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Martin Scorsese Praises Ti West’s ‘Pearl’: ‘I Couldn’t Stop Watching’

When your horror movie keeps Scorsese up at night, you know you're doing something right.

"Pearl"

“Pearl”

A24

Pearl,” the second entry in Ti West’s trilogy that began with “X,” was a bold gamble by A24. Shot immediately after “X” wrapped production, the filmmaker and indie distributor made a bet that his slasher film would find enough of an audience to justify a sequel. While it remains unclear if “Pearl” will catch on and reach the same box office heights as the first film, it has already found one major fan: Martin Scorsese.

The Oscar-winning director (and legendary cinephile) was terrified by “Pearl,” so much so that he felt compelled to write about it publicly. In a new review provided to /Film, the “Goodfellas” director heaped praise on West’s “X” prequel, praising its commitment to unapologetically disturbing horror.

“Ti West’s movies have a kind of energy that is so rare these days, powered by a pure, undiluted love for cinema,” Scorsese wrote. “You feel it in every frame. A prequel to ‘X’ made in a diametrically opposite cinematic register (think 50s Scope color melodramas), ‘Pearl’ makes for a wild, mesmerizing, deeply — and I mean deeply — disturbing 102 minutes. West and his muse and creative partner Mia Goth really know how to toy with their audience… before they plunge the knife into our chests and start twisting. I was enthralled, then disturbed, then so unsettled that I had trouble getting to sleep. But I couldn’t stop watching.”

The good news for Scorsese is that he won’t have to wait long to watch another “X” film. The upcoming conclusion to West’s trilogy, “MaXXXine,” is set to follow Goth’s other “X” character, the so-called “last girl” who survived the murders and moves to Los Angeles to pursue a career in porn. While “X” is set in the 1970s and “Pearl” takes place in 1918, “MaXXXine” moves forward into the future, following Maxine during the dawn of the home video boom.

“I’m trying to build a world out of all this, like people do these days,” West told IndieWire’s Eric Kohn in an interview before “X” was released. “You can’t make a slasher movie without a bunch of sequels.”

“Pearl” is now playing in theaters.

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