Mia Goth is Sensational in Slasher Trilogy Finale ‘MaXXXine’ (Review)

by | Jul 5, 2024


The titular star of Ti West’s grand finale helps elevate a slightly uneven, all-too-familiar story. 

I think it’s safe to say that Ti West’s slasher trilogy is arguably the most unconventional trilogy to come out in some time. Think about it: the first two films (both released in 2022) covered a porn movie shoot at a farm gone horribly wrong (X), and the film that proceeded it was a prequel (Pearl), covering the villain in the first film. Both films star Mia Goth, who played an adult star in X and the title villain in the same film along with the prequel, Pearl. In addition to being unconventional, while all three of these films may be connected, but they also look visually different as further evidenced by the release of MaXXXine. Ti West deserves a lot of credit for making each one of these films uniquely entertaining. But that being said, there is a level of expectation with MaXXXine following all the word of mouth after its two predecessors. You certainly can tell from the get-go that this film is bigger and flashier, but quality wise? Despite the film being hampered by some familiar tropes, its titular star, Mia Goth, is what helps this film shine as bright as her character aspires to be.  

Serving as a direct sequel to X, MaXXXine shows us Maxine (Mia Goth) having left Texas after what happened on the farm and trying to make her mark in Hollywood during the year 1985. After being known as a “star” in adult films, Maxine finally gets her big break, thanks to an audition for a horror film that convinced the film’s director (Elizabeth Debicki) to cast her. However, just thing seemed to be going Maxine’s way, a mass murderer called the “Night Stalker” begins to kill people connected to her. Plus, evidence of her past begins to pop up. With all this happening, Maxine must find a way to get the most out of her upcoming role in a film while at the same time trying to figure out who is stalking her. 

It’s not unlikely to see slasher flicks of this nature contain narratives that are familiar. But the biggest con going for MaXXXine is how you can see things coming from a mile away. For a slasher trilogy that has presented unique visuals and plot points, MaXXXine is certainly the most by-the-book chapter of the trilogy, which is disappointing when you consider Ti West’s filmography. So, you would think the grand finale would have more “umph” or “shock and awe.”  However, that is not to be found here. But regardless, it’s Mia Goth’s outstanding performance here that helps make the shortcomings of the plot a little more forgivable. 

Delivering the best performance in Ti West’s trilogy, Goth sets the tone in her character’s opening scene of the film. Coming in hot with confidence that is preceded by the clever title card, she takes the reigns of this film and doesn’t let go until the credits role. One can imagine that Goth’s stardom is about to skyrocket after the release of the film and rightfully so. In a cast full of recognizable actors from Kevin Bacon to Bobby Cannavale, she eats up every scene she’s in and keeps the film from ever going stale. And while MaXXXine does give Goth a good supporting cast to work with, Giancarlo Esposito as Maxine’s talent agent that stands out the most. 

Perfectly capturing the vibe of the 80s with its setting, terrific soundtrack, and cast of characters, Ti West makes the most of what we see (and hear) from the screen. And while the plot is a bit disappointing, he keeps MaXXXine relatively tight and gets us in and out within 100 minutes. Whether it’s A24 or somewhere else, Ti West’s slasher trilogy is evidence that he can be given the keys to an even bigger production. My only hope is that whatever he does next he finds another gem like actress Mia Goth, who puts her “X” in the title of this film, capitalized.

RATING: ★★★1/2

(out of five stars)