The XX release date has been set, and the first trailer has been unleashed. What makes this film different from the myriad of horror series prior is that it’s being directed by four women. There are no men in control of this one.
There has been an influx of female-centric films ever since Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence posted an open letter on Twitter revealing a wage gap and gender inequality as the norm in Hollywood. Since then we’ve had such polarizing films as Mad Max: Fury Road (Charlize Theron was the lead as opposed to the titular character), Ghostbusters (all women this time), and the Box Office flop All We Had (Katie Holmes starred and directed).
Even Star Wars has been affected by the influx of female leads as Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) took the lead from a long line of male Jedi and Sith Lords.
The horror genre has no shortage of female leads, of course. The hero in nearly every popular horror franchise in history has mostly always been a female. A Nightmare on Elm Street had Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) as its recurring hero, as well as others she helped along the way. The original Friday the 13th actually had Jason Voorhees’ mother as the killer, and a female hero for every installment. Alien and its continuing franchise started out with Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) as the main hero.
Few horror films up to this point have had female directors, though.
The XX film is expected to become a series with four women calling the shots. No, this isn’t that Vin Diesel series where he pretends to be an extreme sports legend, although some fans might consider xXx a horror franchise for its popcorn-level acting.
According to Movie Web, XX features the efforts of Jovanka Vuckovic, Annie Clark, Karyn Kusama, and Roxanne Benjamin.
Jovanka Vuckovic is an award-winning writer who has been acclaimed for her work on visual effects. She ranks with Mary Shelley (Frankenstein) as one of the top ten most influential women in horror.
Annie Clark isn’t so well-known for horror, with greater roots in music for family films like Pete’s Dragon and cameos in the comedy series Portlandia. Horror often uses comedy to cut the tension, so she may be involved in that to a degree.
Karyn Kusama has some roots in directing the horror genre, such as the Megan Fox film, Jennifer’s Body, and the acclaimed indie thriller, The Invitation. She was also behind the Charlize Theron live-action anime adaptation Aeon Flux, one of many films slammed by the anime community.
Roxanne Benjamin has further roots in directing horror, with the V/H/S series and the Southbound anthology.
Each of them will direct a portion of XX, so it will be interesting to see how they handle this unusual cinematic project. The film will be set for a February 17 release; a release window with a bad habit of films which don’t get far. So far, one of the biggest exceptions is the Ryan Reynolds surprise hit Deadpool, which set the benchmark for all superhero films released in 2016.
XX will be up against Mark Wahlberg’s monster film, The Great Wall, the horror thriller, A Cure for Wellness, Sony’s Patient Zero, and the Ice Cube comedy, Fist Fight.
If successful, XX could follow Deadpool‘s example of setting the benchmark for all female-directed horror films to come.
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[Featured Image by Magnolia Pictures and Magnet Releasing]