X the Unknown is a treat for fans of 1950s science fiction films. While it is not a classic of the genre, it's a very well-made and quite entertaining little flick. X lacks the high-cost special effects found in modern sci-fi movies (and even in many of those of the 1950s as well), but it really doesn't need them. Under Leslie Norman's efficient, effective direction, X delivers the requisite thrills and chills that many bigger-budget affairs fall short on. And what effects it does have, while modest, are more than serviceable. Jimmy Sangster's screenplay is similarly modest yet powerful. Sangster knows that the plot -- and the manner in which the details of the plot are revealed -- is paramount in this kind of film, yet he still manages to throw in small nuances that help to flesh out the characters, especially the minor roles. He even breaks a traditional rule for sci-fi-ers of the period by having an innocent child actually die from an encounter with the threat -- a seemingly small point, but actually rather shocking. The cast is fine throughout, with Dean Jagger and Leo McKern filling the lead roles with all the seriousness required. X the Unknown is hardly innovative, but it's a crackerjack piece of entertainment.
by Craig Butler review