The appeal of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is no secret. It's a cool, twisted creepy fun story that's wrapped in lore based on true crime with some memorable cult characters and has spawned numerous sequels over the last fifty years. Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel struck gold with one of the best horror films and to this day the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre about a group of young adults who get caught up with the wrong cannibalistic family in Texas. Sans some impressive cinematography, this new Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a far cry from that and might just be the worst film in the franchise. This new direct sequel of the 1974 original sequel is void of any fun, scares, or anything that resembles horror. What a shame.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is now streaming on Netflix
This new film was based on a story from Fede Alvarez (Of the Evil Dead remake and Don't Breathe fame), but later written by Chris Thomas Devlin and directed by David Blue Garcia, both of whom aim to make their stamp with this latest franchise entry. It seems like both Garcia and Devlin both watched the 2018 Halloween sequel from Blumhouse and took that same exact plotline and put it into Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where some decades later, the main movie monster, in this case, it's Leatherface, comes out of hiding, kills new people, and comes face to face with the one who got away. It's a bland, unoriginal, and lifeless attempt to do something creative and its end result is less than thrilling or fun.
This is supposed to be a direct sequel after the original film, which saw the young blonde Sally escaping with Leatherface chasing her with his chainsaw. The film cuts to the present day after a local documentary is airing a promo on television about those murders with a special cameo narrator. Now it seems like a small group of very young social media influencers wants to leave the big "bad" city of Austin and start a new life in the middle of nowhere rural Texas in this abandoned town with other like-minded millennials. The upsetting part about this film and a lot of other horror movies are how the writers make no attempt in creating characters who are worthy of surviving a horror movie. Every single character in this new Texas Chainsaw Massacre film is just awful where anyone who spends more than sixty seconds with them will wish for their bloody demise. Is it that difficult to make a character who is likable and worth rooting for? Not for these filmmakers.
As the group arrives in this creepy ghost town, their efforts to gentrify it into a hipster village go awry when one tenant is still living in one of the buildings. This tenant is an old sickly lady (the Borg goddess herself Alice Krige) who ran an orphanage over the years. Her roommate is Leatherface, who has seemingly become a decent human being for the last fifty years. But after an argument about her eviction with the meddling millennials, she croaks and Leatherface reverts to his old self. Conveniently, all of the hipsters' potential investors arrive in town via bus, which is just in time for some gas-fueled carnage.
If there was any political or social commentary on this travesty of a film, it's in this beat of the movie where Leatherface takes his chainsaw to cancel culture. These millennials who come upon this Texas town are rude, entitled, and pay no mind to history or the people who are still living there. They are quick to act and judge and never learn their lesson. Bluntly, the characters and the film are just mean-spirited through and through.
Meanwhile, just like Sarah Connor in T2 or Laurie Strode in the new Halloween films, the surviving Sally from the original film has become an ultimate badass Texas Ranger and is looking to face off with Leatherface once and for all. But instead of making a steel cage match between the two or really focusing the film on her, Sally (this time played by Olwen Fouere filling in for the late great Marilyn Burns) only serves as a side note leading to one of the cheesiest and blandest showdowns of all time. A genuine waste of a beloved character and story arc.
The other funny element to this agitating sequel is that the Franklin character this time around lasts longer than anyone would like and is more annoying than the original Franklin ever could be. Nobody thought it was possible but the filmmakers made it so. Also, the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre was indeed scary as hell and emoted a ton of terror without barely using a drop of blood. It didn't need to, due to its horrifying atmospherics inside that house and excellent direction from Tobe Hooper. Here, there are oceans of gratuitous blood for no reason. It's laughable in the worst way and makes no attempt to be scary.
The only decent aspect of this new film is there are some great shots from newbie cinematographer Ricardo Diaz. Certain elements and artistic angels of Leatherface in a pasture and with his chainsaw are truly haunting. Those great visuals and the last kill of the film are the only truly satisfying elements. This new Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the herpes of horror movies, a franchise that keeps coming back, doesn't offer much of anything, and becomes more frustrating with each new appearance. Hopefully one day, studios will get someone to make a film in this universe that is actually good. Till then, Skip This One. The best sequel is still Tobe Hooper's hysterical and gnarly 1986 follow-up, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is now streaming on Netflix