Maxxxine Marks A Provocative Conclusion To A Great Horror Trilogy

Maxxxine is a stunning conclusion to writer/director Ti West’s horror trilogy, complete with an amazing performance by its lead actress.

Maxxxine synopsis: Following the events of X, Maxine (Mia Goth) has moved to 1980s Hollywood, working as an adult film star. However, she soon landing a role in an upcoming horror movie sequel. But, as her career begins to take an upswing, her past as the lone survivor begins to catch up with her, thanks to a private detective (Kevin Bacon) stalking her. Along with this, a real-life series of murders plague Los Angeles, putting Maxine in the epicenter of it all.

Fame Comes Home in Maxxxine

After the one-two punch of X and Pearl in 2022, writer/director Ti West returns with Maxxxine, the third installment in his X trilogy. This time around, West crafts a splendid conclusion following Maxine (Goth) as she attempts to move on following the events of X. Furthermore, West forges a satirical and subversive tale of trying to make it in the Hollywood film industry. For context, if X was Boogie Nights (1997) meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Pearl was a tribute to 30s serial musicals, then Maxxxine would be akin to a neo-noir thriller. With a touch of giallo, for good measure.

MAXXXINE: Director Ti West on the set holding a camera.
Director Ti West on the set of Maxxxine. Courtesy of A24.

To achieve this, director of photography Eliot Rockett and company show the time period of 1985 as a dirty, grimy, and seedy underbelly. Working in tandem with Jason Kisvardy’s production design, the grittiness of the 80s shines on through. Which is then amplified by costume designer Mari-An Ceo. Moreover, composer Tyler Bates constructs a jazz-filled score.

One that supports the neo-noir tone of the film. It allows for 80s synth pop to fill the speakers, with songs like “Obsession” by Animotion to “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. All of which contributes to the dirty and grimy look of 1985. Furthermore, West (who also edited the film) tightens the film down to a lean two hours and four minutes. Thus, allowing for Maxine’s journey to play out. However, while the run time allows for her story to play out, the editing leaves behind some of the major supporting characters.

Performances in Maxxxine

MAXXXINE: Mia Goth and Giancarlo Esposito standing in a junkyard.
Mia Goth and Giancarlo Esposito in Maxxxine. Courtesy of A24.

As for the cast, Mia Goth returns as the titular character. Goth continues to dazzle as Maxine, bringing a headstrong ruthlessness to the role. Goth also manages to bring resilience and vulnerability as Maxine’s past begins to catch up with her. Speaking on that past, Kevin Bacon delivers a slimy performance as John Labat, a private detective hired to find Maxine. Bacon brings a sense of menace but also formality.

This also extends to Michelle Monaghan, who displays much chemistry with Bobby Cannavale’s Detective Torres as Detective Williams. On the flip side, Giancarlo Esposito and Elizabeth Debecki deliver great performances as Maxine’s director and agent Teddy and Elizabeth. With Debecki in particular, echoing a sense of weighted realism to her performance. And rounding out the cast, Moses Sumney, Lilly Collins, and Halsey all give solid performances to their roles.

Final Thoughts

MAXXXINE: Mia Goth waving to a crowd of people.
Mia Goth in Maxxxine. Courtesy of A24.

With Maxxxine, writer/director Ti West managed to deliver a splendid conclusion to his X trilogy. Taking influences from the neo-noir genre and Giallo cinema, West and company were able to make the film set apart from itself. All the while, making it another worthy entry in the trilogy. This is accomplished thanks to the cinematography working in tandem with the production design to make the time period of 1985 shine. Finally, Mia Goth lead an impressive cast as the titular character. Overall, Maxxxine is a rockin’ fun time from beginning to end. And another great entry in already great horror trilogy.

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