Boasting a 93% Rotten Tomatoes score, the movie features one of the best lead performances in recent years
With Halloween right around the corner, now is the time of the year when movie fans are more likely to be seeking out horrors to binge watch to help get in the spooky spirit.
If that applies to you, you are in luck as two of 2023’s best scary films so far are now available to stream in the UK and Ireland via NOW Cinema and Sky Cinema.
The first of these is the slasher Sick – which JOE spotlighted in a separate article right here – while the second is also a slasher titled Pearl.
Released in the UK in March of this year, Pearl centres around the title character (played by co-writer Mia Goth), a young woman living in Texas in the 1918 who dreams of becoming a star.
This is much to the chagrin of her bitter and overbearing mother (Tandi Wright), who expects Pearl to stay on their isolated family farm and tend to her ailing father (Matthew Sunderland).
Already on the brink of madness, Pearl finds some joy in her connection to a young cinema projectionist working in the city (David Corenswet, soon-to-be Superman).
However, her claustrophobic living situation and the pressure to achieve her dreams wind up transforming Pearl into a terrifying villain.
Co-written and directed by cult horror icon Ti West – and serving as a stand-alone prequel to his 2022 hit slasher X – Pearl was also major success, earning 10 times its budget at the box office and rave reviews.
One element singled out for praise was West’s filmmaking, with the horror flick made to at first resemble classic Hollywood movies like The Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins, before its tone gradually curdles over the course of its runtime into something way more disturbing.
Goth’s central turn as the troubled lead character also earned plenty of plaudits for how she manages to alternate between being funny, terrifying and sympathetic – sometimes all in one scene.
In fact, some commenters even said that the actress should have nabbed an Oscar nomination for her performance.
Sitting on a 93% Rotten Tomatoes score, here is a sample of the positive write-ups for Pearl:
AV Club: “With Pearl, writer-director Ti West both embraces and elevates what horror movies can do, in a way that further solidifies his standing as one of the best things to ever happen to the genre.”
Chicago Reader: “West and Goth created an inventive, unique slasher genre, and a movie worth rewatching several times.”
Empire: “An American gothic shocker with a lot to say — and an awards-worthy lead performance from Mia Goth.”
The Independent (UK): “Pearl’s torment is believable largely because Goth single-handedly wills it to be. Her commitment to every choked cry for attention, to every glassy-eyed departure from reality, is unimpeachable.”
Los Angeles Times: “West, one of the genre’s true artisans of sticky dread, certainly has fun seeding a handsomely mounted and shot (by Eliot Rockett) period melodrama with the trappings of imminent violence.”
The Observer (UK): “Goth is riotously entertaining throughout, but two specific scenes, in both of which the camera rests solely on her face for an extended shot, capture the full force of her unnerving talent.”
With a third movie in the horror franchise set for release next year, now is the time to catch up on Pearl – which is available to watch at home right now with a NOW Cinema Membership or on Sky Cinema.