Texas Chainsaw Massacre Review
Hoping to cash in on the horror legacy sequel trend comes Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a direct sequel to the original 1974 classic horror film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The film proudly walks in the footsteps of Halloween (2018) and Scream (2022) to the point where you almost question if it's a parody. Like those films, Texas Chainsaw Massacre takes its iconic villain, in this case--Leatherface, and brings him into a modern-day setting, making the story revolve around a new youthful cast, but also doesn't forget to add its final girl as a "legacy character" so the audience can see one more showdown between the two. Sounds like an easy enough formula not to screw up, right? One would think so, but it's actually quite surprising to see how dedicated director David Blue Garcia seems to be in making this film fail on every level.
Problems rear their heads early on with a cast of characters too obnoxious even for horror movie standards. A group of idealistic young influencers purchases the deed to a remote town in Texas with the vision of creating a modern social media utopia. If that sounds convoluted, it's because it is. In one of the buildings they thought to be abandoned, they find an older woman in poor health squatting on the premises. They call the cops to kick her out of the building and take control of their purchased real estate, but the woman continues to argue that the place is hers. Out of a shadow lurks the figure of a giant, hulking man. A man whose mother has been wronged and who will have his revenge. Of course, what the kids don't know, is that this is Leatherface and soon they will all be fighting for their lives.
I've seen a lot of people defend this film already with comments like "It's a horror film! What do you expect??" essentially putting the blame on people who wanted a better movie. Takes like that are a disservice to the genre in acting like all horror is subpar mediocrity. You need look no further than to the original film in this franchise to see how good horror can be. There is a true eeriness to the original right from the get-go when the kids pick up the hitchhiker. It's not just Leatherface we're afraid of, it's his whole family and the potential of stumbling onto that kind of crazy somewhere in the rural united states. Instead, filmmakers drop the backwoods family entirely and were more interested in turning Leatherface into a Jason Voorhees type. Suddenly he has almost supernatural abilities in how invulnerable he is. When in reality Leatherface here has gotta be in his 70s with a bad knee at this point.
As previously mentioned, Texas Chainsaw Massacre tries to do the whole legacy sequel character thing that Halloween 2018 revolves around, by building up the inevitable return of the final girl Sally from the original (here played by Olwen Fouéré). The handling of which could not be done more poorly. Almost as poorly as revealing our current lead character was the victim of a school shooting, for no other reason than as a shortcut in the name of character development. The film could probably overcome all of that though if it weren't for the biggest issue that plagues the film. Texas Chainsaw Massacre's biggest problem is that it is completely and utterly devoid of any dread or tension. Each and every sequence that is orchestrated feel so dull and so expected to end up at their eventual outcome. There's nothing it can do to surprise you...that is until the very last shot. And then...well, it's just downright comical.