Wow! What a cinematic experience we all just had filled with a rapid 82 minutes of thrills, kills, and aimless plot that lacks any kind of direction or thirty seconds of thought before spending $20,000,000 in production. Yeah, this one was exactly what you thought it would be - a couple of teenagers getting hacked to pieces by a chainsaw and bludgeoned to death by a sledgehammer. With this, we have no qualms, but its how absurd and dishonorable it is towards the original 1974 film. If you want to make a sequel to the original you have to do what Halloween (2018) did... No, no, no, not exactly what Halloween did! The whole vengeful final girl thing has been done, done well, and has served its time. However, if you want to take a stab at it maybe give your film some originality, aye?
Okay, I am being a little too frivolous with my introduction. While David Blue Garcia's Texas Chainsaw Massacre certainly deserves some hostility and condemnation, its earned itself a few merits along the way. This may very well be the most brutal Leatherface we have ever seen. He isn't brutal like in the 2003 and 2006 remake with the butcher-like carving, but brutal in the way a shark attacks - he sees his prey and he goes for it. Its a pure and simple kind of horror that certainly doesn't subside on the blood and gore.
Cinematically, I think its beautifully shot. It doesn't feel cheap and like they took their budget a long-way to achieve maximum quality in post-production. Even the score, that fits each scene as its own individual piece, isn't talked about enough as a memorable part of the whole. Although, that could be due to the overwhelmingly distasteful moments that seem to cover the good moments like an ugly umbrella. What am I really saying here? Well. allow me to give you the good, the bad, and the ugly on my official Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) review.
This is typically when I would break down the trailer for you, but I've already done that. I review the trailer here where I went into some details about the film that I won't include in my review for the sake of avoiding redundancy. If you decide not to read it, here are the results: its good, like surprisingly scary good.
The movie opens up panning out from the TV advertising one of those 60 minute type unsolved true-crime documentaries based on the events of the original 1974 film. We find out the only survivor, Sally Hardesty (Olwen Fouéré), became a ranger and has been living a more secluded lifestyle.
Mel (Sarah Yarkin), accompanied by her sister Lila (Elsie Fisher), and Dante (Jacob Latimore), accompanied by his fiancé Ruth (Nell Hudson), had somehow purchased an entire town as wealthy young adults. With high hopes to auction off old dilapidated homes and businesses to investors in an auction with hopes to revitalize the town and escape the big city life, the group makes it to Harlow, Texas.
Upon arrival they meet their contractor, Richter (Moe Dunford), who's a truck riding, small town gun-slinger. He informs the group he did as much work to clean up the town in the past week since that is all the time he had. However, there is a confederate flag hanging from the town orphanage. In fear that this may appear unattractive to investors, they go inside to remove it from the window.
They can't get get to the flag, but instead they find an elderly lady who walks around with an oxygen tank. Dante and Mel remind her that the bank reclaimed the property and that she can't live there. I guess the tension forces her to need some oxygen. Due to the commotion, a large silhouette of a man comes down from the stairs to glare at the incident. The lady assures him that everything is fine and that he can go back to his room. The police come to remove the woman, but she vomits and ends up in an ambulance instead. Ruth wants to make sure she is okay and rides the ambulance alongside the man from upstairs and the woman falling victim to a heart attack.
The woman dies and the elderly man gets upset and kills everyone in the ambulance. They crash in a dead sunflower field leaving only Ruth alive in the front passenger seat calling for help over the radio. The attacker skins the old lady's face and uses it as a mask and guts Ruth ultimately killing her. Someone who knows Sally heard the call on the radio and informs her that Leatherface is back.
Lila enters Richter's shop where she finds his rifle and she tells him about being attacked in a school shooting. Mel is upset about the elderly lady's death and finds Lila at Richter's and they decide to leave. Richter takes the keys to the car as well as the keys to the bus that the investors came on. He demands that Dante and Mel show them that they have the deed to the house. They can't find it so they search the orphanage to see if she has one. She does. Leatherface appears behind Dante and cuts his jaw open with a butcher knife.
