The long-running Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise returns with its newest installment, (rather unoriginally titled) Texas Chainsaw Massacre, directed by David Blue Garcia, along with its flagship character and horror icon, Leatherface.
The film, which takes place fifty years after the carnage of the original, centres around a group of naive, enterprising influencers, Melody (Sarah Yarkin), Dante (Jacob Latimore), his unnamed girlfriend (Jessica Allain) and Melody’s reluctant younger sister, Lila (Elsie Fisher), who seek to rejuvenate the dead town of Harlow. But they accidentally awaken the old terror of Leatherface (played this time by Mark Burnham) and unleash a whole new wave of violence. Meanwhile, Sally Hardesty (now played by Olwen Fouéré following Marilyn Burns’ passing), the sole survivor of the original 1974 film prepares for a final showdown against the man who ruined her life.
This new chapter in the sanguinary saga is a mixed bag, to say the least. It suffers from many of the common faults of the franchise, such as a weak storyline and infuriatingly stupid characters. The continuity is so muddled that one might mistake it as undeniable proof of the Mandela theory. In many ways, its pitting of the aged final girl against the killer is derivative of the much better done Halloween (2018). ts attempts to be ‘woke’ by broaching serious issues such as gentrification, gun control and school shootings end up being tasteless instead of thought-provoking.
However, that’s not to say the film isn’t without its redeeming qualities. It has an anxiety-inducing score, graciously provided by Colin Stetson of Hereditary (2018) and The Colour from Out of Space (2019) fame, which perfectly evokes the dread of the original. Its beautiful cinematography, showcasing the rural Texas landscape, contrasts to the unrelenting horror it presents. The film showcases some of the most brutal violence ever seen in the franchise. One scene in particular, involving Leatherface and a bus full of gormless social media personalities is the best I’ve seen since the cornfield rave massacre in Freddy vs. Jason (2003). Olwen Fouéré makes for an excellent Sally Hardesty, perfectly capturing her deep, unspoken trauma behind her grizzled mask. The sisterly relationship between the main protagonists, Melody and Lila, is genuinely engaging too as they struggle to survive the unfolding butchery.
Despite what many would consider to the overdone nature of the franchise, it still manages to pull a few brutal punches. And with the sequel it sets up in the end, it’s safe to say it won’t be the last the world sees of Leatherface.
2 thoughts on “Movie Review- Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)”
Nice review. Overdone is the perfect term for a franchise like TCM that’s had three hard reboots. I was on board with the trailer for this until the bus scene. It reminded me of Halloween Kills, when Myers takes out an entire fire rescue team and vigilante mob by himself, two major jumping the shark moments for me. These studios are trading in what made the originals great for massive body counts. Tobe Hooper’s original had a lot of macabre imagery but very, very little blood. It was the gritty style and atmosphere that affected people. You can’t replicate that on a $20 million budget.
Agreed. The first Texas Chainsaw movie is inimitable in terms of sheer dread. You don’t just get that in high production horror movies anymore.
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