Pearl (2022) Is A Real Gem! (Nicholas Fonseca)

Following his film X (2022), Ti West has released the prequel, Pearl, to it only six months later! In this movie we follow the character Pearl, excellently played by Mia Goth, who was the antagonist of X. It’s here we see her origins of how she became a brutal, old, and cold-blooded killer. Unlike the previous film, Pearl serves more as a terrifying character study than a slasher film, but it certainly doesn’t refrain from the blood-and-guts violence it had. 

Maintaining the stylistic choice of filming to match the era it takes place in, Ti West has plenty of aspects from an old-timey film thrown into the editing. This includes the title and end cards being presented with a font that one could only imagine seeing in a cartoon from long ago. With this, the film has a unique and interesting look to it that sets it apart from the others. Alongside all this there’s stunning cinematography that tries hiding some of the gruesomeness at times, but still does show it off. What really drives this film though is its performance by Mia Goth. 

Goth shines greatly in the film, playing the brutal and aspiring character of Pearl. Her performance doesn’t falter at any point in time, leaving me glued to the edge of my seat wondering what’ll happen next. The character is loaded with a depth that I could only see Goth perform, leaving me unsettled for many moments in the film. 

Speaking of being unsettled, it’s a pretty good way to describe how the film feels. Unlike X, the film’s horror is more akin to other A24 horrors, like Hereditary (2018), where instead of throwing jumpscares wherever it can, it leaves you with imagery that disturbs. Overall, it’s just a delightfully dreadful horror that certainly deserves plenty of attention. Personally, I see Ti West as a great up-and-coming horror director.

You can watch Pearl in theaters and select Roku services.

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