Mel hides under a bed upstairs while investors and attendees are having a party outside. It begins to rain and they all scurry inside the bus they arrived on. Leatherface makes his way upstairs in the room with Mel and breaks the wall with a sledgehammer to reveal his chainsaw. He starts it with a few pulls by some miracle of movie magic.
Meanwhile, Dante, still alive, runs outside of the orphanage to be found by Richter and Catherine from the bank. Richter goes inside the house to kill Leatherface I guess. He tells Catherine to call the cops and stay inside the bus with everyone else. She decides not to tell anyone what she saw and I guess she didn't call the police either because they never do show up.
Richter takes a few shots to the head with a sledgehammer right at the bedside where Mel hides. He manages to grab the keys from his belt to put them in his hands so that she can have easy access to them without Leatherface noticing. She grabs them and LITERALLY JUMPS DOWNSTAIRS so that Leatherface can hear her. He launches his sledgehammer at her sending her straight through the wall. He attacks her with the chainsaw as she traverses through the crawlspace under the floors. Lila shows up with perfect timing to help her escape.
The two girls run down the street into the bus where the famous line, "Try anything and you're cancelled bro" takes place and Leatherface absolutely annihilates everyone on the murder car. The event taking place brings Lila back to that day of the school shooting. Mel and Lila are the only ones who escape by using the sunroof. Sally Hardesty picks up the girls on the road. She gives a Laurie Strode speech and locks them in her car as bait, which was rude.
Sally approaches Leatherface in the orphanage with a shotgun, asks if he remembers her, and they have a staring contest. Leatherface grabs his chainsaw and leaves, but Sally still thinks they're having a staring contest. He casually leaves and attacks the girls in the car. Sally shoots him in the shoulder. Sally throws the girls the keys to leave, but before they can put they're foot on the pedal, Leatherface and Sally have a shotgun/chainsaw fight and Sally loses. The girl wreck the car trying to run over Leatherface.
Mel gets a piece of the wreckage stuck in her leg. Lila leaves before Leatherface approaches, but returns as a distraction to save her sister. Sally, on her deathbed takes two more shots at Leatherface landing them both. Before passing, Sally motivates Lila to take her shotgun and attempt to kill Leatherface.
Mel addresses her wound to catch up with her sister. Lila loses the shotgun while fighting Leatherface, and before he can kill her, Mel jumps on his back as a distraction. Lila shoots him a few times while Mel uppercuts softly with the chainsaw. I assume the movie wants us to believe he's dead for the surprise ending.
Lila and Mel escape in their car via autopilot. Leatherface appears 'from out of nowhere' and pulls Mel out of the vehicle and decapitates her. Lila screams as she is taken away by the autopilot.
THOUGHTS ON THE FILM
Well... Here we go... I mentioned in my first thoughts post how the first fifteen minutes of the movie are contents from the trailer ultimately leaving you with an hour of plot and eight minutes of credits. With that being said, there isn't much room to develop a story or grow an attachment to the characters. In fact, those first fifteen minutes were not just disingenuous in creating a connection, but actually convinced me to hate them. I feel as though I've watched enough movies to know when I'm supposed to hate the characters and this is not one of those movies, but the characters are so exhausting you're practically begging for them to die.
They all have some kind of attitude problem or possess some kind of overly idealistic idea of their future for the world to where its invasive to the people of Harlow to the extent that they kill an elderly woman and lead an entire bus of people to the slaughter. I'm all for being progressive, but these characters bare that kind of aggression that makes progressives look bad.
I always wondered, after watching the trailer, how they were going to justify wandering into Leatherface's home like that. I have to admit, that's a very believable event to take place, that is, if you are buying an entire town. You buy all of the property, but manage to miss one - I could see it. This really just gives the group a reason to run into Leatherface, and its well done in my opinion.
I've seen a lot of discussion on how an approximately thirty year old man ends up in an orphanage. I'm not sure if this is that far-fetched in my mind either. This is a small town so how many orphans can they really have? In lieu of that, we all know that Leatherface has some kind of mental instability that grinded his maturity to a halt at age twelve. Nevertheless, I could see how an orphanage could take him in to stay for almost fifty years.
