Thinking objectively about a pearl, one is inclined to think about decadence and luxuriousness. It is slowly formed due to grains of sand grating on the inner lining of an oyster shell, taking a tremendous amount of time to develop, drawing attention, sometimes unnecessarily, and costing a small fortune to obtain. Applying that logic to Ti West’s “Pearl,” one can see the wisdom of this origin story to “X.”

Pearl was also a common name in the early 1900s, the setting for West’s film, co-written during the filming of “X” with that film’s star, Mia Goth. Goth reprises the titular role here, offering a magnetic, slow-burning descent into hell performance.

Set on a rural farm, Pearl lives a hard life. Her father is an invalid, and her mother is a taskmaster, constantly reminding her of her familial duties and to wave off her desires. Goth portrays the character as full of wanting, perhaps needing, attention desperately. One of her performance’s strengths is the character’s evolving nature in reaction to her environment.

West and Goth plant many tiny grains of sand that grate on the character throughout the film: a husband in the war, her desire to be on the silver screen and to be adored by millions, to have an easier life away from her mother (Tandi Wright), offering tidbits about her life to a father (Matthew Sunderland) who cannot respond other than through blank stares, a sister-in-law, Misty (Emma Jenkins-Purro) who is far prissier than her attitude suggests. Pearl takes these moments in stride.

Amid these elements is the Spanish Flu epidemic that fuels the film. Pearl is entrusted to run errands in town, giving her the perfect opportunity to escape what she terms a hard life. In reality, the epidemic featured in the movie directly reflects on modern life and the conditions under which “Pearl” was shot. In deference to West’s creative decisions, those who might find its use here objectionable, it was and is a way of life then and now. It entraps Pearl in her isolated existence and a constant need to be free of the ties that bind her mentally and physically.

However, her ticket to freedom is in the hands of a local film projectionist, played by David Corenswet, a nomadic character in every way. Corenswet is easy on the eyes. West puts him between the Technicolor goody-too-shoes that Pearl portrays and the raging, murderous rampage lurking behind her eyes.

These details culminate in the second and third acts, forming the horrifying acts punctuating the third act. Cinematographer Eliot Rockett, who also lensed “X,” returns, focusing his camera on their talent and respective influences. One sequence made it into the trailer, involving a scarecrow, and a second sequence, involving a tight shot of Goth delivering a powerful monologue for a good four to five minutes, drive the resentful heart of the film.

Yet, for all the luster that drives “Pearl,” the story runs the risk of not having enough material for its run time. The characters’ motivations are there, and the visually threatening impact is omnipresent. As much as I cheered for Pearl (I can hardly be blamed for that, right?), there are just enough grains of sand to satisfy the film, curated by its cunning lead performance and tight direction. Had there been any less or more, “Pearl” might not be the slick film it is.

Ti West has a firm handle on the direction of the film, an origin story of the Pearl character from “X.” When “Pearl” premiered recently at TIFF, A24 released a trailer for “MaXXXine,” the third film in the series. This commitment from the studio, with two movies in a series released in the same year and another on the way, suggests long-term financial benefit. West’s ability to be inventive and creative on the fly is more than that, though, which is in full, gory evidence in “Pearl.” The series seems to be shaping up, not only in its grindhouse nature but in a way Hollywood generally does not move today, which is refreshing.

West, who managed to direct “Pearl” back-to-back with “X,” is commended for his inventiveness and economical style. Nary a frame is wasted, and the story is firmly centered on Goth, another notch in West’s hat as “Pearl’s” editor. Tom Hammock’s production design, Ben Milsom’s art direction, and Malgosia Turzanska’s costume design firmly entrench us in the early 1900’s setting. We feel Pearl’s desperation and her more-than-adequate surroundings, given the family’s circumstances.

Tyler Bates’ and Tim Williams’ score evoke just the right emotions out of us, leaving an already strong impression of Pearl on us from “X” feeling even more potent. We identify her interpersonal struggle and the viciousness of what she becomes through their score, elevating “Pearl.”

“Pearl” is a balancing act, retaining just enough of its luster, owing to a magnificent Mia Goth performance and slick direction from Ti West, to make this journey further down the “X” trilogy worthwhile. Now in theaters.