Movie Review: XX (2017)

Released onto Netflix in 2017, XX is a four part anthology horror film featuring women as main characters, all directed by women, framed by strange stop-motion sequences of living porcelain dolls. The four segments are:
The Box, directed by Jovanka Vuckovic, tells of a young boy who refuses to eat anything after gazing inside a stranger’s red cardboard box on a subway;
The Birthday Party, directed by Annie Clark, also known as the musician St Vincent. A mother prepares a birthday party for her daughter, only to discover her husband dead in his home office;
Don’t Fall, directed by Roxanne Benjamin, is a traditional horror plot about a group of friends who go camping in the desert and find cave paintings of an ancient monster;
Her Only Living Son, directed by Karyn Kusama (The Invitation, Aeon Flux), revolves around a single mother coming to terms with her son’s 18th birthday.

+ segment one, The Box has a really good build up, and will let your imagination take over, but admittedly i would have liked some of the many questions to be answered before the end. It is somewhat ambiguous what the ending implies, and not in the way I’d like. Overall, it was the second best of the shorts
+ the final segment, Her Only Living Son, was the highlight of the movie, though admittedly it does end just as you think it will get good. The implications throughout soon make a lot of sense when the twist is made clear, but as is a running theme in this movie, you’ll want more answers

– the second segment, The Birthday Party, simply relied on too much suspension of disbelief regarding the whole short’s circumstances. I never got into the plot, because I was constantly asking myself “why didn’t she just [x] instead”
the third segment, Don’t Fall, has the most traditionally horror plot, but much like the first segment it leaves far too much detail out on the how, and more-so why, the events are taking place. Compared to other, similar themed full movies (go through the checklist of a group of teens, secluded camping site ancient curse), there was nothing new to offer
– like most anthology efforts, whether just a three-film effort or something like ABCs of Death, with 26, the quality of the shorts varies wildly between each offering; all had at least something small to offer, but none were the full package
– at only ~20 minutes each, it was hard to really care about any of the characters or be invested in the plot. As mentioned, too many unanswered questions (or a lack of foreplay, so to speak) meant that the audience was expected to take the plot seriously from the opening moments
– maybe I am not the target audience for this, but I personally didn’t feel that the characters being women made any real difference to the movies (maybe that was the point?). Reading the synopsis on Netflix made me think that the tales would revolve around the fact the main characters were not men

Should you see this film: From the Netflix tagline, I expected a more traditional horror movie, but literally from a female perspective, maybe even lampooning some of the common tropes (such as a “final girl”, for example had the whole cast been female). That was not what I got, and I think that threw me off from the beginning. I didn’t enjoy this.


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