At long last the ninth installment of the very long awaited Texas Chainsaw Massacre "requel" is here baring the same title; yet, not quite beholding the same reputation. And don't you worry I'll get there, but let me first inform you that it is 3:45 am as I write this, meaning I got up at 2 am to watch the film at the literal minute it was released. Was this film worth 4 hours of sleep? For some maybe so, and for others not so much. Well, for the sanctity of the franchise I want to do my due diligence in giving a very in depth official review of the movie by watching the film once more and conducting a decision making matrix that way, but until then, allow me to give you some first impressions...
The official trailer, which I reviewed just a few weeks ago here, tells you the same thing the first fifteen minutes does leaving you with only an hour of movie left... four young ambitious and optimistic city slickers buy a ghost town that they've endorsed via social media in hopes to attract investors. It works. Other entrepreneurs travel buy bus to participate in an auction for their share of the estate.
Okay, I'll give credit where its due. That hour left behind for you is filled with a type of action that is... impressive... and beholds similarities to its more elite original predecessor in that way. Uh oh, did I give it away? Of course its not as good as the 1974 original. Please, read that trailer review. This film didn't stand a chance.
But I digress. This may be the most barbaric and ruthless form of Leatherface we have ever seen. He doesn't seem to fetishize the kill with slow dramatic buildups for a sudden strike, and even though I am a huge fan of the 2003 and 2006 remake and sequel, seemed to be a new idea introduced in those adaptations that should probably remain in the era. This kind of Leatherface made me feel closer to home as if this truly was the man behind the mask almost 50 years ago. He moved a lot like him, he dehumanized just like him, and best of all... He killed like him.
However, I wish some of the greatest kills in the entire franchise (and I mean it) could trump some of this movies greatest flaws. The dialogue is... hard to listen to. The script doesn't do the sub-par actors any credit either. I believe the film wanted to make an attempt to address gun violence and the long-lasting effects school shootings have on children, but I just wasn't buying it, and I'm not even sure if this is the movie to bring up that kind of issue. I'm concerned that we don't really see a progressive idea of appropriate grief and overcoming circumstances, but more of replacing our prior fears and anxieties with sledge hammers and chainsaws.
What true fans really want to know is how the film manages to honor or dishonor Sally Hardesty, and I think you should... uh... well... I'll just say it certainly isn't preserving the most valued aspects of the original. I'm not even sure if Sally's contribution to the film is necessary aside from marketing to hardcore horror fans or your cool grandparents, but through it all, its not worth totally butchering her character and dismantling the legacy she created for the fans to understand the everlasting grip the Sawyers have on those they prey on.
In the end, I'm conflicted with that brief one hour and twenty-two minutes. There are moments that I'm stunned with the cinematography and efforts that went into making this, at times, gorgeous film. However, I'm disgruntled by the haze in the continuity and the decisions made to progress the story. I want to love it, but upon first watch, I can't. Its something I'll continue to ponder on throughout the day and will give you every little detail I can find on my official review coming out later this weekend!