‘XX’: Does Female-Lead Anthology Find Its Way Into The Horror Elite?


With Magnet Releasing’s ‘XX’ now in theaters, we’re taking a look at the female helmed anthology. Is it worth the effort?

The following review of ‘XX’ contains minor spoilers. You’ll be fine to check out the review before seeing the film. Enjoy.

‘XX’ One Sheet – Courtesy of Magnet Pictures


Anthologies are like dessert to us horror fans — we rarely get them but devour each movie morsels. Whether it’s Romero’s Creepshow, or Michael Dougherty‘s masterpiece, Trick r’ Treat, anthologies are cherished in our genre.

Now, we have XX. Coming right in the middle “Women in Horror” month, XX contains four separate horror stories strictly by female minds. Well I’m here to say, scary and unpredictable, XX is a pure jolt of adrenaline.

So let’s all turn down the lights, play Kool and The Gang’s “Ladies Night”, and honor these females of fear as I review the 2017 horror anthology, Magnet Releasing’s XX.


Jovanka Vuckovic‘s The Box:

Natalie Brown as Susan Jacobs in ‘The Box’ – Courtesy of Magnet Releasing

Starting out the batch of terror tales is The Box. Starring Natalie Brown and Jonathan WattonThe Box is first, and yet sadly, the worst of the bunch. While decently directed, and rightly takes its time with the narrative, The Box  is an empty experience due to a horrible script.

Sure, the performances are decent, but The Box doesn’t connect enough dots for the audience to enjoy the ride. What does it mean? Why do characters react the way they do? Why is it happening and what are the rules? These answers are never answered here. Which is sad, because the real travesty here is mostly the unused potential. (C)

St. Vincent (Anne Clark)’s The Birthday Cake:

Melanie Lynskey as Mary in ‘The Birthday Party’ – Courtesy of Magnet Releasing

Then we move onto the dementedly delicious The Birthday Cake. Picking up The Box’s missed momentum, XX’s second story is a quick, and well directed, piece of entertainment from St. Vincent.

After she finds her husband dead on the day of her daughter’s birthday, Mary must try to conceal the situation until day’s end. Problem is, there’re kids on the way and she only has a bear costume at her disposal — What ensues is pure magic.

While The Birthday Cake is solid throughout, the segment really shines during the montage when the do kids arrive. It’s here where I knew director St. Vincent, who’s billed as Anne Clark, has a real future in filmmaking. (A-)

Roxanne Benjamin‘s Don’t Fall:

Roxanne Benjamin’s ‘Don’t Fall’ – Courtesy of Magnet Releasing

Then XX rolls onto its finest segment, Don’t Fall. While honoring Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes, Writer/Director Roxanne Benjamin’s tale of camper carnage is by far the most effective and scariest of the lot.

After four friends go camping, one is possessed by a mysterious creature, transforming them into a hideous beast. While other survivors must fight to survive the beast gets closer. The beast is mad. The beast is hungry. Will they have any luck?

The best part of Don’t Fall is its quick pacing and unrelenting brutality. While expertly directing, Benjamin knows how much time she has and doesn’t fill it will unneeded exposition or unnecessary dialog. Before you know it, the campers are getting picked off, and before you know it again, the covers are over your face. (A)

Karyn Kusama‘s Her Only Living Son:

Christina Kirk as Cora in ‘Her Only Living Son’ – Courtesy of Magnet Releasing

Lastly, we have Her Only Living Son. While not the best segment by far, XX’s final entry is far from the worst. When her teenage boy becomes increasingly violent, a mother begins worrying her son may not be of this world. But are her concerns warned or is it all a dream?

For the most part, Her Only Living Son is a damn fine short horror film. The segment gets the longest screen time and uses it wisely. While wasting no time, Her Only Living Son is basically a newer, and wholly different, version of 1976’s The Omen – and a great one at that. I highly enjoyed the “Damian” type story here.

Ultimately, my only complaint is the ending. I won’t go into it much, as to not ruin the fright, but the ending is a huge letdown. While the ending does make sense, it’s highly stupid and causes what came before it to cheapen. Which is sad, because Her Only Living Son is great otherwise. (-A)


Magnet Releasing’s XX is one of the better anthologies the genre has seen in years. While not in the ranks of the true elite, the female-driven film is a fine addition to the sub-genre. With The Box being the only true dud, and a well directed one at that, XX is well worth the time and money. So don’t think twice and see it today.

XX is currently playing in select theaters and VOD platforms everywhere, courtesy of Magnet Releasing.


Next: ‘XX’: Two Clips To Get You Excited For February’s Horror Event

Seen ‘XX’? Thinking the anthology is a cut above the rest? Let the other Horror Heads know what you think in the comment section below.