Verdict: Bare-bones horror that cements Mia Goth as one of the genre's most promising stars

  • Mia Goth, David Corenswet, Tandi Wright
  • March 17th 2023
  • Ti West

Mia Goth plays the younger version of her X character Pearl in this prequel slasher movie.

There isn’t really much of a movie here, it’s essentially just a first act and a slither of a second act, one of those movies where you can’t tell if the credits are a fake-out or not.

It’s not really horror, it’s not really comedy, it’s best understood as a vehicle for Mia Goth.

Mia Goth is a special kind of actor who is undeniably brilliant yet somehow willing to gamble on bizarre projects like this.

Pearl is engineered to give her as much room to flex as possible, complete with constant solo scenes, scenes that are written and edited to prioritise her reactions, and a 3 minute long-take monologue.

It lives and dies by her performance and thankfully she is spellbinding.

Mia Goth has amazing vocal range. She’s soft spoken, which naturally plays to the Pearl’s vulnerability (it’s great how affecting this is), but she can also scream with stomach churning intensity, a talent few possess.

In many ways she’s the perfect scream queen, especially in an era of horror in which victim and perpetrator are irreversibly conjoined.

She also has an acute understanding of tone. She knows just the right amount of irony to lace into this admittedly middling material to elevate it into camp.

It’s essentially just a cute side project. Watch it for Mia Goth.

In cinemas from Friday 17th March