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Friday, February 18, 2022

Netflix’s ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Review – This One Brings Gnarly Gore and Rough Storytelling

Bloody Disgusting’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre review is spoiler-free.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise never bothered much with continuity. Various sequels, reboots, and prequels ignored timelines, family members, plot points, and tone. The sole constant, of course, is Leatherface. The latest entry ignores everything that came after Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic, picking up almost five decades later with final girl Sally Hardesty (Olwen Fouéré) holding a lifelong grudge and a new generation encroaching Leatherface’s territory. The ultimate showdown between iconic characters takes a hard backseat to a bloodier, rampaging Leatherface and a series of bizarre narrative choices.

Melody (Sarah Yarkin) drags her sister Lila (Elsie Fisher) along on a business venture in the middle of Texas with business partner Dante (Jacob Latimore) and his girlfriend Ruth (Nell Hudson). The foursome is meeting potential investors at the small ghost town they’ve purchased, though their post-millennial, influencer culture persona quickly ruffles the feathers of what few locals remain. That includes the sickly older woman (Alice Krige) still inhabiting the rundown orphanage. It unleashes the fury of her adoptive son, Leatherface (Mark Burnham), who embarks on an unstoppable, ruthless rampage.

texas chainsaw massacre sequel netflix

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE Nell Hudson as Ruth and Mark Burnham as Leatherface. Cr. Yana Blajeva / ©2022 Legendary, Courtesy of Netflix

The setup seems simple enough, but Chris Thomas Devlin‘s script, with a story by Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues, overcomplicates things fast. Lila’s the shy type still reeling from the trauma of a school shooting. Her fascination and interactions with gun-obsessed local Richter (Moe Dunford) don’t flesh out this plot point and instead create mixed messaging. The inciting event that incurs Leatherface’s wrath begins with anger over a confederate flag, which in turn causes knee jerk reactions with repercussions. Then there are gentrification plans that encroach Leatherface’s territory and the flippant handling of Sally Hardesty that appears intended to offer up a middle finger to the current horror trends.

At a brisk 80-minute runtime, director David Blue Garcia runs through all of this without stopping to untangle the strange, clunky generational suburban versus urban clash getting in the way of the horror. The intent seems to suggest that social commentary and current fads get in the way and ultimately don’t matter in the grand scheme of horror- especially when survival is on the line. However, the impact overrides that with asinine choices, lousy dialogue, and plot threads that never make it past their introductions. None of these superfluous details are necessary; Leatherface is a character that operates on simplicity, and audiences just want to see the slaughter.

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE Cr. Yana Blajeva / ©2021 Legendary, Courtesy of Netflix

Texas Chainsaw Massacre succeeds on that front, at least. Burnham keeps Leatherface intimidating and scary, yet with just enough pathos to elicit pity. It’s helped by special makeup effects artist Todd Tucker‘s Leatherface makeup designs. The level of gore and kills are well executed and a complete blast. The set pieces around the kills are visually interesting, and the film does deliver on an actual massacre in the bloodiest way that’ll leave you cheering. Garcia and team want the audience to root for Leatherface, and they nail it there.

The plot’s maneuvering to get to Leatherface’s rampage is frustrating and cringe-inducing. If you’re hoping for some semblance of continuity or a proper character reunion among horror giants, well, you’ll likely come away as wrathful as Leatherface. Anything related to the characters outside of Leatherface is perplexing and often groan-worthy, right through to the credits. Only Krige and Burnham come away from this unscathed. But if all you want is a complete slasher bloodbath with some gnarly kills, Texas Chainsaw Massacre more than delivers.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre is now available to stream on Netflix.

The post Netflix’s ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Review – This One Brings Gnarly Gore and Rough Storytelling appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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