I’ve always been a sucker for a good horror anthology film. From Creepshow to Tales from the Darkside: The Movie to 2009’s Trick ‘R Treat, there’s just something awesome about getting multiple tales for the price of one and even a cool wrap-around story if you’re lucky.
Well, here we are in Women in Horror Month and there’s a new four-story horror anthology film directed by four different kick-ass women called XX available for your viewing pleasure.
No stranger to the world of horror, Jovanka Vuckovic’s take on Jack Ketchum’s The Box is up first. If you’ve never read the story, it’s more of a sad tale than a horror tale but is still frightening none the less. A seemingly happy family is riding the train when their son notices another rider carrying a small box. He asks to see what’s inside the box and the stranger abides and from that night on the boy refuses to eat. This story is the perfect opening to the anthology as it sets quite a grim tone for the rest of the movie. Well-acted and directed, a great piece.
Next up is musician St. Vincent’s first foray into the world of directing with The Birthday Party. In this short, a quirky mother tries her best to give her daughter the best birthday party over under some very unusual circumstances involving a corpse. This one is more of a dark comedy that I wasn’t truly sold on until the end. There are some fantastic epilogue notes that follow this story that really cracked me up.
They followed up the “comedy” bit with what is undoubtedly the scariest story of the bunch. Don’t Fall directed by Roxanne Benjamin (Southbound) is a quick tale of a group of four friends who decide to camp out on what appears to be old tribal land. Well, unfortunately for these cats, the land is cursed and since this is a short story, it’s not long before they pay dearly for their trespass. By no means is this the most original tale ever told but it’s done quite well and it brings the gore; thoroughly enjoyable.
The last story is Her Only Living Son directed by Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body). With a nod to both Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen, a loving mother simply refuses to admit that her nearly 18-year-old son may be the son of Satan…either that or he’s just a major dickhead with really long toenails. I’m torn over whether this short or The Box is the most well-rounded tale of the bunch but they’re both put together very well.
A slight disappointment is that the “wrap-around” story isn’t a story at all but is more like a creepy Tool video with dollhouses and stop-motion. In no way does this take away from the stories themselves but I do love a good wrap-around.
The bottom line is XX is a highly enjoyable and re-watchable anthology film that will get tons of plays in my house over the coming years; kudos to all involved.
XX is currently in select theaters and is available OnDemand, on iTunes and on Amazon Video. You can check out the website and the trailer below.
Stay gory my friends.