After nearly 50 years of hiding, Leatherface returns to terrorize a group of idealistic young friends who accidentally disrupt his carefully shielded world in a remote Texas town.
Editing: Christopher S. Capp
Music: Colin Stetson
Cast: Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Mark Burnham, Jacob Latimore, Moe Dunford, Olwen Fouéré, Jessica Allain, Nell Hudson, John Larroquette
Directors: David Blue Garcia
Writers: Chris Thomas Devlin (screenplay), Fede Alvarez (story), Rodo Sayagues (story), Kim Henkel (based on characters created by), Tobe Hooper (based on characters created by)
Cinematography: Ricardo Diaz
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a classic and well-loved slasher for horror fans. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which just released on Netflix, attempts to follow the success of Halloween by retconning the history of the franchise and making a direct sequel to the first film. It even goes as far as having the only survivor of the first film return. After getting pulled from a theatrical release and sold off to Netflix, you would be correct to assume it’s not very good. Although it isn’t the worst in the franchise, it’s a bad film. However, fans of blood and gore could find it worth flicking through for the kills.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre takes place fifty years after the first film’s events, which is how many it’s been since it was released. Leatherface hasn’t slaughtered since the events of that film, or at least, not that we’re aware of or told. A bunch of young rich kids have bought the Texas town of Harlow and plan on auctioning it off to a bus-load of other rich kids. It’s gentrification o’clock in the south, and the idea of selling the “quiet life” to young 20-somethings who have become tired of the city life is the business.
The long-short in this movie that is, thankfully, under ninety minutes, is that the only person not to leave their house in town after our leads have purchased them all is Leatherface’s mother. A stressful confrontation leads to her being taken away in an ambulance, but when she passes away, Leatherface lets loose, and the carnage begins as he seeks revenge against those who he blames for destroying his comfortable home life and killing his Mum.
It’s hard to feel bad for the characters in Texas Chainsaw Massacre as they’re all terrible, dumb people. There’s a scene where a chainsaw is stuck into a floor and dragged in a straight line as Leatherface attempts to slice the girl hiding under the house in half. She could roll left or right to dodge the chainsaw and instead crawls in a straight line. I wanted to turn the movie off at this point.
Miscast in this movie Elsie Fisher as Lila, who deserves a lot better than this. Lila is a survivor of a school shooting, and the film attempts to play her trauma into the events of this film as a bloodbath begins to occur around her. It all falls apart when her big hero moment is that she overcomes her fear of guns to use them against Leatherface. It’s as if the NRA sponsored the film as a message about why guns are good in the right hands.
The only good thing about Texas Chainsaw Massacre is it does have some dumb-fun kills. The bus scene, which is the trailer, is again a testament to how dumb the characters are, but it’s the goriest scene of the film as Leatherface takes to nameless characters as free-reign slaughter.
Sally Hardesty, the only survivor of the first film, returns, but Olwen Fouéré plays her as the original actress, Marilyn Burns, passed away in 2014. The character doesn’t carry the same linage as Laurie Strode in Halloween and is wasted in this film, much like everyone else. I think the film tries to hint at revenge films much like Halloween did in 2018 and how it can eat your life away. But Sally is barely in this film, and her characters neither adds nor detracts from what is ultimately a hugely forgettable entry in the franchise.