Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Even as a slasher fan, I must admit I haven’t particularly liked the Texas Chainsaw franchise movies. Leatherface, the big bad who wears human skin as his mask, used to be a scary figure once upon a time, but is a parody of himself at this point in time. I saw the original 1974 classic quite recently, and it was ahead of its times. Can’t say the same about the subsequent sequels, spinoffs and reboots. Leatherface needs to slash his dreaded chainsaw across this franchise, once and for all. Why, you ask? Read on.
Story & Screenplay
Unlike the other TX Chainsaw movies, this one is a direct sequel to the 1974 original, that no one asked for. By that logic, Leatherface must be roughly 75 years of age by now, but moves with more power and agility than I ever have. I really need to know his diet and workout regimen.
Anyhow, in case you’re still looking for a semblance of a story in between all the gratuitous gore, it’s about four city friends who arrive at a ghost town named Harlow, somewhere in Texas. The idea is to auction off all the remaining properties in the scantily populated town (how does that work, exactly?), which include a gruff cap wearing shop owner, a gruff cap wearing car mechanic, two gruff hat wearing cops (that’s literally the number of cops I saw in the movie), an elderly lady, and Leatherface. Yeah, something there doesn’t fit. Leatherface seems to have been domesticated by this motherly figure (you read that right).
The city slackers unwittingly evict the elderly lady and she accidentally dies. Leatherface is now on a bloody quest to kill everyone in sight- all except one Sally (now played by Olwen Fouere) who has been hunting Leatherface since 1974. Will she be able to save the (remaining) visitors from Leatherface’s wrath, and chainsaw? If you have seen the previous instalments (or really, any slasher flick), you already know the answer.
Writers Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues were the minds and the pens behind a decent Evil Dead reboot in 2013. No such luck here as there plotholes over plotholes in this mess of a story. Sure, they can be ignored in a slasher flick, but not to the point where a character could have saved lives by giving away the key to the bus they’re supposed to drive away in, but doesn’t. Instead, he gives the keys 5 minutes later, to a girl firmly in the grasp of Leatherface. Dialogues don’t save the movie either. The BGM by Colin Stetson is serviceable but nothing extraordinary. Director David Blue Garcia tries really hard to create a gory sequel to the original, while also staying true to the genre, but fails badly on both counts. After a point, you become numb to the bloodshed. At no point does the movie let you care for these characters. It’s all but a mess.
What can be said about performances in a movie where a character gets 5 minutes of screen time, and then dies in the most brutal (and bizarre) fashion! Yet, at least for this writer, Elsie Fisher as Lila was a standout in a sea of faceless characters. Sarah Yarkin tries hard but her character was written so haphazardly, that the actress can barely make her believable.
Even as a fan of gory movies, you might find Texas Chainsaw Massacre silly. Watch it only if you must. Now streaming on Netflix.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.