I'm also not too sure as to why anyone felt that they had to go with the lady at the orphanage to the hospital. Her "boy" went with her so would she really want someone who gave her a heart attack to tag along? My biggest complaint from this moment is how they casually reveal the man behind the mask. Doing it so matter-of-factly in the ambulance takes away how menacing Leatherface can be.
This is the first kill by Leatherface in the movie and its gnarly and very creative. To take an officer by the arm and cause a compound fracture to stab him in the neck is very unique and different. This part of the movie I am very grateful for. Shooting the officer was bloody, but dramatic, but in a Texas Chainsaw movie, I'm not bothered by that one bit. In fact, I encourage it. Ruth's death wasn't anything special. The only problem is that this was supposed to be the first really suspenseful scene and, for some reason, I didn't feel it. Whether that was because of the face reveal or the camera angle, I just wasn't in fear and that's a reoccurring theme of the movie unfortunately.
Even so, when discussing the visual appeal of the film, Leatherface in the field of dead sunflowers is what takes the cake in this cinema experience. The way the colors contrast his face so subtly and normalize his movements is perfect for the tone of the film. There are many shots like this such as how the lighting on the bus mystifies the murder spree or how the darkness almost seems to outline the rest of the characters in the upstairs bedroom. I've never made a film so I'm no expert, but I can still appreciate the obvious - this film just looks good.
Lila's school shooting interaction with Richter is so cheesy its hard to feel bad for her especially after she bullies him because of the car he drives. Again, this is that example of poor attitudes amongst the group that is more exhausting than it is something that makes me want to fix the environment. I hate what she went through and its very tragic, but its also confusing on what the message is. I can't tell if they want us to stay away from guns or buy a shotgun today just in case. I think this is to be more about Lila's development than school shootings, but it just doesn't seem like the appropriate medium for this kind of topic.
Sally's introduction was fine. To me, it's another Halloween adaptation which I don't completely hate, but when its a direct copycat, it dishonors how original the 1974 film was which was its first offense: ruining one of the most original films of all-time with so much unoriginality.
Leatherface attacking Dante is the epitome of rage. The way he appears behind him in the reflection of aged kitchen pots and pans is eerie, but it happens all so fast I am once again fearing no evil as Sally would say. Although, to its credit, this scene is magnificently violent. I love slashers and the over-the-top blood splatter is completely necessary and I love it. Richter's death is similar and is probably the hardest to watch for some people. If you hadn't seen the trailer you may not had seen this coming. I think the reason why it is so physically cringe is that it feels so real as we get to see many of the blows land on his head since the camera goes back and forth from his head and back to Leatherface's swing. There are many scenes in cinema, horror especially, where we get to see this kind of kill, but its usually just the aftermath. But this time, we got to watch almost the entire event take place and I really like that.
With that said, let me address two major plot problems I have with this movie that I believe have no plausible answer other than, "it keeps the movie going". HOW DID THE CHAINSAW START SO EASILY? It's probably been sitting in that wall, filled with at least 70's gas for almost fifty years. There is no way Leatherface fixed that mess without addressing that carburetor, and maybe he did, but if he did, the guy just earned the Guinness World Record for fastest carburetor rebuild.
Also, how do you see half of someone's face falling off and just sit on that bus quietly as you wait to get some answers, Catherine from the bank? The only thing I can think of is she didn't want to frighten the new investors, but you also did just watch some guys jaw hanging off of his face. The reality is, they didn't think that scene through.
Back in the bedroom, why does Mel jump downstairs instead of walking like a normal person? Was there a sense of fear that the floor would creak and she would be heard? If so, than why stomp from four feet in the air to the ground to take the sound waves of every creek in the steps you could've made in ten years and make it into one ultimate Kamehameha echo within the house.
Although, I'm glad this happened because it allowed for one of the most comical moments of the entire movie. That sledgehammer throw is not only surprising, but painful to watch in a, "Thank God that isn't me" kind of way. I also find the chainsaw through the floor thing kind of fun. It reminds me of that similar scene in Friday the 13th (2009) when Jason stabs his machete through the floor to attack those beneath his feet. Its also nice to see a very annoying character get feces on their face. It was like icing on the murder cake.
