Punting the plot: The fabulous Mia Goth can’t salvage the disappointing ‘MaXXXine’

Horror master Ti West’s X franchise comes to a sloppy ending with MaXXXine, a disappointing finish to what was shaping up as a great horror trilogy. Mia Goth, who powered the first two installments with classic scream-queen grace, is still good here, but the film lets her down.

Set in the 1980s after the 1979 setting of X and the 1918 setting of Pearl (easily the best installment in the franchise), West takes the opportunity to make his ’80s movie, and both the look of the film and the soundtrack capture the period just fine.

Sadly, the plot is a total punt—a bunch of nonsense involving the Night Stalker murders while Maxine (Goth) tries to take her career out of porn and into horror. The ending of the film is a sad attempt to tie the trilogy together—and an extremely unsatisfactory answer to a mystery. The film’s final act lands with a resounding thud.

Before this trilogy, West was making a name for himself as a new king of horror, and the first two installments solidified his hold on that title. MaXXXine is a step backward.

It’ll be interesting if he keeps coming with horror next—he’s said he has an idea for another film related to this trilogy—or tries something a little different, like his decent Western, In a Valley of Violence.

There’s nothing showing up yet on his IMDb dance card, so it’s anybody’s guess.

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