XX is an anthology film, in other words, many little stories to form a film, in this case, a different woman director directed each one of these stories. Four horror stories, each inside its own universe and do not interlace with each other.
The first story is called “The Box” and was directed by Jovanka Vuckovic, who already wrote and directed around four short films.
Susan (Natalie Brown) and her children, Danny (Peter DaCunha) and Jenny (Peyton Kennedy) are riding on a subway and the seat near them, a man (Michael Dyson) with a red box.
After chatting a little, Danny asks to see what’s inside the box, the man doesn’t mind to show him, but after seeing the content of the box, the boy refuses to eat anything for days, then weeks and so on.
Annie Clark A.K.A. St. Vincent, directed the second story, called “The Birthday Party”. St. Vincent is her “musician name” and I am very curious to listen to her music.
In the morning of her daughter’s birthday, Mary (Melanie Lynskey) founds her husband (Seth Duhame) dead and decides to hide the body and keep the party as if nothing happened.
Roxanne Benjamin commands “Don’t Fall”, the third short film. She’s the co-director of one segment of the movie “Southbound” and the producer of the V/H/S franchise.
In “Don’t Fall”, a group of friends goes to the desert to explore caves, where they found some ancient paintings on the wall depicting some demon. When the nightfall and the group go camping, things got out of control.
Karyn Kusama is the one behind “Her Only Living Son”, the last of the four stories. She has some notorious titles in her résumé, like “Jennifer’s Body” with Megan Fox and “Æon Flux” with Charlize Theron.
However, the reason I knew Karyn Kusama before, was that she directed a movie I really liked, “The Invitation”, and maybe someday I’ll review it here.
“Her Only Living Son” is the story of Cora (Christina Kirk), a single mother raising a boy soon to turn 18, Andy (Kyle Allen), a very peculiar and apparently evil teenager.
Cora began to be troubled with the many evil actions towards classmates and animals, while some people tell her how remarkable and special her son is, like their hypnotized by him.
The movie was praised by the critics and hated by the general public, and this time, I agree a little more with the public. I didn’t hate it but also didn’t like it at all.
By far the best, and I would say the only good, is “The Box”. It was a story that kept me interested until the end, very intriguing and mysterious. “The Box” was also the best visually, is the most disturbing.
“The Birthday Party” and “Don’t Fall” are the worst, and is very hard to point out which one is worst.
“The Birthday Party” is the lightest and humorous one, but is not funny and it’s kind of bland. “Don’t Fall” is just bad, is absurdly cliché, with the group of young people being slaughtered in a distant location.
Roxanne Benjamin co-wrote and directed a segment of another anthology film, “Southbound”. I liked much more of her work on “Southbound” than on “XX, no doubt.
The last one is not bad but is quite disappointing because of my expectations for a director I like. The story is somewhat of a “what would happen after the ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ ”.
Between each short movie, there is an animation in stop-motion, it has a good, eerie appearance but that’s all. The animation just serves as an intro/outro to each one of the stories and nothing significant.
The best thing about the movie, by far is the fact that it is all the stories are directed by women and with female leads. It might be a groundbreaking feature, but I don’t think it was enough to captivate me.
There are many female horror directors, including Karyn Kusama, and I hope we have even more in the future, and preferably with great movies, but in this particular case, it’s 3 Moons.