Ladies and gentlemen, the world of horror has a new scream queen. Her name is Mia Goth. With a dozen or so high-profile roles over the last decade, the youthful ingenue is certainly no newcomer to the biz, but her two latest films – Ti West’s X which released earlier this year and now its prequel, Pearl which opens this weekend – are certain to cement the star’s place in horror history.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the world of horror has a new scream queen. Her name is Mia Goth"

In X, Goth delivered a sensational dual-role tour de force performance as two very different women; Maxine, an aspiring young porn actress dreaming of stardom and – via the miracle of heavy prosthetics – as Pearl, an octogenarian who yearns for youthful attention and who didn’t take too kindly to the porn film the youngsters were making at her dilapidated farmhouse. We were left gobsmacked by a closing credit scene which revealed (sort of) that the actress played both roles. In addition to the rich, ‘70s grindhouse stylings West injected into that film, Goth was a large part of why the film worked as well as it did. And, with Pearl, she does it again.

In Pearl, which was shot back to back with X, Goth returns to her portrayal of Pearl, but this time she’s a young woman at the turn of the century who yearns for a life in entertainment – an unfulfilled exuberance that undoubtedly led to her murderous ways later in life. I mean, doesn’t everyone resort to murder when they can’t get what they want?

We see the origin of those yearnings, but as she finds herself stuck on the family’s farm ruled over by a strict German mother (Tandi Wright) and held down by the burden of her invalid father, Pearl’s desire for love, acceptance, and stardom turns into a dangerous – and we mean DANGEROUS – obsession with fulfilling her dreams.

As he did with X, West anchors Pearl with a distinct style that reminds us we aren’t watching a depiction of real life, but rather a visual art form. And that’s what makes a West film so entertaining to watch. With X it was the dirty ‘70s and all its cinematic griminess, while this time around he calls upon the rich, vibrant style of the musicals and melodramas of the ‘50s with sweeping scores, and cursive titles over Disney-inspired versions of a bucolic countryside. Both films are passionate love letters to cinema, but to two unquestionably different brands of cinema.Pearl

If one didn’t know up front what kind of movie Pearl is, the opening 20 minutes might invite thoughts of 1961’s Old Yeller, or even The Wizard of Oz, but boy, would they be wrong. Scattered amongst the technicolor frames of beautifully painted backdrops are nightmarish scenes of sheer terror throughout.

One minute Pearl is milking the cows and feeding the chickens, the next she has pitchforked a duck and feeds it to the family’s pet alligator. And then there's the thing she does with a scarecrow - you just have to see it to believe it. Just a couple of stark reminders that Pearl – and the XCU, for that matter – is not meant for the weak of heart. The blood and gore is about as explicit as its hard R rating allows, yet it concerns itself less with body count and more with exposing the precarious psychology and dual nature of a disturbed mind… but in a visually pleasing manner.

Pearl is a marvelously crafted piece of horror from a brilliant filmmaker that wows viewers with impressive visuals while, at the same time, taking us to the brink with some of the nastiest horror this side of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But the unquestioned grease in the cog that makes the entire thing work is Goth’s commanding performance - she also co-wrote the film! Her Pearl is a captivating mix of innocence, desperation, naïveté, charm, and desperation, traits which Goth often nails in a single scene. Don’t believe me? Stay through the credits which features a lengthy, unbroken take of Goth’s face with no dialogue that will go down as the saddest, most disarming thing you’ve seen this year. It’s an impressive piece of acting and another smart horror film from Ti West.

5/5 stars


Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Lionsgate Films
Available on Blu-ray
- November 15, 2022
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
: English SDH, Spanish
DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy; Digital coupon
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Lionsgate hits up horror fans with a nice little Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Code edition that gives Pearl lovers plenty to be excited about.

Sure, Ti West's beautiful visuals beg for a 4K UHD release, but this will have to do for now. Included inside the blue eco-case are a DVD disc, a blu-ray disc, and a paper coupon to download and/or stream the film. The digital copy must be redeemed via Walmart's Vudu digital locker.

English and Spanish subtitles as well as only an English language DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track are included in the two-disc set.


Lionsgate's 1080p 2.39:1 transfer is a spectacular one. In fact, depending on your home system, it just might rival the theatrical viewing's impact. One need look no further than the opening credit sequence for proof. It sets the tone for what is to come. That barn door opens up to a beautifully rendered Disney-esque scene complete with cursive titles and a soaring score. It is breathtakingly beautiful and sets us up for the eye candy to come.

Colors are bright throughout, and details are eye-catching with every hair, blade of grass, and face wrinkle always sharp and crisp with virtually no flaws.

The film's darker indoor scenes are just as impressive with beautifully-lit, intricately-detailed vintage relics and household items dotting every scene. Eliot Rockett's cinematography plays a huge role in the film, and this beautiful transfer certainly does his work justice.


Taking front and center in our auditory experience is the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix which features the film's sweeping score which practically becomes its own character. West has done a masterful job at immersing the audience in a 360 degree cylinder of sound and this audio mix holds true to his vision. The only thing missing is an Atmos track to bring the upper reaches into play.

But as it is, there isn't much to complain about here.



  • None

Special Features:

Here is where the presentation comes up a bit short. What is there is unquestionably entertaining and informative with regards to quality, but with only two featurettes totaling a little more than 15 minutes or so of bonus material on the disc, there just doesn't seem to be enough to match the film's attention to detail

It feels like we are waiting for a 4K UHD release - perhaps after the story's third installment gets a blu-ray release? A 4K UHD three movie box set... maybe? We can only hope. But for now, two bonus pieces, a theatrical trailer and a "more from A24" piece is all there is, folks.

  • Coming Out of Her Shell: The Creation of Pearl - 11:38
  • Time After Time - 04:01
  • Teaser Trailer
  • More from A24

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars

Film Details


MPAA Rating: R for some strong violence, gore, strong sexual content and graphic nudity.
104 mins
: Ti West
Ti West; Mia Goth
David Corenswet; Mia Goth; Emma Jenkins-Purro
: Horror
Before X, meet Pearl for the first time.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Theatrical Distributor:
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 16, 2022.
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Filmmaker Ti West returns with another chapter from the twisted world of X, in this astonishing follow-up to the year’s most acclaimed horror film. Trapped on her family’s isolated farm, Pearl must tend to her ailing father under the bitter and overbearing watch of her devout mother. Lusting for a glamorous life like she’s seen in the movies, Pearl finds her ambitions, temptations, and repressions all colliding in this stunning, technicolor-inspired origin story of X’s iconic villain.