Film Review: XX (USA/Canada 2016) ***

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xx.jpgDirected by various directors (see below)

Not since the British horror anthropology DEAD OF NIGHT has a more memorable one hit the screens. A hit at this year’s Sundance 2017, the film features four horror shorts by four killer female directors.
Each director is given full creative license to tell any story they choose revolving around a female protagonist. While the directors have been given free creative rein within budget and time constraints, all of the segments themselves involve the horror genre in a new all-female helmed horror film.

The film is called XX likely because of the female chromosomes that make up the sex of a newly born infant. [In this system, the sex of an individual is determined by a pair of sex chromosomes (gonosomes). Females typically have two of the same kind of sex chromosome (XX), and are called the homogametic sex.]

Award-winning animator Sofia Carrillo (LA CASA TRISTE) wraps together the four suspenseful stories of terror with eerie stop motion creatures and objects running around.

The four films are outlined below. They are all equally good and worth a look. A brief description and review is given of each.

THE BOX (Directed by Jovanka Vuckovic)

THE BOX is every mother’s nightmare. The female protagonist here is a mother who when taking the TTC (Toronto Transit Corporation) train one day with her two children encounters a stranger carrying a red box, taken as a Christmas present. After the son takes a peek at what’s inside of the box, he stops eating. No reason is given for his lost of appetite as the boy feels fine As the days pass, he grows thinner and weaker. Vuckovic’s film is a very well executed exercise in suspense, despite it having an open ending.

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (Directed by Annie Clark)

Clark’s BIRTHDAY PARTY deals with the female protagonist, a mother trying to hide a dead corpse (her husband) from everyone. I am not a fan of dead corpse films like WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S, SWISS MARY MAN nor his one. I do not find anything hilarious about dragging dead body around through a whole movie. Clark plays it for laughs rather than horror.

DON’T FALL (Directed by Karyn Kusama)

DON”T FALL sees a group of four (2 males, 2 females) venturing into unchartered territory. They see figures carved in rock, not knowing what they stand for. Before they bed down in their trailer, horror strikes. DON”T FALL is at times quite hilarious, but it is also quite scary as the last female of the group tries her best to escape sinister forces. Good make-up and special effects!

HER ONLY LONGING SON (Directed by Karyn Kusama)
“Something is happening to Andy”. Kusama’s tale is from the point of view of a mother who sees strange behaviour in her son. Called to school, after her son tore out the fingernails of a classmate, she is surprised that he is unpunished as the principal claims the son to be special. Things take a twist when it is discovered that the mother knows more than it seems. This is the longest of the 4 films. It could also stand for the sequel for ROSEMARY’S BABY.



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