Where I Watched it: iTunes (VOD)
English Audio Description?: Yes
After using Ti West’s X as a statement on why Paramount Plus needs to take audio description more seriously, I figured I should actually watch one of his films with audio description, so I sprung for Pearl so I could get audio description. I know A24 distributes to Showtime, and they can’t be bothered by blind people, so even though I subscribe to Showtime, and would have access to this film eventually, i paid for it. That’s my life. Just so I can get an accessibility feature.
Pearl is a prequel to X, exploring the character played by Mia Goth (one of them, at least), in an origin tale. Pearl has big dreams, but sadly is clearly unstable, something Mia Goth portrays well. And, just as you would expect from a Ti West film, things go horribly wrong at some point.
I know that some critics have pointed out the differences in style choices West makes between these films, like he’s paying homage to films of a certain era. I felt that less with Pearl than X. Pearl is almost too violent and gory to be representative of the films of the period. The kid of gore described in parts of this film just would not have appeared before, well, the time period X is set in. It would have been more challenging for West to create a very different slow burn, almost like paying homage to Hitchcock. If Pearl had taken roots in something more akin to Night Of The hunter, it might have felt like something from a bygone era. instead, it just feels like a 2022 film that is an origin story. It is interesting to have this story, as we rarely ever get the origin. Michael Myers origin is basically a flashback, as is Freddy Kruger’s. There’s no film that shows Jason’s mom when Jason was alive and well, before he ever went to Camp Crystal lake. We know the killer possessing Chucky, but there isn’t an entire film devoted to him before he jumps into the doll. I think, perhaps because some of those origins stories just aren’t that compelling. Perhaps, taking a look behind the curtain at every great killer doesn’t work.
And that’s a little of how I felt about Pearl. Even though i watched Pearl with audio description, which allowed me a better understanding of the film, I think had i seen X with audio description, it would be the film with the higher grade. unfortuantely, X is almost unwatchable without audio description, so the slasher effect was lost on me. Instead, I get Pearl, which is a nice showcase for Mia goth, but really isn’t my thing.
I’ll be interested to see how West and Goth finish off this trilogy, but oddly enough I haven’t graded either film high enough to recommend them.
Final Grade: C-