David Blue Garcia
Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Jacob Latimore, Mark Burnham, Moe Dunford, Olwen Fouéré, Alice Krige, Jessica Allain, Nell Hudson, Sam Douglas, William Hope and Jolyon Coy
After nearly 50 years of hiding, Leatherface returns to terrorise a group of idealistic young friends who accidentally disrupt his carefully shielded world in a remote Texas town.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is written by Chris Thomas Devlin and is directed by David Blue Garcia. The film focuses on Melody, her teenage sister Lilia, and their friends Dante and Ruth, as they are making their way to the remote town of Harlow, Texas to start an idealistic new business venture. But their dream soon turns into a waking nightmare when they accidentally disrupt the home of Leatherface, the deranged serial killer whose blood-soaked legacy continues to haunt the area’s residents, including Sally Hardesty, the sole survivor of his infamous massacre nearly fifty years ago who’s hell-bent on seeking revenge.
It’s been about five years since we’ve had a film in the franchise be released and while there was a certain amount of intrigue initially with the casting, but then that began to vanish once I started to read about how production started to run into some issues, such as the initial directors of the film left the project in the first week of production in Bulgaria, and then Legendary had sold the film onto Netflix due to negative test screenings. That being said, I gave the film and chance and there are certain elements I thought the film done well, such as the use of practical effects when it comes to the gore, one that particularly stood out was someone having a mangled face, that was impressive looking.
If you’re just here for the deaths and gore, then you certainly get your filling here with this film, but for the story to get us there and get going is a bit eccentric, as we follow these group of young people arriving in the somewhat abandoned area of Harlow, looking to auction off some real estate and have the area filled with like-minded millennials. Once the killing does start, we have another sub-plot of how the survivor of the original film is now out for vengeance against Leatherface and I’m wondering if that was part of the story originally, or if it was tacked on due to the success of the Halloween revival?
While the stories don’t really balance well, what hurts the film the most is how I don’t care nor root for any of the characters. They do create an interesting moral shade of grey in how a situation leads to Leatherface coming out, I did like that, but in the first act the group are unlikable, and while one is giving a brief (in a few flashbacks) backstory of surviving a mass shooting, there’s not much else depth to the rest. The final act also felt overlong, believe it or not, and ultimately unsatisfying considering how it just dragged out and concluded. The cast do the best with what the material they have to deal with, Elsie Fisher is fine as younger sister Lila to Sarah Yarkin’s Melody, who also gives a fine performance. God bless Olwen Fouéré as I felt she was wasted here especially as a legacy character in the franchise.
Whilst the practical effects for the blood and gore are effectively used here, having an overkill of one-dimensional, unlike characters does make Texas Chainsaw Massacre feel dull towards the end, even with its short runtime.