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12 Most Disturbing Moments From X Ranked

Pearl (Mia Goth), the villain from "X," may be elderly, but with her age also comes experience — experience at killing, that is. Murder is an art that can take decades to perfect, and as viewers learn in "Pearl," the prequel movie about this creepy character's origin story, she has gotten plenty of practice.

This 2022 horror movie follows sex worker Maxine (also played by Mia Goth) as she and her colleagues rent out a Texan farmhouse, hoping to film a pornographic film right under the owners' noses. However, the landlord Howard (Stephen Ure) and his wife Pearl have other plans, and these plans will permanently disrupt the shooting schedule.

Although the film's title is a reference to X-rated movies, "X" actually manages to maintain a respectable R rating. That's not to say the movie goes easy on the graphic sex and gruesome violence; "X" has plenty of both to offer. In particular, there is no shortage of horrifying scenes. Ranging from the mildly frightening to the deeply unsettling, here are the 12 most disturbing moments from "X," ranked.

12. Lorraine's sudden death

Depending on how you respond to horror movies, the death of Lorraine (Jenna Ortega) may come off as unexpected, frustrating, or laughable. "Disturbing" is probably not the first word that would come to mind. It happens too quickly for audiences to fully register, and some horror fans may argue that she had it coming. When Lorraine panics and shouts the top of her lungs, despite Maxine's insistence that she keep quiet, it should come as no surprise that Lorraine alerts Pearl and Howard to her whereabouts. Viewers may be too busy gnashing their teeth at Lorraine's stupidity to really feel scared. However, this moment from "X" is definitely worth mentioning because it boasts a highly effective jumpscare.

While anybody would have guessed that Lorraine was slated to die, it's the "how" that's surprising. Viewers are so worried that Lorraine's screaming might allow the killers to find her that they never suspect that Pearl and Howard are already waiting outside, ready to ambush Lorraine. (It's actually a pretty smart move on their part. Since Pearl and Howard have frail bodies and can't keep up with the younger kids, the best approach is for them to hole up in the one place they know for certain Lorriane will go: the nearest exit.)

So credit where credit is due; Lorraine's death is most certainly shocking. We doubt many horror fans could have foreseen this moment.

11. Maxine hiding under the bed

Watching two elderly characters copulate is undoubtedly uncomfortable, but this scene from "X" tips to creepy with the reveal that Maxine is just inches away from these two killers. Maxine cowering under the bed while Pearl and Howard have sex is more suspenseful than outright disturbing, but it's still harrowing enough to earn a spot on this list.

Before climbing into bed, Pearl and her husband talk casually about how they killed Maxine's friends, and they speak with the indifference of killers who have murdered more victims than they can count. It's especially frightening for Maxine because she knows Pearl is hunting for her in particular; the woman's dialogue suggests she has something special planned for Maxine. In a nice touch, the film shows the flimsy mattress sagging and bouncing underneath the couple, making it even more difficult for Maxine to slip away.

Still, the scene is ultimately not too frightening because Maxine actually has a pretty solid escape plan. Creeping away while Howard and Pearl are having sex is an excellent idea. It's unlikely either of them will pay any attention to their surroundings while they're in the throes of ecstasy. As a bonus, Maxine has just overheard Howard admit that his heart's in a weak condition, so if it doesn't give out from the strain of passionate sex, then it just might give out from the shock of finding a girl hiding beneath his bed.

10. Jackson with Howard in the swamp

Another creepy moment is the uneasy sequence where Jackson (Kid Cudi) follows Howard into the dark swamp. Although the dialogue between them is pregnant with menace, viewers can never be quite sure what to make of Howard. The movie keeps us guessing. The first time we see him after the killings start, he just seems like a confused old man looking for his wife. Yet the fact that he's carrying a shotgun does seem a wee bit suspicious. Even then, however, some folks in the audience might just assume that he knows his wife is prone to erratic behavior and is trying to stop her from hurting herself or others. Howard's offer to give Jackson his only flashlight (classic reverse psychology) might throw viewers off the scent for a little while. But alarm bells will definitely start ringing whenever viewers see that Howard planted this same flashlight in a patch of reeds to lure Jackson off the path.

Of course, it's a little surprising that the alarm bells aren't ringing for Jackson, too, after he spots the car half-submerged in the swamp. Doesn't he know that's a classic way for a killer to dispose of the evidence, dating all the way back to Norman Bates? For that matter, doesn't he know that splitting up is a death wish if you're in a horror movie? For this reason, viewers might feel a little removed from the terror of this moment because they will likely be frustrated by Jackson's carelessness.

