Review: Pearl

Posted in Film Reviews 2022, Genre, Horror by - September 16, 2022
Review: Pearl

Pearl (2022)
R ‧ Horror/Slasher ‧ 1 H 42 M

Written by Ti West and Mia Goth

Directed by ‎Ti West


Mia Goth, David Corenswet, Tandi Wright, Matthew Sunderland, and Emma Jenkins-Purro 


(In their own words) The story of how Pearl became the vicious killer seen in “X”.


The BEST things about the film

  1. Art direction – There are some stunningly beautiful colors, scenery, costumes….just a lovely visual feast, which is a fantastic choice considering we are expecting the opposite direction from a horror film and from this film in particular, based on the world we were introduced to in the original film.
  2. The story – This is really quite an impressive tale of the creation of a monster. The director found a way to make sense of the crazy we see in the next previous film and to understand how a killer is formed early on. I’m openly not a huge horror person, which is probably shocking considering how many horror films I’ve ended up needing to review. What draws me to a horror is the premise and what wins me over is the story. While some of the bloodshed or gore in a film may be gratuitous, the moments made sense within the story and the story was so strong that it made me forget about how graphic it is.
  3. The monologue – You’ll know it when you see it. Pearl gives what I’m guessing is like a 10 minute monologue, which is incredibly rare in modern films. It is intense, character defining, intriguing, everything you could ask for.
  4. Acting – Mia Goth, who plays the title character, does an absolutely wonderful job as Pearl. Her calmness, her desire, her struggle, all ring through a very complicated performance.  Even overall in this film, the acting is pretty great. I don’t usually think of horror films as a place to see fine acting, but this film is full of it. 


The WORST things about the Film

  1. I have a concern that the film won’t hit as hard if you haven’t seen the original. It’s really hard to know, but the suspense of the first half of the film really does rely on us knowing who, or what, Pearl becomes later.


Pearl is the prequel film to a horror film that came out earlier this year called X. X was a horror film about a low budget adult movie being filmed on a rural farm until the filmmakers meet the elderly owner of the farm, Pearl, who, for a variety of reasons, decides to kill them. 

Pearl is meant to be the origin story to see how Pearl turns into the killer we see in X.  The film makes the choice of connecting the adult film production to Pearl by making her a huge fan of movies when she was a young lady. She befriends a local film projectionist who shows her some “stag films” from France, the early beginnings of the adult film industry.

The early part of the film is definitely shot as an homage to old movies, stylizing it in the way of early color films. Throughout the movie we are treated to all these little theatrical nuggets, almost getting in the head of the starry eyed future killer. The film is not just a horror film, it is almost a love letter to the early years of cinema. 

The film is also set in 1918 during the Spanish flu pandemic, helping to really connect to the modern audience, showing their fears of catching the silent killer, protecting themselves with masks and social distancing. But for most of the cast, the Spanish Flu is not the killer they need to worry about. While masks can protect you from a virus, what is more deadly is the mask that a killer can wear. Masks they use to hide who they really are inside. Pearl’s mask of the sweet girl and dreamer, hide a really deep anger she carries. It hides the coldness inside her. It hides a brutality that nobody has seen before, and once she takes off the mask, she’s more deadly than anyone can possibly imagine. 

Pearl is terrifying early on in the wholesome image it portrays. It is a reminder that you need to look deep inside of someone until you discover who they really are. You need to look under their mask.

Support your children’s dreams. 


Everyone is wearing masks. So be careful. 


A remarkably well-done prequel to this year’s horror film “X”. Great writing with fully fleshed out characters. Fantastic performance from lead Mia Goth. A scary tale about a woman’s descent into madness. At the same time, it is almost a love letter to early Hollywood films.

My 3L system gives me the choice to Love It, Like It, or Lose It. 

Pearl gets a strong “Like It”




This post was written by
When he’s not reviewing films or interviewing people for the Black & A Half podcast, Silas Lindenstein can be found in the greater metro Seattle, WA working as a real estate agent helping people buy and sell homes, or performing stand up comedy to fellow nerds. He has a wife and three children and desperately wants to learn to make the perfect homemade pizza.

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