SPOOKY SZN 2022 DOUBLE FEATURE MOVIE REVIEW: Pearl + Barbarian
Zach Kregger & Ti West’s Latest Outings Offer Some Early Spooky Season Scares This September
With the Halloween season beginning sooner every single year, now often inching into August on an annual basis, it comes as no surprise that September and October share horror releases when it comes to films. While there are certainly a number of scary flicks released throughout the year, with Nope, Scream, The Black Phone, and X headlining 2022’s earlier horror releases, heading into the most frightful season of the year, there tends to be a steady stream of new pictures around the actual Halloween Holiday.
Now in the latter half of September, a plethora of spooky films are on their way, with both Pearl and Barbarian leading the way in early September. For those on the lookout for what to watch, sit back, relax and take a dive with me through this Double Feature Movie Review to kick off Spooky Szn 2022, with my non-spoiler reviews of Pearl and Barbarian!
Pearl — Directed By Ti West
For those that stuck around until after the credits when X premiered earlier this year, fans were treated to an exclusive teaser for Pearl, the extremely-out-of-nowhere prequel for the porn-driven horror movie from Ti West. Also starring (as well as written by and produced by Mia Goth), Pearl tells the story of the elderly, horned up killer from West’s first release of the year, with Goth back in the titular role this time, albeit minus the insane prosthetics.
Months removed from X, there was quite a bit of hype behind this prequel, as its predecessor delivered one of the most fun, sexy rides of the year. Featuring some great performances, great looks, an awesome soundtrack, and equally great kills in the first movie, Pearl had some mighty big shoes to fill. While this prequel may not pack the punch that West’s initial outing in the XXXverse had, Pearl delivers on its sick, twisted source material and is elevated by one of the best performances of the year from its star, Mia Goth.
Playing both Maxine and Pearl in X, Mia Goth leads the follow-up film as a much younger version of Pearl, with the prequel set 61 years prior, in the year 1918. Cleverly set during the Spanish Flu, Pearl features a Pandemic backdrop that was almost undeniably influenced due to its production during the COVID-19 Pandemic. While using the Spanish Flu not only allows the film to have a bit of connective tissue to 2022, it also manages to work its way into playing into Pearl’s own hysteria about the world, while also being a hyper-violent sex addict as well.
Plot aside, Mia Goth gives an award-worthy performance in the lead role, delivering an unhinged (to put it lightly) performance that feels so, so very different from Maxine in the first outing. With a late-film monologue that steals the entire movie, Goth likely will not get the recognition she deserves, though both she and Ti West deserve immense amounts of praise for their disturbing tale that weaves together sex, violence, the Spanish Flu, and The Wizard of Oz almost effortlessly.
Rating — ★★★1/2
Pearl, distributed by A24, was released in theaters on September 16, 2022 and is currently playing in theaters everywhere.
Barbarian — Directed By Zach Kregger
Seemingly arriving out of thin air, Zach Kregger would return to the directing chair after first making his feature-length debut in 2009 alongside Trevor Moore for Miss March. Following the untimely passing of Moore in 2021, Kregger’s return would again, come out of nowhere with the one of the sleeper hits of the year in the form of Barbarian.
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Starring Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, and Justin Long, the former Whitest Kids U Know comedian unleashed this year’s equivalent of James Wan’s Maligant (meant as a compliment) onto theatergoers with no prior warning. With a trailer that gave next to nothing away, aside from the Airbnb setting, Barbarian is best meant to be seen by those who know little to nothing about its plot. Similar to 2021’s Malignant, this horror outing is something that needs to be seen to be believed, with it being one of the wildest rides of the year and a must-watch for any true horror, thriller, or even comedy fan.
With a thrilling story that will leave anyone, even the most seasoned moviegoer guessing and on the edge of their seat, the film is only bolstered by its strong direction and camerawork, as well as committed, captivating performances from all three of its stars, with Campbell and Long specifically being great over the course of its runtime. For those who may be reading this that still have not seen a trailer… DO NOT SEEK IT OUT. GO INTO THIS MOVIE AS BLIND AS POSSIBLE AND JUST LET IT TAKE YOU ON ITS SICK, TWISTED, FUN RIDE, AND TRY TO REMEMBER AFTERWARDS THAT THE MAN BEHIND THE CAMERA IS ONE OF THE WHITEST KIDS U KNOW.
RATING — ★★★★☆
Barbarian was released in theaters on September 9, 2022, and is currently playing in theaters everywhere.
It has certainly been a while since I’ve written anything for this Medium page, but I want that to change! If you enjoyed this DOUBLE FEATURE REVIEW, please consider following me for more in the future! We’re gonna be headed into the Fall shortly, which means there is going to be lots to talk about with a number of major releases including The Fabelmans, Halloween Ends, Black Adam, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Avatar: The Way Of Water, and so, so much more. We’ll see how much I review, but I would love to get back to doing this, as it was the first bit of public writing I ever did!
Anyways, thanks for reading and I appreciate any time that you took to make it this far into the article! I forgot to mention that Ti West is making a third film in his XXXverse, with maXXXine set to release in 2023, and you can bet your rear-end that I will be reviewing that!
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