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Ranking Ti West Movies After MaXXXine

Poster for MaXXXine

Ti West’s latest feature, MaXXXine, has recently been released in theaters, concluding his modern horror trilogy starring Mia Goth. In MaXXXine, Goth reprises her role as Maxine Minx from 2022’s X, transitioning the setting from the 70s farmland to the decadence of 80s Los Angeles. Still chasing her acting dream, Maxine is once again confronted by sinister forces on her path to stardom. To celebrate the occasion, we are ranking all 10 of Ti West’s movies to date.

Since his feature debut in 2005, Ti West has had a remarkable journey. With his 2009 breakthrough, The House of the Devil, he emerged as a notable figure among a new generation of horror directors. Since then, he has worked on various horror projects for both big and small screens, including directing episodes of The Exorcist and Scream television series. However, it is his trilogy of X, Pearl, and MaXXXine that has brought him broader acclaim beyond niche horror circles.

For this ranking, we will focus solely on his ten feature films, excluding shorts and segments in anthology films like V/H/S and The ABCs of Death. So, how does MaXXXine stack up? Let’s find out.

Ti West’s sophomore feature film, Trigger Man (2007), is arguably his weakest. The film tells the story of three hunters who become the hunted on an otherwise typical outdoor excursion. Made on a shoestring budget, it lacks the finesse that would come to define West’s later work.

In The Sacrament (2013), West explores a Jonestown-esque cult through a sort-of found footage lens, adding a touch of realism with a Vice connection. Gene Jones delivers a mesmerizing performance as the cult leader, but the film suffers from predictability due to its loose basis on real-life events.

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009) was a follow-up to Eli Roth’s body horror about a skin-melting virus. While navigating the action from the backwoods to a senior prom, the film blends high-school sex comedy with gross-out horror, resulting in mixed reactions. The film’s characters are particularly unlikable, making the lead-up to their gruesome ends feel more grueling than enjoyable.

Ti West’s debut film, The Roost (2005), features a group of friends who encounter bloodthirsty vampire bats and zombies on a farm. This rough and ready throwback showcases West’s future style, serving as a simple, effective homage to direct-to-video horror.

A departure from his usual genre, In a Valley of Violence (2016) is an unapologetic Western starring Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, Taissa Farmiga, and Karen Gillan. Drifter Paul (Hawke) arrives in a small, dying town, leading to a gripping setup reminiscent of John Wick, but with more substance and a methodical pace.

MaXXXine (2024), although considered the weakest of the X trilogy, brings interesting elements to the table as it wraps up the saga of Maxine Minx. By echoing the era and previous films, it explores differing attitudes towards similar choices across different periods, set against a scuzzy 80s backdrop that blends homage and parody.

The Innkeepers (2011) is a quietly effective ghost story centered on two employees at a dying hotel. It’s a tragedy that mourns the loss of heritage and history as much as the loss of people, offering a melancholic and mundane narrative.

X (2022) sets a high bar for West’s slasher trilogy with an unconventional villain and a 70s vibe. The film follows a grimy procession of sex and death, finding horror in regret, the passage of time, and plenty of splattery gore. Mia Goth’s performance sets the stage for her rise to horror stardom.

The House of the Devil (2009), in contrast to West’s other 2009 film Cabin Fever 2, highlights his adeptness with a methodical 80s throwback. This babysitter-in-peril story is embellished with notable performances from the mumblecore/mumblegore pack, including a memorable role for Barbie director Greta Gerwig.

Pearl (2022) serves as both a sequel and prequel to X, delving into the early life of the murderous OAP Pearl. This film elevates its predecessor by weaving themes of desperation and societal judgment through a historical cinematic lens. Mia Goth delivers her best performance of the trilogy, portraying Pearl with a mesmerizing blend of comedy, tragedy, and malice.