The new Texas Chainsaw Massacre flick serves as testament to the fact that not all franchises deserve a revisit.
Staring:Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Mark Burnham,
Moe Dunford, Nell Hudson, Jessica Allain, Olwen Fouere, Jacob Latimore, and Alice Krige
Directed by: David Blue Garcia
Tagline: The face of madness returns.
Would you like to watch a set of incredibly unlikable characters make unfathomably stupid decisions while an inexplicably invincible villain effortlessly decimates them in ridiculous fashion? Then you’re in luck, for there’s a new Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie on Netflix that offers just that: a sweeping torrent of bafflingly nonsensical dumbness.
The new TCM instalment – the ninth release in the horror franchise – picks up several decades after the original and resurrects serial killer Leatherface (Mark Burnham) for some more murderous mayhem.
His latest set of potential victims arrive in the form of a group of grating youngsters – including
friends Melody (Sarah Yarkin) and Dante (Jacob Latimore), Melody’s sister Lila (Elsie Fisher), and Dante’s girlfriend Ruth (Nell Hudson) – who make their way to an abandoned town in Texas with the intention of revamping it into a trendy resort. But they soon find themselves facing off against a chainsaw wielding madman who is not pleased by the disruption their arrival has brought into his life.
An incident sends Leatherface on a vengeful killing spree, while the other characters make their best efforts to get slaughtered by consistently making the worst decisions possible.
Meanwhile, Sally Hardesty (Olwen Fouere, replacing the late Marilyn Burns) – the famed final girl of the 1974 flick who was the sole survivor of Leatherface’s original carnage – learns of the masked maniac’s reappearance and sets off to settle her nearly five-decade-long vendetta against him, a storyline that has massive potential to be compelling but is promptly squandered by the movie instead.
Of course, it would be futile to look for any modicum of intelligence in a slasher, but you’d expect that there would at least be some mindless fun buried under the movie’s gory avalanche of stupidity. Sadly though, entertainment of any variety is in scant supply here. The film occasionally delivers on the brutal kills but overall is poorly written, badly acted, and unimaginatively shot, with next to no suspense or sense of dread.
Perhaps most infuriatingly, random political talking points and social issues – gentrification, racism, social media, school shootings, gun control – are thrown into the tale (at times in the most cringe or tone-deaf way possible), then mostly shrugged off without any interesting exploration.
All in all, this underwhelming Texas Chainsaw Massacre revival ultimately just serves as proof of the fact that if you don’t have any solid, inventive new ideas, it might be wiser not to continue a series. Unless you love this franchise with the kind of passion it doesn’t deserve or you’re hell-bent on wasting an hour of your life (mercifully, the movie is barely 80 odd minutes in length), you’d be better off giving this unnecessary, mindless revisit a miss.
Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection