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Culture > Entertainment

“Pearl” And “X”: Why These A24 Horror Productions Have Won Over Audiences

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

“Please, I’m a star” – this speech became a famous sound on TikTok, along with other lines included in the movie Pearl. Although being a prequel of the movie X, both are still considered hit productions of A24 Studio.

Pearl and X are considered modern classic slasher movies. In the same category, there are Cabin in the Woods (2012) and Freaky (2020). Productions with the same structure used to be famous, such as Psycho (1960) and Halloween (1978), that captivated the public at the time with their unique and peculiar kind of horror. Now, they’re coming back.

A24 and Slasher Movies

Initially named A24 Films, the independent film production company was created in 2012. It began only as a movie distributor, but after its success with the movie Spring Breakers (2013), with names such as James Franco, Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, they started to invest more in the filmmaking itself. Since then, it has already won six Oscar’s statues, including Best Movie with Moonlight in 2016.

The company’s success has only grown since then, and recently the producers decided to reinvest in slasher films. This subgenre of horror movies used to appease the public in the late 70’ and mid 80’ and are considered classics. Candyman (1992), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and Scream (1996) are outstanding mentions among the best slasher movies of all time.

It’s possible to classify these movies in the same category, because they follow a model – a horror movie, also named as “horror b-movies”, with low budget and psychopath killers.

X and Pearl

With only a few months apart, both movies are correlated. Pearl tells the X villain’s backstory, although calling her psychopath would be more appropriate. They also share the same director and writer, Ti West. Mia Goth co-wrote and starred in Pearl, besides being one of the main characters in X.

X tells the story of a group of young filmmakers in 1979. They rent a house in Texas to make an adult film, but when the host couple realizes what they’re doing, they start having to fight for their lives. Or, as the promotional poster says, “dying to show you a good time”.

The slasher film premiered in April with 100% of approval in Rotten Tomatoes and the actors Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Brittany Snow, Owen Campbell, Stephen Ure and Scott Mescudi (Kid Cudi) are starring in this new horror movie.

The prequel, Pearl, tells the story of the old lady and host of the young filmmaker in X. She is the villain psychopath who is chasing after the group, but in this movie, we get to know why she did all of that.

The reason is simple: she wanted to be famous. That’s why she says things like: “I’m a star” and “The whole world’s gonna know my name”. 

During the movie, Pearl is treated badly by her mother. She also has to take care of her ill father and sees that errand as a burden, because she wants to focus on her career, but can’t. Between all of that, she gets married to Howard (David Corenswet), a projectionist.

Mia Goth is also starring in this movie, but as the leading lady, and villain, named Pearl. Her character never loses focus and starts to do crazy things to accomplish her goal.

X is available for rent on Prime Video, but Pearl has still not been released in Brazil.

why the success?

Although slasher movies have already been a success for a long time, they’re not

very well seen. For the fans, there is comfort in the familiar formula of killing, but few of them are considered artistic.

The fact is that they have always been a hit. So, it’s not a sudden success. Movie producers are just returning to invest in the slasher industry.

Its advantage is that it is cheaper than other types of movies. Therefore, indie productors, such as A24, can invest in it. Not only because of that, but it’s also pleasing to the public, which means there are financial returns.

A24 didn’t start to produce slasher movies with Pearl or X. In August, they also announced the movie Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022), that promised violence, blood, drugs and a prohibition for minors to watch.

And after the huge success of Pearl and X, A24 announced a third film for the, now, trilogy. It’s called MaXXXine and Mia Goth will be starring as the only survivor in X. It’s safe to say that is not the end for slasher movies.

The article above was edited by Mariana do Patrocínio. Liked this type of content? Check out Her Campus Cásper Líbero home page for more!

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Beatriz Cyrino

Casper Libero '25

Journalism student at Cásper Líbero, Sagittarius and December girl. Writing to have a better understanding about me and the world.