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Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) – Review – At Least It’s Not a Remake or Rebootquel

March 8, 2022

Quick Thoughts – Grade – D –  While Texas Chainsaw Massacre is more welcome than another TCM remake or reboot, it’s lack of identity and a laughable plot keep it from being anything other than a bloody slasher film. It will most certainly appeal to people looking for blood and guts, but it’s easily one of the worst entries of the TCM franchise. Sure, it looks good and the performances are fine, but the lack of personality, a villainous family dynamic, or any endearing quirks make it a missed opportunity.  

The thing that unfairly plagues the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise is that no variation can ever match the low-budget and almost feral atmosphere created by Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic. I realize that it’s not fair to compare a 2022 studio film to Tobe Hooper’s grindhouse classic, and I understand that many sequels, reboots, prequels and remakes don’t have the element of surprise like their trendsetting originals. However, this latest addition to the TCM franchise totally misunderstands what made the original, and to a certain extent, the 2003 remake successful. By keeping things simple, and dragging unwitting kids into a place worse than hell, the films succeed as pieces of exhausting horror that make you seek out warm sunshine or YouTube cat videos that take your mind off the brutality. 

Before I Saw the Devil or Thirst were dragging me to dark places, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre might be the movie that has scarred me the most, and the dinner scene involving the horribly homicidal family has forever been burnt into my memory (also the stick moment, holy moly). Made on a $140,000 budget, the 1974 masterpiece also kept things basic as it focused on a group of kids being harassed and murdered by a chainsaw weilding maniac named Leatherface, who enjoys wearing human skin masks and hanging people on meathooks. The movie feels like a deranged masterpiece that put the cast and crew through lots of pain (and hot days), and holds up because it’s so dangerous and practically made. The reason I bring up the original is because the 2022 version makes the curious decision to bring back Sally (this time played by Olwen Fouéré), the survivor of the first film whom we last saw letting loose an all-timer scream as a truck drove her away from Leatherface.  

Joining Sally are a crew of new characters who are moving to Harlow, a remote Texas town to start a utopia for wealthy influencers who don’t mind dropping thousands of dollars to renovate a dilapidated and almost abandoned town. While the script and several characters refer to the influencers gentrifying Harlow, the term doesn’t really work as these influencers aren’t taking over a poor urban-esque area and displacing a good chunk of residents. They are buying an almost extinct town in the middle of nowhere, and turning it into a “cult” like experience where influencers can isolate themselves, and pay more for deliveries as the town is so remote. While touring the town, Melody (Sarah Yorkin) and Dante (Jacob Latimore), two of the initial investors visit a dumpy orphanage that is still home to Virginia, an elderly woman who claims she still owns the property. After a wildly inappropriate argument, the woman dies of a heart attack and it turns out that she’s been harboring Leatherface (Mark Burnham) for close to 50 years. After killing several cops, and Dante’s girlfriend Ruth (Nell Hudson), Leatherface cuts off Virginia’s face, puts it on his face, and starts killing many people with a chainsaw that must’ve been crafted by magical elves, as it cuts through everything and never jams. 

Leatherface’s rampage soon catches the attention of Sally, who after surviving the initial attack in the 1970s has been waiting to get her revenge on the skinmask-wearing maniac. To spoil the rest would wreck some of the fun, but just expect bus massacres, beheadings, foot chases and more beheadings. Nothing about the movie is exciting, original or tense, but if you are looking for blood and guts it’s not the worst option.

Final thoughts – It’s not fair to compare this movie to the original TCM, but, it’s a bit disappointing that it took an iconic character and removed anything that makes him scary. Don’t expect much.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. John Leavengood permalink
    March 8, 2022 7:11 pm

    I belief the elf at my D&D table would call that a +2 Vorpal Chainsaw. Now where did I leave that LotR Ring of Power…? Oh, seems Leatherface has that, too. 😉

    • March 9, 2022 6:26 am

      The Cadillac of chainsaws lol

      • John Leavengood permalink
        March 9, 2022 7:55 pm

        This Leatherface with chainsaw… or the guy with the big chainsaw in Mandy. Go!

      • March 10, 2022 6:27 am

        Guy with chainsaw! Mandy all day.

  2. March 13, 2022 3:37 pm

    Some franchises need to be laid to rest and this is one of them. It is sad someone seeing TCM for the first time will never understand why the original haunts so many of us so many years later. This new generation was given a massacre with a chainsaw in Texas, but no matter what they name it, never will it be the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It felt like they were trying to make a darker version of Final Destination and even flopped at that. D is a fair grade, though I’d rate it an F.

  3. September 2, 2022 1:26 pm

    I totally agree with this review. It was standard blood and guts minus the unique and nightmarish atmosphere that Hooper brought to the original.

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