’s performance is nothing short of mesmerizing, capturing the essence of a woman whose dreams of stardom clash violently with her grim reality. The narrative unfolds with a slow-burning tension, punctuated by moments of shocking violence that are both calculated and revealing of Pearl’s fractured state of mind.

West’s direction is meticulous, creating a sense of dread that is almost palpable, with camera movements and editing that amplify the film’s psychological horror. The daylight setting of most scenes only serves to heighten the sense of unease, as the horrors of Pearl’s actions are laid bare under the unforgiving sun.

The film’s visual style pays homage to the golden age of cinema, with elements reminiscent of classics such as “Psycho” and “The Wizard of Oz.” This stylistic choice not only enriches the film’s aesthetic but also underscores the thematic exploration of the allure and danger of the silver screen.

Mia Goth’s dual role as co-writer and lead actress is commendable, as she brings a nuanced understanding of Pearl’s character, which is both terrifying and pitiable. Her performance during the closing credits is particularly noteworthy, leaving a lasting impression that is both disturbing and thought-provoking.

“Pearl” is a film that challenges viewers, offering a complex character study set within the framework of a horror movie. It is a testament to the genre’s potential to convey profound psychological and social commentary. The film’s exploration of the pandemic experience, drawing parallels to the Spanish flu and the lockdown, adds a contemporary layer to the narrative, making it all the more relevant.

In the Nutshell

“Pearl” is a film that stands out for its bold storytelling, exceptional performances, and its ability to evoke a deep sense of discomfort. It is a cinematic journey that is as beautiful as it is brutal, and one that solidifies Ti West and Mia Goth’s positions as formidable talents in the horror genre. For those who appreciate films that delve into the darker aspects of the human condition, “Pearl” is a must-watch. However, be prepared for a film experience that is as unsettling as it is unforgettable. [4 out of 5].

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Genre: Slasher

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