final girl of the year


It’s Halloween🎃!…and as it has become tradition, it’s time to announce MonsterZero NJ’s Final Girl of the Year!…an actress that has not only captured our hearts, but gotten our attention with a strong performance, in the traditional role of horror final girl!…
…and this year, our Final Girl of the Year 2022 is also our bad girl of the year too!…

So, without further ado, our winner for 2022 is…


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Mia Goth plays both final girl and villain with an amazing dual performance in Ti West’s X and again as Pearl in its prequel Pearl!


Mia Goth as Maxine and Pearl in X!


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Mia Goth as Maxine. A pretty young woman with big dreams and stars in her eyes!

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Mia Goth as Pearl, a lonely old woman with dark secrets and darker desires.

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Pearl is also very dangerous!

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…But so is Maxine when provoked!


…and Mia Goth as Pearl in Pearl


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Goth as Pearl. A young woman with big dreams and stars in her eyes!

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Dreams that unfortunately get shattered!

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This brings out the worst in the young country girl!

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And a demented killer is born and so is a stunning performance!

This year was an easy choice as Goth was simply amazing in not one but two roles, in not one but two films! As the tough porn star wannabe Maxine, and the demented product of broken dreams Pearl, she was outstanding. A third film is on the way from Ti West centering on Maxine, and we can’t wait to see it!

-MonsterZero NJ

final girl of the year

(And don’t forget to check out our previous Halloween Hotties by simply going to our Halloween Hotties main page!)




now playing



PEARL (2022)

Prequel to Ti West’s X tells the background story of that film’s horny, homicidal spinster Pearl (Mia Goth). It takes place in 1918 with young Pearl on the farm tending to her ailing father (Matthew Sunderland) while under the strict and watchful eye of her overbearing mother (Tandi Wright), when she’s not sneaking off to the local movie theater. Her husband Howard (Alistair Sewell) is away at war and Pearl sees her dreams of being a dancer fading away. Her frustrations come to a boil when she meets a handsome projectionist (David Corenswet) at the local theater and soon Pearl will do anything to see her dreams come true…even murder.

Pearl is directed by West from a script by he and star Mia Goth and is filmed like one of those old-fashioned technicolor movies of yesteryear about a young girl wanting to be a star…only this one is homicidal. There are some disturbing sequences and some gory violence when things get going. The film is also set during the Influenza epidemic and thus makes plenty of COVID era commentary about masks and paranoia. What holds the film back from being an equal to its predecessor is a very slow pace and long dramatic dialogue sequences between the good parts. It’s a somber and dreary film despite the candy-colored cinematography and it gets tedious in parts till Pearl starts to pursue her dreams with a vengeance and slaughters anyone that gets in the way or makes her angry. These moments do their job, but it’s the in-between melodrama that slows things down and interrupts the more devious tone these scenes have. It doesn’t quite have the sense of naughty fun like X did, though there are some sequences that elicit an uncomfortable giggle like Pearl’s rendezvous with a scarecrow. It’s a decent enough prequel, overall, but not quite the bloody good time X was.

Mia Goth is wonderful as the sweet yet demented Pearl. She lets us know from the very beginning that something is already not right with Pearl. Then she gleefully takes us from girl with stars in her eyes to woman with bloodlust in her heart. She’s like a demented Snow White who has a friendship with all the farm animals, including the local gator. If anything gives this film a pulse and some life, it’s her. Tandi Wright is good as her oppressive, religious German mother Ruth. She is a strong woman whose own dreams where shattered as she now must take care of a sick husband and manage their slowly dying farm. Matthew Sunderland does good work as the very sick and silent father. He communicates much only with his eyes and minimal body language and does it quite well. David Corenswet is solid as the handsome projectionist who sets a fire under Pearl’s dreams and in her married loins. Emma Jenkins-Purro is good as Pearl’s sister-in-law Mitzy and Alistair Sewell appears briefly as Pearl’s soldier husband.

Overall, this prequel had its moments, but despite some disturbing sequences and gory violence, it’s far drearier and more somber than the deviously naughty X. Mia Goth is exceptional as Pearl and the technicolor cinematography makes the carnage quite colorful, but a slow pace and some more tedious sequences between the scenes of mayhem and murder make this flick a lesser prequel to one of the best horror films of the year.

-MonsterZero NJ

  Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) axes.

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