Updated: Feb 1
After nearly 50 years, Leatherface has returned to bring terror to a new group of optimistic teenagers who find a way to interrupt his ideally quiet world in a remote Texas town. How long will this threat remain? Who will survive and what will be left of them? How will this 65+ year senior citizen bare a chainsaw once more?
It is with so much vigor and poise that I exclaim to you how much of a fan I am of the original 1974 film, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Yes, chainsaw was indeed two words in 1974... at least to Tobe Hooper). This classic lives in the foreboding shadow of the destructive Vietnam War times in the midst of an economic crisis like none other. It reflects our reality, our fears, and unfortunate truths. This film has been, and will be for a long time, my favorite horror movie.
Today, however, what room is there for another Texas Chainsaw Massacre? This is literally the NINTH MOVIE IN THE FRANCHISE. Aren't we all tired of remakes? Maybe so, or maybe its time for another "requel" in the horror community. Either way, whether you like it or not, this movie is here to stay... this time... I think... Let's break down the official Netflix trailer!
The scene opens with a bang! Like, a literal bang. A young woman rams a pickup into a much larger truck setting dormant on some farm land. Bloodied, she peers her head out the window in fear. The camera pans out to an overgrown field where a bellowing cry is heard in the distance assuming to be the girl from the accident. Seconds go by. Leatherface rises above the upstanding plant life revealing himself, masked.
We're given a traditional small town entrance scene where the wheels meet the highway introducing the city limits sign of Harlow, which is described as a ghost town of less than two thousand people. The younglings describe this town as "a chance for people to start fresh somewhere... somewhere safe." Oh Melody, but it isn't safe at all is it?
The kids wonder into someone's house uninvited for some weird reason where a woman warns them that they shouldn't be there. Next, a sequence of flashing scenes of the aimless teens and a brief moment where Leatherface uses his traditional sledge hammer in a very traditional way followed by Melody hiding under the bed in silence. A chainsaw drops before her eyes.
We then see an elderly blonde woman on the phone with an unknown voice, with angst, say, "Sally... I'm afraid your old friend's back." Laurie, uh, I mean Sally gives her reason for being that she has been waiting fifty years to see "him" again. One of the young ladies asks who "him" may be. She replies, "Leatherface" as he appears most clearly on camera with his skinned mask for the first time.
A few more flashing scenes ensue including the iconic shot you've seen regarding this film (pictured below). The swift sequence of events subside when Leatherface walks onto what appears to be a bus wielding his chainsaw. Many young people in fear for their life pull out their cell phones and record as one man up front says with confidence. "Try anything and you're cancelled, bro." Leatherface revs his chainsaw and begins a killing spree.
THOUGHTS ON THE TRAILER
Okay, there is much to unpack here, but first, allow me to explain what it has taken to get this movie out this February. On August 24, 2020, Ryan and Andy Tohill (original directors) had left the project behind during the film's first week of production. They were replaced by David Blue Garcia who doesn't have much under his belt other than a 2018 film, Tejano, which won a few small festival awards. In lieu of this, early test screenings were overwhelmingly awful.
In fact, the audience reports were so astounding that in August of last year, Legendary Pictures chose not to release the film and sold the rights to Netflix. This news acted with haste all over the internet where rumors of an illogical plot, weak character development, and a disrespect for the original film wiggled their way in. It didn't take long for the popular horror fan page, Dreadit, to put in their own two cents of disappointment and low expectations. I'm afraid I can't blame them. Aside from the 2003 remake that still hasn't reached a consensus of quality in today's world, there hasn't been a good Texas Chainsaw Massacre since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 in 1986. But I digress. I want to give my thoughts on the trailer despite the negative energy, right?
I think the way the trailer opens is excellent. One of my favorite moments of the entire trailer is when we see Leatherface for the first time, ascending from the field of yellows and golds. It gives us this sense of danger from the start, but still conveys Leatherface to be a book that we've only read the first page on with so much more to read about. There's an eeriness about him that is still concealing the monster he truly is. The introduction of the characters is overused: a small town, an overdone reason for the group to be there, the one logical character that knows there's definitely something wrong with this place, etc. I can infer that this would have a lot to do with the negative reviews on plot points. We've seen this setup a thousand times. It communicates to me that this film has no desire to bring me original content and is lazy, but lets continue to unfold these layers, shall we?
Nope, unoriginal. Why did they all just wander into someone's house? It is 2022! This film has made sure that we understand that we are not in 1974 anymore. You certainly never just walk into a strangers home. I cannot wait to see how this is explained in the entirety of the film. However, I must say I'm glad they went in. The short blow to the head with the sledge looked raw and well done. This displays the uncut and ruthless Leatherface I always wanted to see in subsequent films of the 1974 gold mine. To me, that hit gave me a sense of honor towards the original with a hint of modern day gruesomeness that we young people love to see.
Now, not that you need me to tell you this, but... Sally is just another Laurie Strode or Sydney Prescott. She's been terrorized to the point of plotting her revenge for all of these years to bring on more girl power into the horror industry, but ultimately just reminds us that the script is lazy, saw the success of Halloween 2018, and attempted to capitalize on it. Unfortunately, that trope has been exhausted already. This bothers me because Sally has always been the original "Scream Queen" in my eyes. She wasn't the first, but she was the best! When she ran from Leatherface I believed her. She was terrified. But now, she... is Laurie... and that's dishonoring the original film.
Okay, I typically don't entertain this "relevant" humor as it tends to not age very well, but the bus scene literally made me laugh out loud. This appeals to a gen z audience while knocking them down a peg at the same time. Allowing for older generations to take part in the joke as Leatherface reminds everyone on board - he cannot be cancelled.
This really was my favorite part of the entire trailer. I always dreamed of a time where Leatherface could be in public just wreaking havoc until a much more powerful adversary, such as the police or military, could actually stop him. Now we're finally getting it, and I must say, it looks fantastic. Cinematically, this film looks beautiful. This $20,000,000 looks like it was spread accordingly. It continues to give you that dirty feel of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie while remaining sleek and modern.
Whether this movie makes any money, appeases the long term fans, or generates a new generation of followers... I am unsure. I'll also admit that after this trailer, I'm with the internet. I don't believe this movie will do well. After all of the challenges, the negative feedback and now this trailer, I don't have much faith. The trailer wasn't great. Sure, it had some pretty awesome scenes and displayed a beautiful modern cinematography style, but it isn't great.
But who cares what I think? What say you? Too disgusted by what you already know to give it a shot here in a few weeks? Eager to see another slasher classic redone in a modern day climate? Either way, I will be watching this film on February 18th and look forward to sharing my final thoughts that same evening!