XX (2017)

More “The Theater Bizarre” than the structured heights of, say, “Creepshow,” this anthology of short horror films sounds more promising than it is. As it is, the film is composed of four separate short films that don’t appear to have been filmed for inclusion here but instead as stand-alones, which means that the overall movie doesn’t have a consistent tone or a clear vision. The first segment, “The Box,” has its moments but doesn’t seem to come together, while the follow-up, “The Birthday Party” likely plays better on its own than in a horror anthology. The final two segments however, “Don’t Fall” and “Her Only Living Son,” are much stronger, with “Don’t Fall” in particular recalling the heights of horror gems like “The Howling,” “Night of the Demons” and “The Hills Have Eyes.” It’s hard to dismiss the overall movie despite its structural woes because there’s some strong material to be found here, but the second segment sticks out like a sore thumb and there should be more unity among the shorts via stronger editing. But as it is, it’s worth a shot.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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