XX – the first all female Horror anthology.
The concept of an all woman horror anthology came to Jovanka Vuckovic and Todd Brown simply because there were none (hence the title XX like the female chromosome) and in response to the lack of opportunity for women filmmakers, particularly in our beloved Horror genre.
Each fragment is around 20 minutes long and they are all strictly written by women, directed by women and starring a woman in the lead. Special praise goes to Sofia Carillo, an award-winning animator, who did the freaky wrap around segments interludes. Fun fact, early in her career she didn't really see her work as Horror until others told her it was.
The setting of her disturbing mini movies is an allegedly haunted house. "We used to go there every day with this holy water," she said, to supplicate any spirits. Did they spy any spectres in the end? "We saw some shadows", she said.
#1 The Box
A mother and her two kids are on the train on their way home from a nice day out in the city, but their life is about to take a sinister turn when her younger son takes a peek in a stranger’s box – why did the boy start acting weird and most importantly, what was in that damn box!?
P.S. I hope you are not on a diet because this segment has some mouth watering scenes.
The opener of the anthology is by Jovanka Vuckovic and is the most gripping out of the four. Jovanka wrote and directed The Box based on the short story by Jack Ketchum and she’s currently working on a feature film adaptation of Clive Barker's Jacqueline Ess – anybody excited?
#2 The Birthday Party
Today is Lucy’s birthday and while she is super excited and getting ready for the party, her mother finds her father dead in the home office. What does a woman have to do to deal with her loving husband's death while making sure her daughter has a fabulous birthday party?
Annie Clark better known as musician St. Vincent is not really into Horror, and her segment shows it since it has more of a dark comedy feel to it and is also based on a true story. The Birthday Party was co-written with Roxanne Benjamin, but it’s all Annie behind the camera as it was her directorial debut and she also composed the music.
Special treat for me was to see Melanie Lynskey in the lead. I know she did a fuck load of other stuff but for me she will forever be Rose from Two And A Half Men, because up until when they killed off Charlie Sheen it was one of the funniest sitcoms ever done and I’m not ashamed to say I still watch the repeats to this day.
#3 Don’t Fall
Four friends go on a hike, and when they discover an ancient mural on their way, things become real weird, real quick… mainly because it is a short so there’s no time to beat it around the bush. This is the goriest of the stories and surprisingly my least favourite – I just think this is the one segment had no much actual story development going for it and it just turned out to be not that interesting.
Roxanne Benjamin has been a die hard Horror fan since she was a child, really surprised her story is the weakest link since she wrote and directed Southbound and produced V/H/S 1 and 2.
#4 Her Only Living Son
Your son turning 18 is for most parents an important milestone because it means you child is an adult and you can legally kick them out of the house, but not for Cora, as Andy is becoming a demon or some shit. How is this mother going to cope with her beloved boy's descent into evilness?
This was done by Karyn Kusama, you might know that name since she previously worked on Æon Flux, Jennifer's Body and especially one of my favourites from last year The Invitation but also 2 episodes of The Man in the High Castle, a series I’m dying to get into.
Fun fact: mailman Chat aka Mike Doyle was also in The Invitation.
All in all, XX is a good Horror collection but it doesn’t particularly stand out, there are much better ones out there, but if not for any other reason, give it a watch to support the very small but equally talented female Horror population!