Release year: 2017
Directors: Roxanne Benjamin (segment ’Don’t Fall), Karyn Kusama (segment ‘Her Only Living Son’), St. Vincent (segment ‘The Birthday Cake’), Jovanka Vukovic (segment ‘The Box’)
Screenwriters: Jovanka Vukovic (segment ‘The Box’), Jack Ketchum (segment ‘The Box’ based on a story by), Roxanne Benjamin (segment ‘The Birthday Party’), St. Vincent (segment ‘The Birthday Party’) Roxanne Benjamin (segment ‘Don’t fall’), Karyn Kusama (segment ‘Her Only Living Son’)
Starring: Natalie Brown, Melanie Lynskey, Breeda Wool, Angela Trimbur, Christina Kirk, Kyle Allen, Jonathan Watton, Peter DaCunha
Four short horror stories are told from a female perspective: ‘The Box’ sees Susan’s (Brown) son Danny (DaCunha) suddenly not eating after looking inside a stranger’s box on the train. ‘The Birthday party’ follows the struggle of Mary (Lynskey) trying to keep an unexpected death from ruining her daughter’s birthday party. ‘Don’t Fall’ follows four friends on a camping trip interrupted by an evil spirit and ‘Her Only Living Son’ shows Cora (Kirk) trying to avoid losing her son (Allen) to evil.
A struggle for anthology movies, is that the short running time for each segment leaves little time to develop characters and, in this case, build up horror. XX manages to get around that problem well enough, by well-written, and especially well-played, characters, who quickly gives an impression of who they are and the four directors ability to quickly set a tone of dread. The segments are framed by creepy stop-motion-animated segments with dolls and strange creatures (directed by Sofia Carrillo) and the frame is honestly the most disturbing part of the entire movie. The horror in the four segments isn’t your standard slashing-killer-jump scares stuff but relies on a study in human behavior, peculiarities and mystery. All the performances in the movie is top-notch (why is it Melanie Lynskey isn’t at bigger star and why haven’t you heard of Christina Kirk?) and the movie delivers a more stylish look on horror. It loses strong by the fact, that it isn’t very frightening, but most stories are interesting enough to make you wish you could have gotten them in full length.
The stuffed cat that Melanie Lynskey adjusts in the segment ‘The Birthday Party’ is Frisky, a suffed cat composer Danny Elfman has had for more than twenty years.
If you want to watch XX yourself, you can get it here: