XX is a horror anthology film directed by Roxanne Benjamin, Sofia Carrillo, Karyn Kusama, St. Vincent and Jovanka Vuckovic.
The anthology is separated by segments of stop-motion animation of a walking dollhouse, which was directed by Sofia Carrillo.
Susan is riding on a train with her two children: Danny and Jenny. Seated next to Danny is an old man with a large red box; the old man describes it as “a present”. Danny asks to see what’s inside, to which the man obliges. After peering inside the box, Danny refuses to eat any food given to him. After a doctor’s visit, it’s clear he’s lost a significant amount of weight. But, still he refuses to eat. Jenny is worried about her brother so she goes to talk to him. During their talk we see Danny whisper something to her and after that, she too stops eating.
After a while, the father can’t take it. Susan and her husband argue about her continuing to eat while their children are starving. He goes to talk to his children and we see Danny whispering in his ear. Susan’s husband stops eating too. Come Christmas, Susan’s family are skin and bone although they don’t seem to care. By the end, Susan is the last one left. It’s revealed in a voiceover that her entire family died of starvation and she now wanders on the trains, searching for the man with the large red box. Wondering what it possibly could contain…
Now, spoiler alert, I love this one. Hands down this is the best of them all right here. It’s creepy, intriguing and mysterious. The only downside for me is, what happened next?!
The Birthday Party or, The Memory Lucy Suppressed From Her Seventh Birthday That Wasn’t Really Her Mom’s Fault (Even Though Her Therapist Says It’s Probably Why She Fears Intimacy).
It’s Lucy’s birthday and Mary is desperately trying to hold a party for it. Unfortunately the day starts off terribly when she discovers her husband David came home late last night but didn’t come to bed. Oh also he’s dead in his home office and the party is starting very soon. Mary is not alone however as she has a live-in Nanny named Carla. She manages to conceal his body with her in a cupboard. Then after a near-miss with a neighbour she answers the door to a man in a panda costume. She comes up with the brilliant idea of buying the costume from him and stuffing her husband’s corpse inside it.
With David ready for the party, at the head of the table, the party begins. Mary’s day doesn’t get any better as Carla knocks into the panda costume. The panda’s head flies off as David’s corpse flops into the cake to the sound of screaming children.
This story isn’t bad. No doubt it’s unpredictable but it’s pretty silly. Mary clearly should have called the police, or at least shoved his body in the cupboard until the party ended…
Four friends (who definitely look so much younger in the daylight and then suddenly age 10 years when it becomes night time) are travelling together and decide to take a hike in the desert. After discovering some cautionary cave paintings it’s revealed that this area has been off limits for a long time, until now. They camp out for the night when suddenly one of the girls is attacked and dragged away. After being discovered crouched by a tree, we see that she is completely unrecognizable. Possessed or perhaps altogether replaced by another being, she hounds the other three and attacks. Following the ferocious onslaught, our final survivor is left wounded. Her last sight is the unholy beast leaping off a cliff, coming in for the kill.
A shorter but nonetheless compelling tale with a truly terrifying monster. Lesson 1 of hiking: Avoid areas with creepy hand painted warning signs.
Her Only Living Son
Andy is about to turn 18 and is a rebellious teen, as anyone is at that age. But Cora is about to discover that her son’s behaviour is anything but normal. Cora and Andy are called into the principal’s office regarding an incident in which Andy tore off classmates’ fingernails. Unusually it’s the victim that is suspended and Andy gets off with a simple warning. Cora has a discussion with her mailman and we learn that the single family has been running from town to town escaping Andy’s “celebrity” father.
Acting on her suspicions that something isn’t right with her son, Cora attempts to search his room but is interrupted. Not before finding a box full of bloody fingernails. The secret is out once Andy returns home and discovers his mother cowering in his closet. In the kitchen he forces her to crawl towards him and see sees his toenails have become claws. Quickly she embraces him and we realize that his dad truly is famous for Andy is the spawn of Satan himself. Attempting to hold onto her innocent and not let him be defined by his birth they hold each other. The embrace is so tight that they crush each other’s ribs, killing each other.
This one is my least favourite. I found the ending really unsatisfying and it just didn’t appeal to me. The build-up was good and I certainly couldn’t have guessed he’d be the son of the devil but even simply saying that sounds funny to me.
Overall, I think this horror anthology is probably the best I’ve watched so far. That’s not saying a whole lot as most are terrible. It’s pretty strong though and has only a few negatives. My favourite is undeniably The Box, because I understand any answer they could give me for a proper ending would most likely be inadequate and what they have given me is worthy of the creeps for days.