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FILM REVIEW: MaXXXine (2024)

Updated: Jul 8

MaXXXine - New Release Review

Director: Ti West

Starring: Mia Goth, Elizabeth Debicki, Kevin Bacon, Giancarlo Esposito, Halsey, Sophie Thatcher

Written by: Ti West

Produced by: Mia Goth, Harrison Kreiss, Jacob Jaffke, Kevin Turen, Ti West

Cinematography by: Eliot Rockett

Original Score by: Tyler Bates


In 1980s Hollywood, adult film star and aspiring actress Maxine Minx finally gets her big break. But as a mysterious killer stalks the starlets of Hollywood, a trail of blood threatens to reveal her sinister past..

Maxxxine Film Review


In my first year of reviewing for The Fright Club NI, I reviewed 'X' and was blown away with how much I loved. It hit all the right beats for me, taking influence from the grindhouse movies of the 70’s and introduced me to Londontown’s favourite lil’ scamp Mia Goth. I had enjoyed the work of Ti West before 'X' (especially The Innkeepers) but with this film, it felt like he had taken his quality of work to a new level. To everybody's surprise, 'X' wasn’t just a standalone horror movie; we were going to be treated to a prequel the very next year, focused on the origins of the 'X' killer, Pearl. The film 'Pearl' furthered proved that Mia Goth and Ti West had a strong partnership happening, delivering us a film with one of the best performances of the year from Goth. After 'Pearl', it was revealed that this series of films would become a trilogy, with the conclusion being 'MaXXXine', which would follow Maxine Minx, the sole survivor from the first film, on her way to becoming a star in Hollywood. Would West and Goth be able to go three for three, or will Maxxine end in a whimper?

We meet up with Maxine Minx auditioning for the lead role in The Puritan 2, a sequel to the smash hit horror original. From this very first scene, you can see that Mia Goth hasn’t missed a beat, giving one of the best monologues in the movie. As we enter Maxine’s world of sleazy Hollywood, we see reports of The Night Stalker terrorizing the women of LA. I thought it was a cool idea of adding this real-life killer into the mix to show that LA isn’t all about the glitz and glamour, it’s actually quite a dangerous town especially for women. Unfortunately, West doesn’t capitalise on this Night Stalker angle very much and at no point does Maxine even mention the Night Stalker, making it feel like it’s just an empty threat and something to tie the main “villain” too.

Mia Goth and Elizabeth Debicki in Maxxxine

It's easy to see Ti’s influences for the movie on full display, with the villain clearly designed after the killer from 'Dressed to Kill' (De Palma’s influence is all over the film, with a club scene straight out of 'Body Double' and De Palma’s love for Hitchcock, as Maxine visits the 'Psycho' set). I feel West was also taking inspiration from films like 'Angel' (1983) and 'Cruising' (1980), to set the mood for how down and dirty the street of Hollywood can be.

Much like how West shot 'X' like a grindhouse film and 'Pearl' in beautiful technicolour, MaXXXine's look and feel is pitch perfect for the 80’s aesthetic. The market has been over saturated with 80’s nostalgia for too long now, using neon lights and techno music as an easy to apply 80’s layover, but West has gone the opposite way, making the film gritty and darkly lit to give it an authentic 80’s slasher feel. It goes without saying that Mia Goth is incredible in the film, showing that she can easily carry a movie by herself. Everyone else on the cast plays their characters like they’re all starring in different films. With Kevin Bacon, he plays a private detective who’s a mix between Nicholson in 'Chinatown' and Foghorn Leghorn from 'Looney Tunes'. Elizabeth Debicki, while great as always, feels too modern for this type of film. Michelle Monaghan and Bobby Cannavale play two detectives that have a fun dynamic with Maxine, but by the end of the film, amount to nothing. Now this all sounds negative, but when watched as a full piece, it all just sort of works (for me anyway.) Sure, it gets a bit wacky and outlandish by the end, but if you’ve ever seen an 80’s LA sex slasher before, it absolutely suits the tone.

Mia Goth as Maxine Minx in Maxxxine

The whole film is themed around fakeness. Fake friendships, fake identities, fake outrage (Satanic panic is bubbling under the surface of the whole film.) It’s a theme that I think Goth and West both handle well, showing that in a town full of fakeness, Maxine stands out from the crowd. Sex workers often get stigmatised in the media and it’s great to see Maxine be such a strong final girl in the horror genre.

The finale won’t work for everybody, and I completely understand why people wouldn’t like it, but I was having a great time. A lot of the subplots just sort of fizzle into nothing by the end, maybe leaving some audience members dissatisfied. I think the finale works just fine, letting Maxine shed her past and becoming the person she’s always wanted to be.

Ti West has completed his trilogy and for the most part it’s been a success. 3 movies in 3 years, with minimal budgets ($2 Million for X and $1 Million for Pearl), West has definitely proven himself as a director. While this third entry might be a letdown to some audiences, its style and type of storytelling are very much my cup of tea. Could we see more from Maxine Minx? Sure, and I'd absolutely watch it, but it’s probably best that we leave Maxine to live the life she’s always deserved.

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

-Adam Neeson

'MaXXXine' is available to watch in cinemas right now

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