X ★★★½

Genuinely refreshing to see a horror film made by someone who clearly loves the genre. Ti West's embrace of tried and true formula - not meta-goofing, heavy metaphors, or the slow burn that fizzles to a snooze - offers a goopy reminder of why sometimes simple recipes are the best. Knives, blood, rampant horniness, and sudden eyeball violence, just like grandma used to make.

And while X does ape heavily from THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, the whole film pulls off a broader homage to an era of exploitation. Beyond the T&A and the gore, the film manages to capture a more ephemeral quality of this era of horror - the skillful presentation of creepy ideas. When you interrogate them they're wildly improbable, but they're meant to strike harder in your lizard brain. It's the kind of phantom logic shaping the plots of some of the great golden age horror films. The ending of SLEEPAWAY CAMP doesn't make a lick of sense if you think about it for ten seconds, but if you did that you'd be missing out on the fun. Ti West's resurrection of that same phantom logic in the age of "elevated horror" feels like a minor miracle of genre filmmaking. And more than anything it's FUN. Not a slog, not winky to its own detriment, just a classic modal example of giving the people what they want.

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