Directed by David Blue Garcia
Stars: Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Olwen Fouéré, Jacob Latimore, Mark Burnham, Moe Dunford, and Nell Hudson
When it comes to Horror franchises, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise has never really been amongst my favourites. I could always appreciate the creativity and sheer brutality that started back in 1974 when the world was first introduced to Leatherface and his absolutely brutal Sawyer family members. Now there’s been a whole lot of films made for this franchise since the day the world was introduced to the Leatherface character, and though I haven’t seen all of them- I know the most part none have really captured the magic of the original film. I do also know that as for how lacklustre those sequels were, they all contributed or adjusted the Leatherface lore and story- and made him someone that was somewhat sympathetic even though he was you know, a guy that wore people that he had murdered’s faces. None of that comes out of this one, rather Leatherface is just reduced to even more of a mindless killing machine with no motif or people pulling strings behind him.
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.
That is where I think the criticism for the film should begin. The reduction of the character into this brutal murdering machine may appear epic at first with the first few kill scenes, but it drags out and becomes stale really fast. Having that sympathy for Leatherface as a man thats being manipulated by his own family of psychopaths made the viewer feel bad and in a way root for him even when he was pinning people up on roofs with hooks and chopping through them with chainsaws. Losing the element to root for and feel bad for Leatherface, really downgrades the film in general because it’s not like the human characters typically in these films are all that likeable either.
The screen play doesn’t just stop at that, Leatherface’s family being for the most part non existent or impactful is a significant blow to the film but it’s not the only negative within the script. For starters, not a single soul can tell me that social media influencers would move to a ghost town in the middle of Texas- common now that is a stretch of the imagination right off the jump, you’re telling me all these influencers are jumping for joy to move to the middle of nowhere? Then we get a lack of character development to the highest regard, I’m not watching a slasher movie to have in-depth backgrounds for the people I’m about to watch be cut up- but atleast a little bit more could’ve been nice so that I had any connection towards the group that ended up in this Texan town. I was pretty positive that Nell Hudson’s character didn't have a name through the entirety of the movie until the credits rolled. Which is concerning when she’s one of the five main young adults we meet at the start, and the only characteristic she’s given is that of “girlfriend to more important main guy.” Moe Dunford has potential of being a super cool character with some depth, but for the most part it doesn’t lead to much- as if through all the production shuffle they had along the way there were ideas for more that just got cast aside. The dialogue is fine for the most part, only a few heavily clingy moments one being the interaction between the group and Dunford; and the second being the influencers on the bus meeting Leatherface.
It’s not all bad, and there’s definitely parts that made me excited about how it was playing out in front of me. The camera work is really really cool, the moment Leatherface puts on his mask is super iconic and the way the camera flashes on him just feels creepy. There’s a brilliant use of a swinging door that shows us just enough of the brutality that one can’t help but appreciate the artistic work done on it, as well as for the scenes on the bus where the colour within the rave sequence makes for a bloody good time.
If people are looking for a fun slasher with some creative kills, then this could be something fun to watch on Netflix with friends. Just don’t go in with high expectations for a strong story or interesting characters because that ship last sailed when Tobe Hooper introduced the Sawyer family in 1974.