Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) Movie Review - Spoiler Free
The latest sequel that retcons this horror series, except for the original feature, sure gets to the carnage fast but leaves brains & plot fully aside. Yes, it is that stupid!
Director: David Blue Garcia
Cast: Elsie Fisher, Sarah Yarkin, Elpidia Carillo, Bill Duke, Shane Black, Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves, Jesse Ventura & Kevin Peter Hall.
Run Time: 83 min.
US Release: 18 February 2022 (Netflix)
UK Release: 18 February 2022 (Netflix)
German Release: 18 February 2022 (Netflix)
Honestly, I had no idea that this horror flick was even produced until my last day on vacation when I scrolled through Netflix's “New Releases” section, to find something to watch on the flight back and… Oh boy! Did I enjoy the sheer stupidity of these Gen Z characters! I mean, who the hell thought it to be a great idea, to create a whole movie that focuses on members of the woke generation getting massacred, then slapping the Texas Chainsaw title card on it? But its not just any Texas Chainsaw for that matter, copying the successful 2018 Halloween, by trying to be the true sequel to 1974s Toby Hopper’s original.
Anyway, enough introductory talk, let’s rip this trashy sequel a new one…
Close to 50 years after the incident of 1974, Leatherface returns to terrorize a group of idealistic young people, who aggressively disrupt his carefully shielded world, in a remote Texas town.
Written by Fedé Alvarez and longtime collaborator Rodo Sayagues, this Netflix horror production should have been much better than what was served on the network's streaming platform! Matter of fact is that this slasher-flick doesn’t have a story, there is no progression whatsoever. We are told about the basic idea of this group of friends, to buy a ghost town in rural Texas, to turn it into a Gen-Z haven, by auctioning off the houses to interested parties. Does it sound stupid? Well, that is because it is! Then something happens during the 20-minute mark that re-awakens Leatherface’s bloodlust, and from there on it turns into a 60-minute non-stop splatter fest.
There are ideas spewed around, which could have been built upon to tell a captivating story, yet none of them amounts to anything, being dropped pretty fast. What this movie really feels like, is as if Alvarez and Sayagues dumped all their hatred for the Gen-Z, into a script that masquerades as a horror film with director Blue Garcia bringing their vision onto screen, where the characters are left to be picked off by Leatherface. Though, who would disagree? The personas are so heinously written, that you start rooting for the mass-murdering psycho!
Once again, the writers made sure to depict these young entrepreneurs in all their hypocrisy. Be it by kicking an elderly lady out of her house, judging people before having gotten to know them, or thinking that opening up a hipster utopia in a rural area of red-state Texas, would bring anything else but misunderstanding between the folk that live there and this free-thinking new generation that is moving there. The theme of double standards is a recurring one with all young characters.
Before I move on to dissect the main personas, I just wanted to quickly talk about one surprisingly returning character from the first flick. There was no reason to bring that person back, especially for the short runtime on screen, as well as the disdainful ending it takes.
Mark Burnham taking on the mantle of Leatherface, is probably my favourite character in this whole movie. Quiet, with a hulking presence, he evokes great fear through seeming invincibility. He is a bloodthirsty mass murderer, yet you cannot stop rooting for him, as all other characters are either despicable or plain stupid!
Elsie Fisher was cast as Lila, the younger sister of Melody, as well as, the main character of the story. Lila has a tragic past, that left her psychologically scarred, yet it is never really used as character development, despite obtaining constant flashbacks of what she went through. Lila herself is the only likeable character, the audience can sympathise with her, especially when being pushed around by her older sister. Fisher herself gave a rather boring performance, she is too emo and looked blank into space most of the time.
Sarah Yarkin plays Melody, Lila’s older sister. She is a bossy control freak, always undermining her younger sister, in addition to, manipulating Lila by making her feel dependent on her. On top of that, she is rude and right out disrespectful. The writers try to include a redemption arc around the 20-minute mark, but her nastier personality traits keep resurfacing. Yarking gives an alright performance, even though she overacts quite a lot.
Jacob Latimore as Dante is definitely the least likeable character, He deserved being chopped up by Leatherface. He is rude and selfish, only thinking about closing his business deal. A real hypocrite in my book!
The camera work plus the effects are the best part of this picture! Trying to recapture the feel and aesthetic of Hooper’s ‘74 original, director of photography Ricardo Diaz succeeds, for the most part, even adding some creative shots himself, never cutting away from gore. Not all stick the landing, however, as there are also quite a few scenes that are extremely cheesy. The lighting is good, adding to the first 30 minutes a shimmering orange tone that suits the Texas area.
The effects are some of the best I have seen in a horror slasher, being for the most part, of a practical nature. The blood looks natural, prosthetics of broken hands or chopped-up jaws seem very realistic and the guts spewing out, when Leatherface chainsaws someone in the torso, had the maximum gore effect.
Verdict: So to summarise it all; the narrative is a joke, basically non-existent. A few intriguing sub-plots are introduced but ultimately never really explored, begging the question why they were even included. All of the characters, except for Lila, are absolutely dumb, which sadly includes someone, that shouldn’t even have been in this horror trash. I mean really, they all deserved to die! I did not root for anyone to come out alive! The slasher scenes are fun and brutal, they spared no expense to make this a bloody experience, and it probably is the only positive aspect of the film. The cinematography was alright, leaning into Tobe Hooper's original, while the effects were well made. So summing up, I don’t feel guilty, for giving this piece of trash of a so-called “retconning-sequel” a 2.0 out of 10 for camera and effects! It really is THAT horrible, save yourself some time, go out and have fun!
Do you agree with my review or do you feel different about this Texas Chainsaw instalment? Leave a comment to let me know. Thank you for reading!