9. The crime scene

During the flash-forward scene at the beginning of the movie, audiences glimpse bodies scattered throughout the house and a whole lot of blood. Meanwhile, on a grainy TV set, a televangelist (Simon Prast) gives a fire-and-brimstone sermon about sin, unaware of the violent sins committed right in this farmhouse. The bodies aren't shown on-screen, so viewers have no way of knowing who died and who lived and if anybody survived the massacre at all. This moment is simultaneously compelling and disturbing for horror fans, who will be dying to know what happened. They will be unable to tear their eyes away like they're watching a car wreck — and not a "foxy car wreck," like Bobby-Lynne (Brittany Snow) describes later in the movie.

The film bookends the opening scene by returning to the crime scene at the end. You'd think all the suspense would be gone, now that the audience knows what happened. However, the movie manages to sneak in one last jolt of fear. The TV is still broadcasting the televangelist, but we discover something chilling this time. He announces that his daughter was lured astray by "perverts," and that daughter is none other than Maxine. Knowing that Maxine's father was a preacher explains a lot about her motivations. And the fact that, by some eerie coincidence, he appears on Pearl's TV, repeating the same mantra that Maxine chants while pointing a gun at Pearl, will likely send a shiver down viewers' spines.

8. Howard blocking Lorraine's escape

There's no doubt about it: The scene where Lorraine finds a body in the basement is disturbing. However, we'd be remiss not to mention another scene with Lorraine that is almost as intense. Thanks to the corpse that shares the basement with Lorraine, she is the only one of the main characters who know the full weight of her situation before she gets killed. So dread hangs over all the scenes in the basement, including Lorraine's failed escape attempt.

Lorraine knows what lies in store for her, and she is hell-bent on getting out of that basement. Whenever Lorraine starts taking an ax to the basement door, Howard retaliates by taking an ax to her fingers. The most unsettling part is what Howard does afterward: He turns on the TV to tune her out as if he's simply been chopping vegetables in the kitchen.

Perhaps the filmmakers were trying to give a tip of the hat to a horror classic. This scene resembles the iconic moment from "The Shining" where Jack hacks his way through a door, though the roles are reversed here. This time, the heroine breaks through the door, and the killer is waiting on the other side.

7. Pearl in Maxine's bed

Just as the face-huggers from "Alien" tap into the all-too-real fear of being sexually violated, a particular scene from "X" also explores the uncomfortable fear of having somebody watch you or try to assault you while you're sleeping. In this case, Pearl climbs naked into bed next to the oblivious heroine. Maxine may be blissfully unaware, but folks in the audience can see Pearl looming over Maxine in the background. She extends a bloody hand toward Maxine, before shedding her nightgown and crawling under the covers. The age difference between them only adds to the creep factor.

This moment would give anyone the heebie-jeebies — or at least make them want to scrub themselves clean, as Maxine does. We're not placing it higher on this list because the threat of imminent violence doesn't loom quite as large as in other parts of the movie. If Pearl had wanted Maxine dead, then the heroine would have been bleeding out onto the mattress already. Viewers will probably get the sense that Pearl intends to keep Maxine alive for now, if only to satisfy her sexual urges. So we know that Maxine might at least have a chance at escaping. (It certainly doesn't hurt that Maxine is implied to be the main character, and we know that the movie still has almost 30 minutes of runtime left.)

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

6. Bobby-Lynne getting fed to the croc

By the time horror fans watch the scene where Bobby-Lynne stands on the pier with Pearl, they will know exactly what Pearl is capable of doing to her victims. They will feel an overwhelming dread, anticipating the violent death that is inevitably coming. The movie certainly delivers on that front.

The balance of power swings dramatically over the course of this scene. At first, it seems like Bobby-Lynne might have the upper hand. After all, she's facing off against a frail and naked old lady. And since Pearl is not wearing a stitch, she is clearly not concealing a weapon. She lacks the same advantage that made it so easy for her and her husband to kill RJ (Owen Campbell) and Jackson. However, the element of surprise can be pretty lethal indeed, as this disturbing scene shows.

Although Bobby-Lynne assumes Pearl is helpless, the old woman has absolute control. As soon as Bobby-Lynne steps between Pearl and the edge of the pier, viewers know she's a goner. There is no doubt she's going to get pushed into the water; it's simply a question of when. Sure enough, Bobby-Lynne takes a dunk in the lake. Once she does, however, the audience is lured into a sense of false security. They figure that the worst has already happened, right? That, of course, is when a crocodile clamps its jaws down on her head.

5. Lorraine discovering what's in the basement

As a general rule of thumb, you should never go down into basements in a horror movie. Nothing good ever happens in basements. Lorraine must have missed the memo because she learns this the hard way. Howard sends her down to the basement on an errand, and when she comes back up, she finds the basement door locked.

Viewers' hearts will be in their throats throughout this entire sequence. Lorraine can't seem to turn on a light without something horrifying happening. First, she reaches for the cord for the lightbulb at the top of the stairs, and just when you're expecting the light to come on, the movie jump-cuts to the bloody aftermath of another character's death (which is so gruesome that it earns its own spot on this list). After the viewers have been completely and utterly shaken by what they've seen, the movie returns to Lorraine. So Lorraine turns on the main light in the basement, and she finds another surprise: a naked corpse suspended from the ceiling. Pearl has clearly abused this victim before (and possibly after) killing him.

