MaXXXine Review

Ti West’s MaXXXine concludes his Mia Goth trilogy, but does the film deliver on the promise of the first two entries?

Last Updated on June 27, 2024

PLOT: Years after the harrowing events of X, Maxine Minx (Mia Goth) is working as an adult film star in Los Angeles. Just as she lands a breakthrough part in a horror flick, a demented killer starts murdering the people in her life, and now, to save her life and career, she’ll have to face her past.

REVIEW: Ti West’s MaXXXine is the third instalment of a career-defining trilogy for the director and his star, Mia Goth. The actress received some of the best notices of her career for the last film in the series, Pearl, and her double role in X made her a genre icon. MaXXXine is a star vehicle for her through and through, but while she delivers a good performance again, the film can’t help but pale compared to its somewhat scrappier predecessors.

With MaXXXine, West is working with a bigger budget, with the movie peppered with stars, including everyone from Halsey to Lily Collins to Kevin Bacon and more. The film is a riff on eighties sleaze cinema, with heavy references to everything from 1984’s Angel to Body Double, Vice Squad and beyond. Yet, in constructing a whacked-out eighties fantasia, the horror aspect seems to have gotten lost somewhat. While there’s plenty of gore, the film is better as a nasty riff on the eighties, complete with copious amounts of cocaine and needle drops, than a horror flick.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that West has taken the opportunity to make exactly the film he wanted, overflowing with love aimed at those sleazy VHS movies many of us grew up watching at sleepovers. West has the perfect lead in Goth, with her once again digging her teeth into the role. The movie opens with a quote from Bette Davis, and in some ways, she’s become the horror version of that famous actress, with her delivering the kind of big, broad performance few would dare. With her affected southern bible belt accent, she doesn’t just chew on the scenery – she devours it. What makes Goth so good, though, is how utterly devoted she seems to inhabiting the character, and it’s a shame she’s never gotten the recognition she deserves for her acting in this series.


It can’t be denied that MaXXXine is a little less her show than the other films. West loads the movie with eighties set pieces, and some of the movie nods are laid on a little thick. There’s one very random scene where Kevin Bacon shows up dressed like Jack Nicholson in Chinatown that felt a little too on the nose to me (pun intended if you’ve seen that classic).

Everyone seems to have fun with their roles, with Bacon hamming it up as a sleazy P.I., while Giancarlo Esposito seems to be having a whale of a time as Maxine’s bargain basement agent. Elizabeth Debicki plays Maxine’s icy director, rocking some eighties shoulder pads that make her look like she walked off the set of Dynasty (in a good way). Lily Collins and Halsey have little more than walk-ons, but I enjoyed Bobby Cannavale and Michelle Monaghan as the two hard-boiled L.A cops on Maxine’s trail.

The movie’s biggest star is probably L.A. itself, with West lovingly recreating the way the town looked in that era (on film, anyway). Skid Row and the Hollywood Hills are as much of a star of the movie as Goth is.

So why then didn’t I love it? That’s the strange thing, as I’m a vast eighties nerd and a lot of MaXXXine’s aesthetic works for me. But it also tries to be a little self-conscious about how much of a pastiche of other movies it is, and the nods at eighties excess, such as Maxine’s coke use, feel heavy-handed. And there’s also the fact that despite buckets of gore, the movie is almost too much of a parody to work as a horror film in its own right. This was a line the last two movies could tow a little bit better than this one. They do a good job tying the bad guys here into the Satanic Panic of the era and the actual killings being done by The Night Stalker. Still, the ultimate reveal is predictable, and the finale feels anticlimactic.

All that said, while MaXXXine was more of a mixed bag for me than I thought it would be, I still had a reasonable amount of fun with it. West is nothing if not stylish, while Goth is always captivating in the role. Heck, if they make another movie in the series, I’d still be on board, but it can’t be denied that of the three movies, this one is the weakest of the bunch. 





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About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.