- Directed by David Blue Garcia
- February 18, 2022
Leatherface returns to terrorize a new group of young individuals after they disturb his world in an abandoned Texas town.
It has been decades since I watched the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was an old VHS tape that I rented from a local video store called Solanco Video. The format and the outlet are both long gone now which tells you how long it has been since I’ve actually seen the original. This is not a remake of that film but rather a direct sequel that goes so far as to have John Larroquette reprising his role as Narrator.
That’s my way of saying that going into this I had no strong stake in the franchise or the concept. I went in just wanting to watch a good movie. Texas Chainsaw Massacre was sadly just adequate. It’s good enough to pass the time if you have nothing else to watch on streaming. As a horror outing though it’s a bit forgettable.
I would be hard-pressed to name any of the characters that play a part. You don’t need deeply fleshed out characters in any horror movie, but you need to at least be able to differentiate them so that you are not confused as to who died. Our characters here are that interchangeable. Melody, Lila, Catherine, Dante, Ruth, and Herb. Without the cheat sheet we call Google I doubt I would remember which was which.
As far as the plot goes a group of jerks, I mean young entrepreneurs comes to the middle of nowhere of Texas as they plan on auctioning off the whole town. Right away they are douches to the first guy they see with a gun in Texas. Turns out he’s the handyman that they had all hired without ever actually looking at him to make the town look a little presentable for the sale to a busload of victims, er, investors coming that day.
Anyway because these people are such jerks when they stumble across someone still living in the town (Alice Krige) they immediately assume she’s a squatter and the police who accompanied them to there just because help kick the lady out. There’s confusion in the situation and it looks like the douches may have been in the wrong.
A moment to clarify if that woman should have been there or not would have been good and reframed things a little bit. They never really clarify if the woman is still allowed to live there or not though. The search for the deed which she claims to have is only an excuse to start the killing.
And you’re not invested in whether or not anyone survives because you don’t like anyone really. They are douches but not so bad that you are hoping they die. They are not that terrible to be thankful they are out of the narrative. The mechanic handyman Richter (Moe Dunford) is the only decent character but not nice enough to feel bad over his death.
If Texas Chainsaw Massacre was going for pure gore and exciting kills then that would be fine with bland characters but the film feels rather bloodless. The shots of blood and gore are rather brief and quick. You do not see the chainsaw chew up anything and the use of sharp objects is shot at a distance.
It is pretty clear early on that Lila (Elsie Fisher) would be the one character that was definitely going to survive. She lived through a school shooting and you can tell from early on that this is going to be her moment to re-empower herself or whatever. The thing is the school shooting which is very traumatic for Lila doesn’t really play too much into things. We see a wound and get a flashback but not much else.
They go a little bit Halloween reboot in this and bring back the original film character of Sally Hardesty (here Olwen Fouéré). She’s played by different actress because the original actress Marilyn Burns passed away in 2014. But that’s beside the point.
You get the feeling they are going for a bit of a Laurie Strode moment where the legacy character stands against the one that made their life hell as a way of taking back her life, but Leatherface just shoves a chainsaw through Sally and tosses her aside. It is all rather anti-climactic. Worst a few moments later she saves our final girl with a couple of shotgun blasts that distract Leatherface. You just had a chainsaw through you! There is no way you’re lasting long enough to get a few shots off minutes later.
The question I have is this the Leatherface from the first film or a new Leatherface? Given that his mother is still alive one could presume that this is a new Leatherface so how does that equal empowerment for the legacy character? How does that equal her getting her life back and stopping the catching or getting revenge on the original killer? I really thought they would stumble across an elderly original Leatherface somewhere. Some kind of reveal that this was his family after that film but no.
This film was lazy from start to finish. They were no scares, and the treatment of the legacy character Sally Hardesty was absolutely abysmal. I’m not saying you needed to worship her and have her survive again but she shows up and you get an impression it’s going to be something big and really not much happens with her.
This new entry in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre universe is more than a bit of a letdown. I say skip it.