- Director: David Blue Garcia
- Writers: Chris Thomas Devlin, Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues
- Stars: Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Mark Burnham, Jacob Latimore
Another attempt at a sequel/reboot for the franchise that has had so many crimes thrust upon it, ends in an all too familiar cry of …meh. To call this a direct sequel to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is like saying today’s sandwich was a sequel to yesterday’s sandwich because you used bread.
When a bunch of influencers and entrepreneurs try to breathe new life into an all but deserted town they inadvertently set off the previously dormant Leatherface.
From the opening true crime documentary talking about the events of the first film, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is at great pains to point out this sequels timeline is a direct link. The direct link is the character of Sally Hardesty (this time played Olwen Fouéré) and you may think this goes the same route as Halloween 2018 and you would be correct but only if you condensed it to around 10-15 minutes. We are introduced to the main characters from the jump, unfortunately none of which we really get to know at all, except Lila (Elsie Fisher), who gets a little backstory that really doesn’t hit the mark like the film thinks it does.
As is the case with famous or infamous franchises, they get that way due to the way the villian(s) are portrayed. Leatherface in the original 74 film, is a violent, brutal, force of nature. In this sequel Leatherface (played with great physicality by Mark Burnham) is two of those things but they gave him a barely explained mother complex. It’s this complex that kicks off his revenge spree which is something else that seems to be a complete 180 for the character that was just a killing machine not vengeful psychopath.
The actual kills in the film are brutal, inventive and unfortunately also mostly CGI. Garcia’s camera is unflinching and that both helps and hinders. There is a scene on a bus that really would have been far better if the camera stayed outside, so we could only imagine what was going inside.
The film looks great and is well shot, well directed and the acting is actually quite good. Ultimately though the writers and director missed the memo. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre isn’t a film about gory, inventive kills. It’s about the power of suggestion, dread, fear, a film that you can feel. This sequel thinks that crazy gory kills make up for a complete lack of atmosphere whilst making Leatherface now a somewhat supernatural killer. Being a sequel to what is arguably one of the greatest horror films ever made is a huge albatross around the neck and I think if this film was made with the same plot but a different non Leatherface killer, it would’ve a really fun new slasher.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is available on Netflix.
Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78