The bus scene may possibly be the most controversial scene in the entire film. Though I'm going to divide the room a little, I must confess, its my favorite scene in those 82 minutes. I've waited years for a scene where Leatherface can just go nuts on a whole town of people. Plus, I think the "Do anything and you're cancelled" scene is hilarious. I'm not typically appeased by the cultural humor, but this one got a chuckle out of me. It won't age well, but when the entire film isn't well received by the general public, why not?
The kills are great in this. Leatherface literally scoops people up into the air with his chainsaw and its my new desktop background. It makes him look like a supervillain and that is a very cool touch. We also get some pretty detailed depictions of people getting cut in half, some from shoulder to hip and others across the midsection, which if you haven't seen a Texas Chainsaw film before sounds pretty atypical, but it truly isn't. Getting to see this rampage go down for a few seconds and for pools of blood to flood the bathroom tells me that we've just witnessed a massacre.
This is when the film ultimately loses me. I'm just not sure if the 1974 Sally I know would just use two other girls as bait to bare witness to the same terroristic behavior that led to her trauma just so that she can land the kill herself. This was the film's second offense of dishonoring the original: they showed a different side of Sally that was unreasonable, impractical, and hated.
Yeah, the 'say my name' scene... Goodness... Well, this man has probably murdered dozens of people and hasn't murdered billions so why in the world would your face stick around in his psychopathic brain? The guy has never said a complete sentence in two movies so why would your name be the first? I hate that Sally's avenger mission turned into something so selfish and self-righteous which ultimately led to the third offense: that Laurie Strode type female lead just led the lambs to the slaughter, and still died.
Three strikes, you're out!
Her death, however, was very cool with the exception that Leatherface blocks bullet spray with his chainsaw. Notwithstanding, I just love when Leatherface lifts people up like that. Its such a supervillain moment that it feels iconic as it runs on replay in my head. With all of that being said, are they really ever dead? Well, they should be considering he just 'chainsawed' her insides out, but how else were they going to get Lila back out there, huh?
But I digress. The final fight is okay. I like that moment of defeat Lila feels after Leatherface kicks the shotgun away. Its the symbol of how she has been fighting ever since that dreadful school shooting, but no matter what she does to deal with her past, the solution gets kicked away. Yet, her sister saves the day allowing Laurie and Allyso... I mean Lila and Mel to team up, shotgun in the hands of one and chainsaw in the hands of another. Although that chainsaw seems useless if you're only going to scrape his chin, doesn't it?
Mel has a wounded Leatherface before her eyes and manages to use his chainsaw in the most 'I don't want to hurt you, but you need to leave' kind of way possible. Its a poor attempt of a cash grab to create room for a sequel for a movie people won't want to see. I hate the end of that fight and I think it deserves the enmity it receives.
Nonetheless, it all comes together in the end, doesn't it? That narrowing escape just didn't quite hit the mark when Leatherface takes a flesh wound. I know some found the Mel's decapitation scene to be quite comical, and in some moments it was with the whole autopilot thing and the way Mel's bodiless facial expression changes, but I also found it to be one of the more frightening moments of the film. The way he displays her head towards Lila as a trophy just to say, "look what I did" gives me chills and is why I like this scene since the rest of the movie couldn't do that for me. This is another really controversial scene, but I think its a good ending for a fun slasher flick
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Alright, since this film canonizes itself as the direct sequel to Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), I would like to rate it very similarly. The original is my favorite film of all-time and that is no exaggeration. I love that movie. It is the ultimate ten on disturbance and suspense on the decision making matrix so I wanted to heavily grade this movie in the same way.
