In the 2022 horror movie X, Mia Goth played a young women named Maxine and an elderly psychopath named Pearl (with the help of heavy prosthetics).
In Ti West's prequel movie, we learn about Pearl's upbringing and how she became the way she is in X. It is set on the same isolated farm in Texas, although the time is 1918 rather than the '70s.
Pearl cannot stand her life on the farm and is desperate to become a star and see the world. Her husband Howard (Alistair Sewell) is away in the war and she feels stuck and isolated living with her strict German immigrant mother Ruth (Tandi Wright) and disabled father (Matthew Sutherland). However, Pearl does not think like a normal person and takes extreme measures to change her living situation.
Aside from the location and the shared character, there is nothing else connecting X and Pearl. There are completely different in terms of look, tone, and style. X was similar to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, while Pearl pays homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood and Technicolor films like The Wizard of Oz, complete with bright and colourful visuals and deliberately theatrical acting from Goth.
You don't even have to watch X before watching Pearl, although you'll get more out of it if you've seen what Pearl got up to in X and can connect the dots between the two.
Those hoping for a straightforward slasher movie like X will be disappointed because it is a character-driven drama about her life on the farm for a long time. Pearl's true colours do emerge eventually - and the deaths are brutal - but the kill count isn't very high and it's case of too little too late.
While the film is hit and miss, Goth's incredible performance cannot be denied. She is sensational as a desperately unhappy and disturbed woman. Her talent is particularly clear to see in an emotional six-minute one-take monologue, a tense confrontation with a lover, and the lingering end-credits shot.
Pearl is worth a watch for Goth's outstanding performance but the film is just the same as X - good, but never great.
In cinemas from Friday 17th March