X (Blu-ray Review)

Ever since I caught House of the Devil and it greatly impressed me and refreshed my love of horror, Ti West has had somewhat of a lifetime pass for me from that. And thus, I’ve generally enjoyed pretty much every original film he’s put out when he’s able to cut one. X was his latest, and it really had a terrific trailer and wound up managing to garner lots of curiosity and actually deliver on it. Lionsgate has forgone a 4K release on X, which is a shame. But, it is an A24 title, so perhaps like Midsommar before it, we’ll see a more deluxe limited edition for the film later on in the year for the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format (And maybe the Pearl trailer will be back, too?). But for now, you can secure yourself a copy of X, which was released on May 24th, by utilizing the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review at the bottom.



A group of actors set out to make an adult film in rural Texas under the noses of their reclusive hosts — an elderly couple with a farm and boarding house for rent. But when the couple catches their young guests in the act, the cast finds themselves in a desperate fight for their lives in this tantalizing slasher from writer-director Ti West.

Ti West certainly digs into a look and a feeling with X, giving off that hot 16mm-esque film quality of a 1970s horror movie or that of a cheap porn. He handles it quite well and things are made very effectively, melding with some modern technique and sensibilities for maximum effectiveness. If anything, this is one of his leanest films but also maybe one with the most depth and layering that he may have done up to this point.

Before all of the “horror stuff” and weirdness takes over X, West spends time with his film crew cast of characters. First, he sets them up as some sort of fun bunch of charicatures and the like, only to turn the tables when things get serious. Its almost as if we get to be in the seat/perspective of the director character in the film as West turns things around and humanizes these folks and really takes to questioning the audience and society as a whole while standing up for workers in the sexual entertainment field. Its some of the best stuff in the movie, that you get to watch a slaughter afterwards is merely a bonus. Kid Cudi and Brittany Snow doing “Landslide” followed by a solid conversation and big “dilemma” sequence are what truly is going to stick with you and have you talking much longer afterward.

Now, not that the horror is some sort of let down. Not at at all. Its a lot of fun. There are some fun, suspenseful payoffs throughout. Scenes that’ll have you chilling and squeamishly sitting in your seat. There are also amazing and super clever edits to be found in the movie. There was one moment I almost stood up in applause for when I saw it in the theater I was so impressed with it. Its a film of two different halves, but both delivering a nice sort of balance of set ups, payoffs, characters and carnage.

X may be Ti West’s most well put together film. And who knows where his planned avenues to take this world beyond this film may lie. This film has a surprising amount of care given to the characters and a lot to say to the audience. It also plays with them, spooks them and grosses them out in ways beyond just your typical hack n’ slash. X winds up a pretty fun all-encompassing trip to the movies for horror, drama, comedy and suspense.


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.90:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail:arrives on standard Blu-ray about impressive as a transfer as they come. Of course its a picture mocked up to evoke a different era, but it manages to do that AND provide some great clarity, sharpness and detail about. One of the surprising things on home video was how radiant and bursting the color was for the film. Any of the day time scenes really come across gorgeous with strong saturation and performance. It also has some strong depth to really showcase how good the cinematography was for this small film. While we always want a 4K, this standard Blu-ray shouldn’t disappoint.

Depth:  The film has some rock solid depth of field to it with some rather impressive scale for a small production as well as great spacing and pushback in any given interior or exterior environment. Movements are natural and smooth with no issues coming in rapid action forming a blur or jitter.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and close to natural. There’s some really dark scenes here but this manages to give more a tone than hide any sort of information or cheapness of the film. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty striking and pop out really well. You’d think the movie wouldn’t have that quality but it is quite colorful. Brittany Snow’s red dress is a standout, but all of the clothing and even “normal” browns and the like are bold and really lift off and give the screen some fun character.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features like freckles, stubble, wrinkles, scuffs, bruises, dried blood, sweat, make-up and more come through quite cleanly even though the film is filtered and timed to look like it has some type of period authenticity to the media.

Noise/Artifacts: None


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: X proves to make the most out of its 5 channel experience. Cleverly playing with volumes, ambiance and sound placement, the films audio track knows how to be playful, build dread and cause a great jolt. Its a wonderfully balanced mix and the music and score throughout sound pretty beautiful. There’s plenty of depth and layering here to give a nice heightened reality feel to the carnage on screen or make you feel like you’re out in the boonies on a quiet afternoon.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer gives a good pounding for things like shotgun blasts, engines humming, crashing, impalements, punches and more. There are great hits with musical stings as well.

Surround Sound Presentation: All the channels are used quite expertly, building ambiance, remembering where things are off screen and crafter effective and impactful travel across the room.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


X comes with the DVD edition and a redeemable digital code.

The X Factor (HD, 11:37) – A rather brief making of featurette that includes pretty much all the cast with Ti West praising one another and giving their quick thoughts on the project and excitement for being there.

“The Farmer’s Daughters” Extended Scene (HD, 4:56) – This is the scenes of the film within a film put together without interruption.

Pearl Makeup Time Lapse (HD, 1:33) – Has a voiceover from Mia Goth talking about the process.


X is another fine fun exercise of Ti West exploring different horror genres with his own little spin on it. I wish Lionsgate would have put the film out on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray, but this standard Blu-ray has a pretty top tier audio and video presentation. Extras are a little light, but its kinda in that “better than nothing” mold considering the times we live in. Pick up this one on the strength of the film alone, though you may want to wait for the inevitable discount a couple months down the road or a potential 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray version if that somehow comes to fruition (There is a German 4K coming in September that you can import).

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

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