Tandi Wright — the fierce actress who played Ruth, Pearl’s spiteful mother — is also commendable for her performance in the slasher, especially because she came into the role after working as the intimacy coordinator on “X” amid a two-film shoot in New Zealand during the initial COVID pandemic period. Her work here is a major part of what endears the audience to Pearl and her hopes and dreams despite her cruel and brutal way of making those things her reality, because she is so utterly vicious to her daughter with cutting words, deadly stares, and constant orders of housework and care demands.
Because of Wright’s understanding of how terrible Ruth should be, Pearl’s fall from grace packs a serious punch and the implications of how the matriarch’s treatment has warped the lead character’s sense of security and support. After all, love is the only thing Pearl truly wants, and the fact that she can’t even get it from her mother in a way that feels genuine is imperative to the essence of her character. None of that could happen quite the way it does without Wright’s unflinching and intense austerity.