“XX” is a horror anthology which was written and directed exclusively by women. Like with all anthologies, the quality of the segments vary. It actually starts really strong; however, from my point of view, each following short film was worse than the one before – which is always a problem.
“The Box” was a really cool horror/mystery-story with an original and interesting concept. I was especially horrified by how well it portrayed the feeling of complete and utter helplessness that the mother felt. Everyone who already experience a close friend or relative getting sick (which probably is pretty much all of us) should be able to identify. I really felt for her, and found this part of the film to be absolutely harrowing. There were also a couple of nice “food porn”-inserts which reminded me of “Hannibal”. It’s a little predictably, and I wouldn’t have needed the dream sequence. Other than that though it was a really strong short film, and a promising start to this anthology. 8/10
“The Birthday Party” is, in essence, “The Trouble With Harry” (or “Weekend at Bernie’s”) during a child’s birthday party. There were a couple of nice, darkly funny moments, and it’s always fun to watch Melanie Lynsky, but other than that it didn’t really have much to offer. Also, the direction was very clichéd and weak. I could call every (fake and real) jump scare, which also made use of a loud noise (which always makes the director feel helpless, when he/she has to resort to such a cheap trick). Overall, it was ok, but nothing special. 6/10
“Don’t Fall”, in a way, is a mirror image to “The Birthday Party”. Meaning: It’s really well shot, with a couple of nice, tense scenes, and I liked the monster. It’s also brief and to the point. However, the story was rather bland, uninteresting and completely generic. “Evil Dead” in a van. Meh. 5/10
As for “Her Only Living Son”: I’m afraid I won’t become Karyn Kusama’s biggest fan any more, at least not in this life. Granted, with “Aeon Flux”, “Jennifer’s Body” and “The Invitation”, my problems lay rather with the script than her direction, but this time, she provided both, and the result was by far the weakest entry in this anthology. In a nutshell, it’s “Rosemary’s Teenager”. Very predictable, clichéd, and far too long. I was already bored after five minutes, but still, it went on and on and on. Blah. 3/10
Overall, it’s ok, but frankly, I’d recommend to watch “The Box” on its own, and to skip the rest.