What makes this moment especially terrifying is that the body doesn't belong to anybody Lorraine recognizes. It's just a random stranger (presumably one of many) who fell prey to Pearl. It's chilling to learn that the secrets of this farmhouse run way deeper than you could have imagined and know that Pearl has been getting away with murder for a long time.

4. Wayne getting nailed in the eyes

Whenever Wayne (Martin Henderson) fumbles around in the barn in search of RJ, you might say that he finds the proverbial needle in the haystack — except it's not a needle but a nail, which was planted by Pearl on the ground with the business end sticking up. Since Wayne is barefoot, of course, it follows that he steps right on the nail. This moment isn't especially jarring or scary. After all, audiences see it coming long before Wayne notices, and it's nothing we haven't already seen in "Home Alone."

However, the "yikes" factor jumps up to an 11 whenever Wayne gets nails driven into an even more sensitive spot. He peeks through two holes in the barn door that are conveniently just the right distance apart for him to peer through one with each eye. That's when Pearl hammers a pair of nails into Wayne's eyes. The moment is reminiscent of the Joker's "pencil trick" from "The Dark Knight," except it's more graphic and it's not played for laughs. We guarantee you will not be laughing; instead, you'll probably be curling your toes in your shoes.

If for some reason that isn't enough to make viewers squeamish, Pearl comes in and stabs Wayne with a pitchfork. Y'know, to make sure he's extra dead.

3. RJ's gruesome death

Although Pearl gives off creepy vibes ever since her first appearance, her first kill is the moment when it becomes horrifyingly clear to viewers that this old lady meant business. The scene of RJ's death rips the rug out from underneath viewers, not unlike the unforgettable chestburster scene from "Alien."

It begins when RJ bails on the rest of the crew and tries to drive away. Pearl comes out of nowhere, seeming to materialize in the middle of the road, and RJ's death comes out of nowhere, too. One minute, Pearl is stroking RJ's body. The next, she is plunging a blade into his neck. "I can show you what I'm capable of," she tells RJ, and then she shows RJ exactly what she can do with a knife. To add to the horror, the whole sequence happens in the glow of the headlights that are tinted red by RJ's blood.

The way that Pearl does all this while straddling RJ's body, along with the fact that she does an eerie dance afterward, suggests that Pearl is enacting some kind of twisted fantasy. This moment will be impossible for audience members to un-see.

2. Maxine going swimming

Most of the creepiest moments in "X" happen in the second half of the movie after the killings start. However, there's one scene that will make viewers shiver long before any blood is shed.

Early in the movie, Maxine goes skinny-dipping in the lake. Although most of the film's action is happening in the farmhouse, where the rest of the crew is filming, the movie keeps cutting back to Maxine, giving viewers the uneasy sensation that something terrible is about to happen. Yet nothing seems to happen, which only makes audiences more uneasy. Just when Maxine begins paddling back to shore, a crocodile creeps into the frame. It slices through the water leisurely, like it has all the time in the world. In this respect, the scene is staged almost like a version of "Jaws" in the bayou. The sequence is more terrifying than most of the other scares in the movie because it sneaks up on viewers and is never explained. Nothing happens to Maxine, but we are rattled because we know how easily something could have happened.

The whole scenario has a creepy undertone, thanks to the crocodile shown earlier in the movie. Outside the nightclub where Maxine used to work, there was a pornographic illustration of a croc tugging at a model's panties. With this image seared into viewers' minds, the crocodile becomes even more menacing. Somehow, we get the sense that this croc would do a lot worse than give Maxine a wedgie.

1. Maxine's final confrontation with Pearl

The ending of "X" is one of the most disturbing moments in the entire movie, but it's not necessarily because of Pearl. Sometimes a killer lurking in the darkness isn't half as scary as the darkness of a character's soul.

In the climax, viewers will be shocked by Maxine's capacity for cruelty when they watch her run over a (somewhat) helpless old lady. Maxine didn't need to kill Pearl so violently. She could have simply left Pearl bleeding out on the driveway. Or, if she was concerned that Pearl might live long enough to tell the cops that the killings were all Maxine's fault, then she could have taken Howard's shotgun and given Maxine a clean, painless death. Instead, Maxine crushes Pearl's head beneath the wheels of her car, and she seems to enjoy it, too. The killing is even more disturbing to watch if you consider that both characters are played by the same actress, so it's almost like Maxine is killing a version of herself. This ending is terrifying because it demonstrates just how much Pearl and Maxine have in common.

Knowing that Maxine is set to return in a sequel called "Maxxxine," we suspect that the horror film won't even need to introduce a new character to replace Pearl as the villain. Maxine is shaping up to be quite a menacing villain herself.