Following on the back of other recent horror requels Halloween Kills and Scream, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the latest installment into the titular franchise.
A direct sequel to the Tobe Hooper’s 1974 original, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Texas Chainsaw Massacre retcons the events of every other sequel in the franchise. In doing so, it seeks to simplify the canon and offer an appropriately horrifying follow-up to the acclaimed slasher.
That’s what Texas Chainsaw Massacre was hoping for, at least. However, it’s plagued by issues that prevent it from successfully achieving its goal – not the least of which is its abysmal writing.
Set 50 years after the original, Texas Chainsaw Massacre first attempts to explain how the hulking, skin-mask-wearing, chainsaw wielding lunatic responsible for at least 4 murders managed to remain free for five decades, but it also maintains that the 70-something Leatherface is still physically capable of committing one of the most brutal killing sprees in cinematic history.
With its ludicrous premise, Texas Chainsaw Massacre starts out at a disadvantage, however those gaps in logic are far from the film’s weakest point. The return of Sally Hardesty, the lone survivor of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, is a moment that feels like a hollow and shameless rip-off of Halloween, and despite its blatant plagiarism, Texas Chainsaw Massacre still manages to make the plot point entirely dissatisfying.
The problem with Hardesty is the same problem that Texas Chainsaw Massacre has with all of its characters – they’re all so inconsequentially written that it’s impossible to see any of them as more than fodder for Leatherface’s rage.
Essentially, Texas Chainsaw Massacre can be summarized as approximately 25 minutes of exposition and then an hour of mindless, disgusting murder. Its story is not well-considered, and there’s no real subtext whatsoever – just gory, heavy-handed slaughter. Perhaps the most disappointing element of the film is its utter bastardization of the original film, which is considered a pioneer of the genre. Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘s thoroughly uninteresting plot and characters feel like a direct insult to fans of the franchise, and the film’s most brutal death is that of Leatherface’s reputation as a horror icon.
While it’s generally well-presented, there’s absolutely no substance to Texas Chainsaw Massacre at all. It’s as though it was written by a 12-year-old boy who’d only ever had slasher films described to him – culminating in a combination of plot holes and disgustingly unsympathetic handling of the film’s source material.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre may look like a slasher film, but it’s actually an exercise in actively dismantling everything that makes the genre great. It’s hard to imagine that a single ounce of thought went into making the film, other than perhaps some vague malice towards the original film’s reputation.
Summary: A few decent visuals do nothing to save this mess of inadequacy.
Highlight: The bare-faced gall of a post-credits sequel teaser is so insultingly unearned that it’s almost fascinating .