Film #187: XX
2 out of 5 stars
Touted as an anthology written and directed by women, XX came to the screen with a lot of fanfare. Many reviewers lines up to give this collection of short films a hearty thumbs up. Why? Well, I don’t really know. What’s here certainly doesn’t deserve it. The first story, THE BOX, is taken from a Jack Ketchum story and is written and directed by former RUE MORGUE editor and CAPTURE BIRD director, Jovanka Vuckovic. The story begins promisingly enough with a boy seeing something that changes him forever. Sadly, as the story rolls out, it does so slower than might be warranted and, once it gets going, it kinda doesn’t go anywhere. The kid, played by Peter DaCunha (Syfy’s 12 MONKEYS), is top flight, but… the script he’s given is weak and misguided with an ending that is ham-fisted, contradictory, and utterly confusing. The films looks great… it’s the script that remain unfocused and meandering. Next, musician St Vincent (billed here as Annie Clark) gets a chance to direct her first film and, quite literally, falls flat on her face. Again, the film looks terrific. The set design is solid, but this is more ‘dark comedy’ than it is a horror film. Script makes little sense and the performances are stilted and wooden. This is easily the worst of the collection. Next up, Roxanne Benjamin (SOUTHBOUND) takes us to the desert for some demon fun. I remember liking this the first time I saw it, when it was Josh Reed’s 2010 film, PRIMAL. Cast here are douchebags and, most unforgivably, the monster is lame. While the script feels congenial and conversational, the narrative is lame and one-dimensional. Lastly, we have Karyn Kusama’s (JENNIFER’S BODY, AEON FLUX) story, HER ONLY LIVING SON… which is essentially ROSEMARY’S BABY… 18 YEARS LATER. Performances are stiff. The script is misguided and utterly unbelievable… it’s ending is dopey and doesn’t make a lot of sense. One highlight to XX is Sofia Carrilo’s stop-motion wrap-around segments which are lovely, inventive, and pretty creepy. Overall, XX is just not up to its task. The film is unfocused, meandering, and the stories just aren’t fully realized. It all just sort of side-steps its central theme: stories by women. There’s just nothing other than the mentions of motherhood that relate back to the theme, not do any of the tales offer any insight to the female condition. The nice thing is that XX proves is that, when given the same chances, women can make a shitty film every bit as shitty as men can. I guess… that’s progress, isn’t it?