‘XX’ is a horror omnibus film with a tagline that goes ‘four deadly tales directed by four killer women’. Women film makers Roxanne Benjamin, Annie Clark, Karyn Kusama and Jovanka Vuckovi, direct four films entitled ‘Don’t Fall’, ‘The Birthday Party’, ‘Her Only Living Son’ and ‘The Box’ respectively, while Sofia Carrilo frames the anthology in stop motion animated segments.
Of the four shorts, Jovanka Vuckovi and her film clearly emerges the winner, and in a creepy segment that depicts a tragedy that befalls a family, sets the terror tone for the ones to follow. A lack of appetite has perhaps never been tethered to something as disparate as horror, but Jovanka finishes off her brilliant film, with Susan, her protagonist and the viewers frantically searching for answers.
Thereon, its a steady decline for ‘XX’ and while ‘The Birthday Party’ just about makes do with an almost comical take on an unfortunate incident, ‘Don’t Fall’ unearths the thriller chestnuts from somewhere deep below. And it is with Karyn Kusama and her film, that things finally start looking up again.
Karyn’s film, that talks of a mother and a son who she suspects has evolved into a monster, remains terse throughout and stringently strides towards a befitting climax. Deftly acted and expressively narrated, ‘Her Only Living Son’ settles the final score at two out of four. The stop motion animation that knots together these four pieces lends a macabre air to the omnibus film.
Verdict: Mixed Bag