I felt the first film was always very suspenseful, especially when it came to the dinner scene. Even watching it for the hundredth time and knowing what will happen next, it still feels like it will change on me somehow. That is because the movie times its suspense build up and release so perfectly. Though, I know this film couldn't have that classic cabalistic dinner scene. It attempted a few suspenseful moments such as Ruth's death in the ambulance as we anticipated when and where Leatherface would appear. The problem with that was, we all knew when and where Leatherface would come from which is the opposite of what a good suspenseful moment can supply you with. Other than that scene there is the moment Mel is under the bed hiding from Leatherface. This took my rating from a 1 to a 2. If it wasn't for the final ending scene I wouldn't be able to give it a 3 at 20%. I feel strongly that the reason why I can't go any higher either is because I saw all of these scenes in the trailer, with the exclusion of the ending, which was great to build excitement for the upcoming film, but its always a big no go from me to give out your strongest dish on the sample plate.
Now, to make an amazing Texas Chainsaw movie you have to be disturbed. That has to be the first thing that comes to your mind because the first film is disturbing from the first hitchhiker scene, to when we first meet Leatherface and he slams that door, to the dinner scene - this movie had to be disturbing and it wasn't. Was it gory? Of course, and that's something I wanted to see in this film, but it can't be the disturbance factor. It can contribute to it, but simply can't be it. The original didn't need the blood so the fact that the disturbance element was to come from blood in 2022 just wasn't going to work. disturbance gets a 3 from me at 40% and gore got an 8 from me at only 15%. While the gore was great and I looked forward to a little gore, I genuinely wanted to feel fear and I couldn't.
I'll discuss plot and twists together since they were both, well, really shallow. The plot just didn't come together well, and maybe that had to do with the time allotted, but it can make the movie hard to enjoy as a slasher because of it. While many slashers tend to lack a good plot, this film lacks a plot that's cohesive and comprehensible. In lieu of that, ruining Sally's character was a huge part of dishonoring the film and that ruins it for me. At the same time, I want to give credit for the new idea of having these young people by a town, putting Leatherface in an orphanage, boosting his age 400%, etc. Even if we all didn't like some of those elements, we're constantly hearing from horror fans about making original content and someone finally did... in a way... so I want to give extra credit there. I'll give the plot a 5 at 15%.
Twists get a 2 at 5%. Its a Texas Chainsaw movie. Again, I don't expect my mind to be blown. I just want to be disturbed. Nothing surprised me except for maybe Leatherface's awesome ranged attacks. That was worth moving from a 1 to a 2.
You all know I'm very critical on the jumpscares, and this movie doesn't get an exception just because I'm a huge fan of the franchise. The jumpscares are cheap and sub-par. Ruth's death scene is a great example. The camera was set up too perfectly to align her head with the window behind her for Leatherface to not be there when she turned. Its all standard horror movie stuff and it got very old five years ago. It gets a 3 at 10% since who really needs jumpscares anymore?
My rating surprised me, to an extent, in the end. It was a little lower than I expected because I truly felt like there were moments I was having stupid slasher fun, but the matrix is right on this one. That disturbance and suspense factor just wasn't there and it ruins the movie. I expected a 5 and got a 3.75. While it being lower than expected surprised me, I am not surprised this movie ended up getting that low of a rating as that is about what I expected before tuning into Netflix.
This movie is pretty tough to watch. The dialogue can be cringe and the characters are disdainful and stereotypical. The plot is dishonorable to its roots and ill-thought out in its process. It doesn't deliver the most loved aspects that the original Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel classic brought us, but if you want to throw all of those things away and just put on a dumb slasher movie on in the background than you should do it. If you look at the kills, the gore, the splatter, and the absurdity, its kind of fun. Maybe we the fans are overlooking this and it wasn't to be more than a crazy slasher film. Either way, who really cares what I think, right? What do you have to say?
YOU MAY NOT KNOW
The feces used on Sarah Larkin when Leatherface cuts through the plumbing is real feces.
In August of 2020, the initial directors and brothers, Andy and Ryan Tohill, split from the production within the first week of filming in Bulgaria where David Blue Garcia would later take their place.
The pre-screenings for the film were not well received; therefore, it wasn't given a theatrical release and was instead sold to Netflix.
There's a useless end-credit scene where Leatherface walks towards his old home.