Pearl Features The Most Uncomfortable End Credits Of The Year

This article contains major spoilers for "Pearl."

The distinction of the greatest cinematic one-two punch of the year has to go to director Ti West. Not only did "X" reign as one of the best horror flicks of the year so far, but less than six months later, West had the colorful nightmare prequel known as "Pearl" ready for a theatrical release. Time will tell if it gains traction over its predecessor, but as it stands, "Pearl" is an absolute blast.

Where "X" was a tremendously entertaining ode to its '70s exploitation roots, "Pearl," on the other hand, is an unhinged beast all its own, emulating a bloody concoction of "Psycho," "Cinderella," and "The Wizard of Oz." Mia Goth is a ferocious presence who eats up the screen at every available opportunity. While we've already become acquainted with her "X" character, the much younger Pearl is a whole different experience.

Goth's performance allows for a wave of empathy for a dark character — it's a performance that elicits an uncomfortable laughter whenever she gets too inside her head. You never quite know how the fame-obsessed dreamer is going to react in a certain situation, and that makes watching "Pearl" so much fun.

The film maintains this twisted buoyancy up until the very end. When I say the very end, I mean "Pearl" closes on a haunting final shot that not only encompasses the twisted joy of Goth's performance, but had me squirming in my seat as the credits rolled.

Pearl sure has made a mess of things

The twisted delight in watching "Pearl" is seeing glimpses into how Goth transforms from the seemingly innocent farmer's daughter to a psychopathic killer. You really don't have to wait long, as not only does she murder a goose with a hilariously terrified look on its face within the first 10 minutes, but feeds it to her pet alligator Theda in an exemplary title card drop. The timing of her technicolor introduction is perfect.

"Pearl" ultimately sees the titular character trying to fit into the dreamscape world of the pictures, while hacking, slashing, and suffocating folks along the way. Her dreams of escaping the farm aren't met. Pearl attempts to clean up the massacre strewn throughout the family farm, namely the bodies belonging to the Projectionist (David Corenswet) and her more successful sister-in-law Mitzy (Emma Jenkins-Purro), whose odds of leaving that farm alive weren't all that great.

In the end, Pearl designates herself to an exiled life on the farm, merely waiting for her dear Howard (Alistair Sewell) to return from the war. Having suffocated her ailing father (Matthew Sunderland) and burned her controlling mother Ruth (Tandi Wright) to a crisp, Pearl props their bodies up at the dinner table, complete with the maggot-infested pig roast of your dreams.

With the demented setup of an idyllic family dinner all set up, Howard finally arrives home, closing on a truly unforgettable shot.

That's all, folks!

After all of the ensuing madness, "Pearl" closes out on this memorable shot right above. But rather than holding onto a freeze frame of her smiling, West's gory melodrama rolls the credits while Goth stands there trying to maintain her state of happiness. Similar to watching most of "Pearl," you can't help but sit there in a hilariously uncomfortable stupor as you try to see how long she can keep it up. I didn't time it, but she held that magnificent grin for at least a couple of minutes.

I imagine it must be even funnier for anyone who hasn't seen "X" and is wondering how she's going to talk her way out of this. We know an older Howard accepts who Pearl is, going so far as to help dispatch the "X" bunch in her honor, after all.

There have been other movies that attempted something similar, whether it's the contemplative stare from George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" or the melancholic reflection from Timothée Chalamet in "Call Me By Your Name." Although the more accurate comparison I'd make is that of the comedic faux freeze frames at the end of every episode of "Police Squad."

I really have to give it to Goth. "Pearl" is already a fascinating character piece that requires a lot from her, especially in a killer monologue in the latter half of the film, so adding the pressure of maintaining a pitch perfect smile to close this carnival ride out is just another point towards this killer performance.

"Pearl" also happens to come with the added benefit of a teaser for "MaXXXine," the upcoming third film in West's "X" trilogy, but Goth's haunting grimace is what you remember.

"Pearl" is now playing in theaters.