Movie Review: Pearl


The movie Pearl, starring Mia Goth, is the second film to the slasher trilogy “X”. The independent producer company that is distributing the X trilogy, A24, is recognized for their unique style of cinematography and aesthetics. Ti West: the screenwriter, director, producer and editor of the trilogy works closely with Mia Goth, who is starring in all three films as two separate characters. 

The first movie, X, first hit theaters on March 18, 2022, and had a 6.6/10 rating on IMDb. Pearl was released on September 16, 2022, and has a rating of 7.5/10 on IMDb. The final film, Maxxxine is currently in production and the release date is yet to be announced.

Goth is the main star of the show. The 28 year old English actress plays both the roles of Pearl and Maxine. Maxine can be distinguished by her signature blue eyeshadow in  X, and Pearl is the old woman who owns the farm. Pearl, which is a prequel of X, gives a backstory of the villain in X, it gives the audience further insight to how Pearl became such a desperate, yearning killer. In X, Pearl’s character goes after the group that is going to shoot a movie on her farm. She is fixated on Maxine who is one of the young girls in the group because she is chasing the same dream Pearl once had. 

Many horror movies feature slashers with “villain origin stories” like bad parental relationships or any traumatic event that led them to develop an aggressive behavior toward their triggers. Movies like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Pearl all revolve around these origins of antagonists. In the case of Pearl, she feels tied down by her responsibilities to care for her ill father and endure relentless criticisms of her strictly religious mother. She is a hypersexual, murderous psychopath. She lives miserably on the farm, awaiting her husband’s, Howard’s, return from WWI. 

Pearl has one great desire: to become a dancing girl on the silver screen like the ones she watches in the theater. She will do anything to make her dreams of stardom a reality, even kill. 

When Pearl gets worked up and enraged, she acts out in violent outbursts. She kills with any weapon she can get her hands on: an ax, a pitchfork, a pillow, or the fire on a stove. Her murders are never premeditated and only happen because of her fragile and passionate emotional state.

Goth is a stunning and amazing actress. Her country accent adds a certain depth to her character. She really knows how to bring the characters she plays to life. Watching her feels so realistic, the emotions she portrays are very accurate and very intense. When Pearl was rejected for the role she auditioned for, Goth’s performance of defeat and desperation created a connection within myself because I could feel her agony. It felt like my dreams had been crushed right before my eyes, just by watching her. And the closing scene, after one of her murders, she breaks the fourth wall with a giant grin and tears streaming down her face that gave me an eerie feeling with chills running down my spine. 

The aesthetics of the movie can be seen in the beginning, there is a dreamy scene of Pearl dancing in her room with her mother’s vintage dress. The colors used in the wardrobe are significant contributors to the aesthetic of the personal characters as well as how the movie looks as a whole. Like Pearl’s red dress, it indicates her aggressive passion as well as the bloodshed. The setting of the life on a farm and near the swamp creates a humid summer atmosphere that can be seen in other slasher movies and also contributes to the aesthetic.

If you are into horror, and a bit of gore, I highly recommend watching this film and the whole trilogy; although it is violent and a bit disturbing, I would rate this movie a perfect 10/10. If you enjoyed the movie Orphan’s First Kill, you will most likely enjoy this trilogy. I can describe this movie as a crossover between female rage like: Possession (1981), Jennifer’s Body, Black Swan and classic horror slasher flicks like: Terrifier, Scream, and Halloween.