Mia Goth in MaXXXine (Credit: A24)

Ti West sees beauty where there is grime. The director behind the unique A24 horror trilogy managed to never repeat himself with X, Pearl, and now, MaXXXine. If there’s one consistent quality in the trilogy, though, it’s West’s screaming his love for the craft of horror movies until his lungs go bloody.

MaXXXine sometimes plays like an ’80s mixtape. Just a collection of greatest hits moments from across iconic slasher movies. It’s a lot to digest at times, the balance of reverence and nostalgia. Too much of the latter is simply boring.

As a whole, the trilogy succeeds in choosing love for genre rather than copying and pasting genre. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of aesthetic, especially in the case of MaXXXine. It’s, without question, a glorious looking and sounding horror movie and the exact movie its protagonist and destined star (played by Mia Goth) sees in her mind.

She wants to be a star, not an artist.

West and his crew take her lead and go for broke. It’s a lavish production featuring flashy work from cinematographer Eliot Rockett, production designer Jason Kisvarday, and costume designer Mari-An Ceo. They all deliver heightened work that’s, again, completely on brand for the titular character.

It’s a horror movie with absolute razzmatazz. Even as the bodies pile up, West’s eye doesn’t blink or dim. Clearly, he loves this character and the way she chases the dream. She wants to control her narrative, her journey, and probably in a way not dissimilar to West’s own ambitions as a director.

By the end, the trilogy feels very personal. MaXXXine turns up the showmanship like West has never done before, but his heart is still behind every cut and stab. Flaws and all, MaXXXine is West reminding audiences just how good horror is for eyes, ears, and soul.

Miles Kelley

Miles Kelly is a part-time writer, full-time worrier. He has years of copywriting experience in the entertainment industry under his belt. Miles thanks you for reading his news posts and occasional features.