“Pearl” gives the performance of a lifetime


Sasha Kaiser, Features Writer

A24 has been on a roll with horror movies this year, and they are still adding more to the list with their newest addition, “Pearl.” This is a prequel to another film released this year titled “X,” and it is the backstory to the main villain whom the film is titled after. It’s about a young girl who is serious about being a star, and won’t let anyone, or anything, even a goose who wanders into her farm, get in her way. She won’t give up until the whole world knows her name. Her character arc can only be compared to a mix of the Joker and Patrick Bateman from “American Psycho.”

In “X,” we see Pearl as just a killer, who wants to be young again and deeply regrets not living her life to the fullest. She is jealous of people who were able to make it. Why couldn’t she be that lucky? “Pearl” gives us insight to her story. Following more of a thriller format than “X,” the movie is a typical slasher. The movie is set during the Spanish flu. The world is sick and Pearl must be isolated to take care of her father. The times that she does go out, she spends her time at the movie theater, hoping to be in the pictures one day, whether her mom approves or not. She wants everyone to love her, and though the whole murder thing she’s doing isn’t good, she’s sympathetic in a way. Viewers will find themselves rooting for her to get what she wants.

Although the movie has a dark subject matter, I really like how it uses color and visuals, which can lure the viewer into a sense of safety. It’s the opposite of the films that Pearl watches which are black and white. Another thing I noticed is how it’s not as gory as “X” is. Instead, the storyline and movie slowly builds up to it. Starting with the off screen killing of an animal, we see how ruthless Pearl is, but not to the full extent since we don’t see anything graphic. But in the last 20 minutes we finally see in full just how far gone she is. As a viewer, I can’t help but feel sad for her. She’s completely isolated and her husband is at war. She has big dreams that always seem to be crushed. It’s enough to make anyone go crazy, although hopefully not to the point where you kill someone.

Although I still definitely prefer “X” in some ways, being a big slasher fan, “Pearl” is a really great prequel to an interesting villain. Mia Goth really brings the whole movie together. She’s a talented actress who brings a lot to the role and really acts her heart out. She makes the character feel real, and really nails her nine minute monologue, which somehow kept me captivated the whole time. 

All in all, I may not enjoy it as much as the first film, but the film does its job well as a prequel. It gives us the backstory to a new and intriguing villain, all while giving us pretty scenery to look at. I give it a humble 3.5 out of 5 paws!