Martin Scorsese: A24’s ‘Pearl’ Is So ‘Deeply Disturbing’ That I Had Trouble Falling Asleep Afterward

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Martin Scorsese got a little too scared by Ti West’s “Pearl,” the A24-backed “X” prequel featuring a gung-ho Mia Goth performance. In a review sent to A24 and published by /Film, Scorsese called “Pearl” a “deeply disturbing” horror movie that is “mesmerizing” and “wild.” West and Goth co-wrote the prequel, which world premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

“Ti West’s movies have a kind of energy that is so rare these days, powered by a pure, undiluted love for cinema,” Scorsese said. “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.”

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Scorsese added, “I was enthralled, then disturbed, then so unsettled that I had trouble getting to sleep. But I couldn’t stop watching.”

“Pearl” grossed just over $3 million in its opening weekend. Goth stars as the eponymous young woman living on a remote farm in the early part of the 1900s. Pearl dreams of being a movie star, and she goes to bloody lengths to ensure that dream becomes a reality. David Corenswet, Tandi Wright and Matthew Sunderland co-star.

Variety film critic Peter Debruge wrote in his review of “Pearl” out of Venice: “‘Pearl’ is the prequel no one asked for to a movie not many people saw. And yet, despite being something of an afterthought, its distinctive look and oddly appealing antihero (picture Norman Bates as Shelley Duvall might have played him) could actually make this the more popular of the two films.”

A24 recently announced that West and Goth will finish their horror trilogy with the 1980s-set “MaXXXine,” staring Goth as her surviving “X” character. “Pearl” is now playing in theaters nationwide.

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