A Great Horror Trilogy Goes Out In Style

As the film opens, it’s been six years since the events of “X,” and the lone survivor of that massacre, Maxine (Mia Goth), has put it all behind her. After years of making a living as a porn star and stripper known as Maxine Minx, Maxine is ready to take the next step to becoming a serious actress, auditioning for a high-profile horror film that could make her a mainstream star. Confident, talented, and gutsy, Maxine seems to have what it takes to push forward into a new phase of her career.

But Maxine’s world is full of monsters, and they’re not just sleazy producers and cutthroat directors. Los Angeles is being stalked by a serial killer called the Night Stalker, protestors chanting about obscenity and blasphemy are constantly camped outside the studio where the horror film is being made, and perhaps most alarmingly, someone is very aware of Maxine’s past. As a slimy private detective (Kevin Bacon) and the specter of brutal death seem to stalk her at every turn, Maxine tries to press on with her career, knowing all the while that she’s probably on a collision course she can’t steer away from.

As with the other films in the series, “Maxxxine” pulls right away from the styles and fears of its era, as Ti West and the entire production team immerse us in 1985 Hollywood with its VHS boom, citywide serial killer panic, and of course, killer soundtrack. If “X” was all about seat of your pants, DIY filmmaking mixed with “Texas Chain Saw Massacre”-style brutalism, then this film calls to mind ’80s thrillers like “Stripped to Kill” and “Body Double.” It’s a thrilling, endlessly entertaining pastiche of dirty city streets, peep shows, convertibles, denim, and black leather gloves glazed with blood, and like the other two films in this trilogy, it never lets up. It’s clear right away that West knows exactly what kind of elements he wants to play with, and he’s having a great time diving deep into the horrors of 1985.

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