“He don’t mean you no harm. Such a sweet boy…”
Another one of these? Really? Okay I guess…
The original works because it is exactly that, the first, the original. The 2003 remake was decent enough because it managed to capture at least some of the dread the original created. Since then every attempt at revisiting this franchise has resulted in everyone questioning why they keep making more. This newest addition, the 2022 Netflix film, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is nothing different from the rest. They seem to get so caught up in gruesome kills, which I appreciate, but they seem to leave behind everything else that matters. Things like a competent story and characters to match. As with every single movie in this franchise the characters are nothing more than cannon fodder for Leatherface to maim and murder until the credits begin to roll.
These characters are never made to be likable, rather they are tiresome so when Leatherface chops and slashes we root for him to finish the job. Maybe that’s where these movies and I differ on preferences. I believe a horror movie is most effective when its characters are smart and relatable. We want to see ourselves in them so when the horror aspect begins we are in fear for their safety. Suddenly everything matters so much more. When it’s irritating Gen Zers worried about their view counts and trying to use non-offensive pronouns (while sounding completely judgmental) you lose any desire to see them survive. In fact, in the moments when a character decides to stop being a victim and go on the attack, which happens this time as well, it feels all the more ridiculous.
One of the most memorable scenes is Leatherface on a bus with several trapped, probably vegans, and he has his coveted chainsaw in hand. It is the titular massacre. Even this scene manages to be aggravating simply because they couldn’t come up with something better for the characters to do. In the scene Leatherface is making his way to the rear of the bus. As he does the remaining survivors make some kind of vague attempt at trying to escape by lightly tapping on the windows of the bus. It just verified to me that they were in fact vegans, having no strength to actually break a glass window. I’m making fun of course but my point is even in the simplest, most visceral moments, when all that’s demanded of any character is to try to escape, they barely make the windows vibrate. Kill them all, Leatherface!
I’ve learned that a shorter runtime isn’t indicative of a bad movie but when it can’t crack even eighty minutes long, which this doesn’t, it makes me think they ran with pieces of an idea rather than adapting it further into a full fledged script. This entire movie feels like a list of ideas written on a napkin and someone somewhere said, “That’s all we need!” Insert generic, modern day youth with seemingly zero survival instincts, add one giant psychopath with a chainsaw and that’s your movie. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an 80 minute murder reel. If Leatherface were trying to join a serial killer club he would show them this with playful music and probably too many star wipe transitions.
The movie is both mercifully short and unforgivably fleeting. It’s something I would have liked more of, the killing scenes, but since it never rises above a typical horror movie murder spree I’m also glad it didn’t prolong things beyond what it gave us. It’s never promised to be anything more than what it ended up being so in some way it’s a perfectly serviceable horror movie. It’s incredibly gory, off the charts violent and the frustrating Gen Z get their comeuppance. It’s not all bad but like every sequel or remake in this franchise, it’ll be forgotten before the end of the month.
Oh I almost forgot the direct ripoff of Halloween (2018) featuring a former victim (Laurie Strode) turned killer hunter. Think Michael Myers with a chainsaw and Strode with a shotgun, cowboy hat and a southern twang and you get the point.
Rated R For: strong bloody horror violence and gore, and language
Runtime: 81 minutes
After Credits Scene: Yes
Starring: Sarah Yarkin, Mark Burnham, Moe Dunford, Olwen Fouéré
Directed By: David Blue Garcia
Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 5/ Acting: 7/ Directing: 8/ Visuals: 8
OVERALL: 5.5 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Streaming on Netflix now.
Check out the trailer below:
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