Scott Ramsey directed and co-wrote X, a dark thriller about a charity organization that acts as a cover for Christian King’s dark masquerade ball. At the ” Devil’s Masquerade,” individuals get to indulge in their wildest and darkest fantasies with perfect anonymity with the expectation of the camera in the guest bathroom.
The movie introduces the main characters, Danny (Brain Smirck), Stella Marie (Eliza Christine), and Christian King (Hope Raymond), in the opening act. Danny brings Stella Marie, a sex worker and adult film star, to The Masquerade without the approval of Christian. The Masquerades are private parties that raise money for Christian King’s charity organization. Everyone who comes to the party is hand-selected by Christian and put through the “Christian test.”
Christian vets individuals through their social media and then creates a seductive chance encounter with the individual to see how they react. If the individual passes the test, Christian leaves them an invitation to the party in their home. There are strict rules for the Masquerade balls to ensure everyone’s privacy: everyone wears a mask, gets assigned a number, and cannot use their real name.
However, Christian, the “King” of the Masquerade Ball, hides a dark secret; she records her guests in the bathroom. Christian gets off to know that she can see the ” real” you. The thought of seeing the side of the person that not even their mother gets to see turns her on. This is Christian’s dark secret and a key plot point going forward. Christian initially objects to Danny inviting Stella because of their past. Christian controls everything in the Masquerade, she is the most desired, the King of the Masquerade ball, yet she is the most vulnerable. For all of Christian’s talking about getting off to a person’s secret self, she is unable to be intimate with anyone and only watches.
After a long and horrible ” Christian Test” montage that Christian poorly narrates, Christian puts Stella through the Christian test and invites them to the next Masquerade after she finds out that Stella is dating Jackson Wolfe. Jackson Wolfe is the man who deflowered Christian in High School and is the only man she has been intimate with. Christian invites Jackson and Stella to the next Masquerade, intending to steal Jackson from Stella.
At the Second Masquerade Ball, Stella Marie and Christian initially get on well, and Stella says that she cannot remember why they stopped speaking in high school. Christian agrees but lies to her face because Christian remembers exactly why they stopped speaking in high school. She is just playing along to get close to Jackson, and it comes out during their conversation that Jackson thinks that Stella is an online school teacher.
At the climax of the Second Masquerade, Stella Marie ventures into the house looking for the bathroom when she runs into Christian’s aunt with Alzheimer’s. This violates the rules, as none of the guests may leave after the last call. Christian’s aunt does a singing number for the guest, and Danny then takes her away from the stage. Danny then introduces Stella Marie to the audience while Christian is having a mental breakdown during copious amounts of alcohol. Seriously, you will see fewer drunk people in Beer Fest. The conflict between Danny and Christian comes to a head when Christian slaps Danny during an argument.
Danny hurt walks away, and Christian goes upstairs to indulge in her erotic past-time. While trying to get off, she sees an individual wearing Stella Marie’s mask enter the bathroom with Jackson. Jackson proceeds to rape them because the mask Christian thinks that it is Stella Marie. After a brief investigation, Christian finds out that it is Danny and wants to tell him. However, Danny, now under the influence of Jackson, is no longer speaking to Christian, and Jackson finds the camera in the bathroom. He then proceeded to steal the memory card.
Jackson then blackmails Christian to remove the camera from the bathroom, and Christian brings up that he raped Danny. After showing Danny the memory card with the rape deleted, Jackson then leaks it to the press. Christian tries to make up with Danny, but it is too late, and he will not speak with her anymore. Stella Marie pops in and makes up with Christian and promises to be there with her during the Final Masquerade. However, Stella Marie leaves Christian to her fate, and the guests at the Masquerade move through the house, destroying everything.
At the heart of this movie is the question of which is a worse violation of sexual assault or voyeurism. I will not personally answer this question personally but rather explain the conflict. Christian violated all her guest privacy and filmed them without their consent making erotic videos for her voyeur collection. Jackson raped Danny in the bathroom. However, the only reason anyone knew about the rape was because of the Christian bathroom camera.
The only reason that anyone knew about the rape was that Christian was filming the people in the bathroom. There is no excuse for what Christian or Jackson did in the film, but clearly, the film punishes Christian harshly for her voyeurism. Christian is exposed in the media, gets sued, loses all of her friends and clients, and her house is set on fire as her clients try to rip her apart. At the same time, Jackson gets away with the rape.
The way the conflict plays out in the plot bothers me. The idea that Jackson, who raped Danny, gets away with his crime is the most disappointing aspect of the movie. Danny will never know what happened to him and likely continue to get manipulated by his abuser Jackson for the foreseeable future. However, in the eyes of the individuals in the film, what Christian did was much worse, and no one stood by her. In a sense, Christian violated everyone sexually and intimately by recording them and masturbating to their videos. She turned their most intimate moments into an object through which she gained sexual pleasure at their expense.
The house of cards that Christian built her life and organization on could never have lasted. Eventually, someone would have found the camera, and her dark secret would have come to light. The fact that Jackson got away with rape to bring Christian’s perversion to light is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this film. No matter how you feel about Christian, the way Danny’s rape is treated in the movie is horrid. It is nothing more than the vehicle by which Christian’s secret comes to light. They could have replaced the rape with any other mechanism to move the plot forward. What Jackson did to Danny in the film is overshadowed by Christian’s voyeurism, and it is not well handled.
The themes in this movie are provocative and will leave you trying to find meaning in the film for ages. This is not a date night movie or one of those feel-good chick flicks. This is the type of movie that stays with you. It is a dark commentary on the status of our society’s relationship to sex in the digital world. Watch this at your own peril.