Pearl (2023)

#16. Pearl

"That unraveling and that mystery is what makes Pearl so effective.  Descending down a long and dark, twisted spiral, only to be capped off by one of the greatest final shots in horror film history."

Horror is oftentimes just a placeholder.  A phrase or a label, for a more sadistic brand-of-story being told.  In a modern context, the conventional drama has gone somewhat out the window.  In favor of more edgy, experimental, and oftentimes, challenging material.

Ti West has been an independent voice in horror for some time with The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers, but it wasn't until X that West found his footing with Mia Goth, a pairing of muse and director that has resulted in a captivating throwback to classic horror that we haven't felt since Ari Aster and Robert Eggers started breaking into the scene.

The world-building and set-design are top-notch, as the film feels bathed in an odd combination of modern nostalgia.  The characters feel grounded enough to not feel old-timey, but we know that they all hold more secrets than they're letting on.

That unraveling and that mystery is what makes Pearl so effective.  Descending down a long and dark, twisted spiral, only to be capped off by one of the greatest final shots in horror film history.

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