Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)

After nearly 50 years of hiding, Leatherface returns to terrorize a group of idealistic young friends who accidentally disrupt his carefully shielded world in a remote Texas town.

The 1974 proto-slasher gets the legacy sequel treatment with Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Entrepreneurs Melody () and Dante () travel along with Melody's sister Lila () and Dante's girlfriend Ruth () to the remote Texas town of Harlow, with the intentions of auctioning off the predominantly abandoned buildings. However, Melody and Dante discover that one building is still occupied by Mrs. Mc (), who is looking after a hulking older man () in her orphanage. During her confrontation with Melody and Dante, Mrs. Mc ends up having a heart attack and dying in the ambulance, resulting in the man, who turns out to be the cannibalistic killer Leatherface, going on a bloody rampage. This attracts the attention of sole survivor Sally Hardesty (), who has been waiting fifty years to get her revenge.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a legacy sequel to Tobe Hooper's 1974 original, with this new film being produced by Fede Alvarez (The Evil Dead, Don't Breathe) and directed by relative newcomer David Blue Garcia. Despite being labelled as a sequel, the only direct connection to the original is the return of John Larroquette doing the opening narration, which is depicted in the film as being part of a TV documentary, and Olwen Fouéré following in the footsteps of Jamie Leigh Curtis, as Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘s featured legacy character, replacing the late Marilyn Burns in the role of Sally Hardesty.

Then of course there's Leatherface, this time played by character actor Mark Burnham (Lowlife), who literally just shows in the care of Alice Krige's Mrs. Mc, with no real explanation about why he is there and what happened to the rest of the cannibalistic Sawyer family. Instead, Leatherface just goes on a mindless rampage, targeting the four young entrepreneurs as well as the busload of social media influencers that arrive in Harlow as potential investors.

In a very ironic move, given how Tobe Hooper purposely limited the amount of on-screen gore in the original, this new Texas Chainsaw Massacre almost overdoes it with how gory the carnage is. This includes a literal chainsaw massacre, as Leatherface mows down the influencers after a bad joke about how he “will be cancelled” if he did anything.

All this gore comes at the expense of any real story or characters that we should care about. Very early on the characters of Melody and Lily are established as the protagonists, so they were always the most likely to make it to the final act, while literally, everyone else in the film is just there to be Leatherface fodder. Also, don't get me started on how anticlimatic legacy actor Olwen Fouéré's contribution to the film ends up being and the very eye-rolling 21st-century throwback to the original film's final shot.

Ultimately, Texas Chainsaw Massacre shows that perhaps not every classic horror franchise deserves the legacy sequel treatment.

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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