The new Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) is not good. Frustrating and misguided from start to finish. TCM tries to add legacy characters and social commentary. Sadly, the mixture of these themes is incoherent. Actors Elsie Fisher and Sarah Yarkin are the only good; everything else is bad.
I think I might be able to say that Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) will go down as one of the most disappointing sequels to come out this year, and it's only February. TCM squanders any meaningful potential for extreme gore and a rather pointless plot. The 1974 original (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is known as one of the best horror films ever made, and for good reason. The late writer-director Tobe Hooper's 70s slasher flick was incredibly effective: scary, nerve-racking, and claustrophobic. All of this was done by compelling documentary-style camerawork. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) became one of the most influential slasher films for a generation. Hooper even limited the quantity of onscreen gore. A lot of the kills happened off-screen, making it even scarier because you knew what was happening. This style of horror sent chills down your spine from start to finish.
Now, fast forward through all of the failed sequels, remakes, and reboots to good 'ole Leatherface, which brings us to 2022. 50-years after the original, Netflix decided to take from the 2018 Halloween (written by David Gordon Green and Danny McBride) playbook. 2018's Halloween completely ignored all of the previous sequels. Instead, it was a direct follow-up to the 1978 original. Gordon Green and McBride brought back Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), a legacy character from the original, who has been living with trauma ever since her first encounter with Michael Myers. 2018's Halloween was done right. We had characters that we cared about and bone-chilling scares layered on top. 2022's TCM tries to do this by bringing back the character of Sally Hardesty. Now, actress Marilyn Burns (who played Sally in the original) passed away in 2014. Actress Olwen Fouéré took up the helm of Sally, but her character is more of an afterthought in this movie. Fouéré is not really around until the plot needs her, and then her character is completely wasted.
If you would have taken out Sally's part in this movie, it would not have changed anything major. That's how pointless her character really is in this horror flick. So, I cannot even say that TCM is a legacy sequel because it isn't. TCM might play those cards in the trailers, but it's all a gimmick. Our story follows a group of youthful entrepreneurs heading to a small abandoned Texas town, Harlow. The group plans to auction off the town properties to create a trendy and hip utopia? Except, scriptwriter Chris Thomas Devlin glosses over many of these details. More or less, the setting is just to get a large group of Instagram influencers (I kid you not) to be trapped and slaughtered. Nice. Director David Blue Garcia tries to dabble with modern times, incorporating themes like school shootings, gentrification, and gun control. However, these topics are just sprinkled on top, adding nothing to the plot. They are just there. Moving on, an elderly woman (Alice Krige) and Leatherface (Mark Burnham) are still occupants of the town's orphanage.
One thing leads to another, yada yada yada, the old lady dies, and Leatherface is pissed. Cue Leatherface going on a rampage-killing spree throughout the town. All of the characters in this movie make stupid and bad choices, one after the other. I was frustrated with the writing decisions for these poor characters. They deserved better writing. Actors Elsie Fisher and Sarah Yarkin were the only small glimmers of hope throughout this bloodbath. Fisher and Yarkin provided some solid acting chops with the shoddy material they were given. So, if you are into extreme gore, a pointless plot, and throw-away characters, this might be the movie for you. However, I loathed this experience, all 81-minutes of it. Leatherface deserved better. TCM slaughters any potential this movie could have had, just like how they had Leatherface slaughter those Instagram influencers on the bus. Brutal, gory, and lazy. "Look how they [Netflix] massacred my Leatherface".
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is rated R (Restricted) Gore | Strong Bloody Horror Violence | Language.
Stream it on Netflix, if you dare.
Directed by David Blue Garcia
Starring Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Mark Burnham, Moe Dunford, Nell Hudson, Jessica Allain, Olwen Fouéré, Jacob Latimore, and Alice Krige.
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