Horror prequels don’t get as crazy as this psycho gets.

You remember when Mia Goth played that evil old lady Pearl in “X” last March? Well, writer/director Ti West gave her a prequel film entitled “Pearl,” which he filmed back-to-back in secrecy. He and Mia Goth both wrote this crazy woman, as a perky young farm girl, who transforms into some kind of psycho.

She transcends into a demon, who contemplates feeding her ill father (Matthew Sunderland) to the local alligator, threatens her kind projectionist lover (David Corenswet), and acts like some kind of 5-year-old child who freaks out when she gets rejected by a traveling dance audition. No young adult would ever act this way, unless they were raised to be sociopaths or have some kind of mental problems. This girl is crazy AF.

We travel back to that very same farm in 1918, when the Spanish Flu forces people to wear masks in public, and her husband Howard (Alistair Sewell) is fighting in the war. We know he’ll come back alive since we saw that old geezer in “X,” but right now, we’re more concerned about his wife, obviously.

Now, I want you to imagine for a moment what probably would have happened if “Gone With the Wind” or “The Wizard of Oz” were horror movies. Or better yet. How about imagining if Miss Gulch was Dorothy Gale’s mother, who poisons her into becoming a terror.

At this very moment in “Pearl,” the young woman’s mother Ruth (Tandi Wright) is a strict German woman, who tells her that life isn’t about getting what she wants, especially since they’ve sacrificed to have a roof over their heads.

She’s the kind of mother, who would reject her daughter’s dreams of being a dancer, and forcing her to go to bed without finishing her soup, because Pearl told her mom she spend her change money on candy, when actually she went to the picture show. Remember this is 1918, so that’s what they would call movies back then.

This is not the mother you want to have, and this isn’t the daughter you want to have either. So, there’s no way out of this.

I’m pretty sure people are going to be saying “X” is better than “Pearl,” but I really enjoyed both movies for their twisted natures. “X” was about how porn filmmakers and stars had to deal with these crazy old people, while this one is just about the old woman in her youth. “X” had the look and feel of a slasher movie, while this one looks bright and colorful in the analogy of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Maybe more evil than that. And Goth plays both versions of Pearl with sinister and creepy aspects. She even has a smile later in the movie that looks like she’s in a pain from a staring contest.

Besides the lead, Wright is profound as the cruel mother, Corenswet has his style, Sunderland looks miserable and terrified, and Emma Jenkins-Purro does a good job as her cute, blonde sister-in-law Misty. And they all have their reactions to how Pearl becomes the psycho we know and fear.

One scene goes on a little long, but it pays off in the end. West films that shot quite threatening, but another scene,which takes place during a storm, explodes with great intensity.

Don’t expect a happy ending in “Pearl,” for those of you who saw “X.” Seeing the original film is how you’ll get the happy ending. And there will, no doubt, be a sequel entitled “MaXXXine.” What is it about? Can’t say yet.

Now let’s find out how you people will take this prequel this weekend. You might like it as much or less than “X.” One way to find out.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4.

Categories: Horror, Prequel

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