A24 has made a name for itself with cerebral-yet-terrifying horror movies like Hereditary and The VVitch, but the studio is trying something new with X. Written and directed by Ti West, X tells the story of a group of pornographers in 1979 who rent a farmhouse to shoot their breakout film and wind up in a violent slasher flick. It’s exactly as trashy and pulpy as it sounds.
By all accounts, X is already a hit, outperforming box office expectations and earning rave reviews. A24 may have a new franchise on its hands, and West has already filmed a prequel in secret with sequels plans too. But in the meantime, let’s dig deeper into X’s ending and what it means for future films. Spoilers ahead!
X movie ending explained and spoilers
The first half of X isn’t particularly scary. Our “heroes” (a group of strippers, pornstars, and struggling filmmakers) drive their van to a ranch in the middle of nowhere where they’ve rented a house on a farm owned by an old army veteran and his wife.
On their first day, the group films several scenes for a porno called The Farmer’s Daughter, inadvertently attracting the attention of the older woman, Pearl, who lives on the farm (played in heavy makeup by Mia Goth, who also portrays one of the “actors”). Pearl watches through the barn window while Maxine (also Goth) films an explicit scene.
Later that night, the old woman goes on a murder spree (seemingly due to some sort of brain condition). However, it soon becomes clear that the old married couple is working together. They even have the body of someone else who previously rented their farmhouse hanging in their basement.
In the end, all of the pornographers are murdered except for Maxine, who manages to take out the old woman after her husband has a heart attack. She drives off, presumably alerting the local police who show up the next morning to investigate. They’re stumped until they find the video camera used to film The Farmer’s Daughter. The credits roll, but we know the tape on that camera probably won’t be much help in solving this case.
X movie prequel plans
If you liked X, you’re in luck. A prequel is already in the works. At SXSW, director Ti West revealed that he’s already filmed a secret prequel called Pearl, which will focus on a younger version of the murderous woman also played by Mia Goth while revealing that their farm served as a boarding house during wartime.
“My plan was to write it there and see if I can convince A24 that we should make two movies,” West tells The LA Times.
The script for Pearl was written before X was even filmed, which Goth says helped her understand her character better.
“We didn’t know what was going to happen,” she says. “We thought, at the very least, if nothing comes of it, we’ll write the script and it can serve as a great backstory for Pearl and my grasp on my character.”
Apparently, you can catch a preview of Pearl at the end of X screenings, though I personally left the theater before the credits finished so I can’t confirm that first hand.
Will there be an X movie sequel?
The fate of an X sequel is slightly less assured. By all accounts, A24 is game to turn the movie into a full-blown slasher franchise, and Ti West says he’s already writing the third movie
“I always felt like if you’re going to make a slasher movie, you have to make a bunch of sequels,” he said at SXSW.
It’s unclear what the X sequel will be about since almost everyone in the original movie is dead by the end, but West seems to have at least some vague thematic ideas. While X is inspired by French New Wave cinema and Pearl is “a Technicolor, Mary Poppins kind of movie,” the third installment will take a more modern approach.
“That one will be about how home video has affected people,” West says.
X is in theaters now. There is no known release date for Pearl.