Alright Leatherface, it’s your turn.
‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘ is the next horror franchise to get a “requel”. 2018 brought us ‘Halloween‘ and most recently ‘Scream‘ returned to the silver screen after over a decade. both ‘Halloween’ and Massacre go down the route of ignoring the numerous sequels that followed after the original.
This time around, Leatherface preys on a group of friends who arrive in a quiet Texas town hoping to breathe new life into the rundown and largely abandoned town.
Going into a large majority of slasher flicks, I don’t expect a revolutionary story, complex characters, or even clever new kills. There are certain franchises where I do have higher expectations but this is not one of those. All I wanted for this sequel was to be entertained for its breezy 83 minute runtime and there are a few shockingly gory kills and sequences that were surprisingly tense but these moments are few and far between, even with the short runtime.
‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ stars Sarah Yarkin (Happy Death Day 2U), Jacob Latimore (Detroit), and Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade). Like most horror movies, despite a talented group of actors, there’s really no interest shown in developing interesting characters. These characters never go deeper than surface level. Everything is established within the first 10-15 minutes and there’s nothing past that. This isn’t a surprise but when you take a look at the other films I mentioned, the new characters are established quite well and they are fun characters to be around (particularly the newcomers in Scream). Unsurprisingly, Elsie Fisher gives the best performance. She does feel a bit miscast but as the story progresses, she commits to the horror sequences and was clearly having a lot of fun in the role.
As the action started to kick into high gear (and trust me, we will talk about that aspect), it was almost impossible to latch onto any of these characters so as they’re getting chased down by Leatherface, there was no fear for these characters. Watching something like this, I want to feel scared for the safety of the characters, as we should. Without this attachment the sequences that had the potential to be intense, fall flat and leave you waiting to see just how graphic the inevitable kill is going to be
Movies in the slasher subgenera is one that seems to have its sights set on outdoing itself with the gore factor with each release. Last year’s ‘Halloween Kills’ brought the most gruesome kills of the franchise. Last month’s ‘Scream’ did the same. Add Texas Chainsaw Massacre to that list. After the first few kills it became very apparent that the filmmakers’ interest didn’t lay with the characters or the story. It was the gore factor. If their goal was to see just how much blood and intestines they could fit into a single scene and make it as wince worthy as possible, they succeeded… and then some. There were a few moments that worked quite well and I was on the brink of actually enjoying the chaos that was unfolding in front of me but then we’d cut back to the characters and my attention was instantly drawn elsewhere.
Before I wrap up my thoughts I would be remised if I didn’t briefly touch on the script. I will acknowledge that most viewers aren’t sitting down to watch a complex story unfold with compelling dialogue. However, there are lines within the script that are atrocious. Everything feels familiar and the story fails to intrigue from the beginning.
Verdict: Texas Chainsaw Massacre contains a few brutal kills but past that it’s a messy, recycled, and forgettable attempt at rebooting a franchise that might be best left in the past.