Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) Movie Review

After a few disastrous test screenings, Legendary Pictures sold the rights to TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE to Netlfix. Was it the right thing to do or would this have been a box office smash? 

Studio: Netflix
Release Date: February 22nd, 2022
Run Time: 1 hour 22 minutes 56 seconds
Starring: Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Mark Burnham, Jacob Latimore, Moe Dunford, Olwen Fouéré, and Jessica Allain
Written by Chris Thomas Devlin
Directed by David Blue Garcia
Rating: R (strong bloody horror violence and gore, and language)

When I first heard that they were making another TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE film, I had my reservations. I like most of the films in this series, with the only two truly bad films in the series being 1994 (or 1995 or 1996 or 1997)’s THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION (or THE RETURN OF THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE as the director’s cut is called) and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING. Both films are really bad and not all that enjoyable. I do happen to like all the other films in the series. 

This one, like almost every other sequel in this very confusing series, is a direct sequel to the first one with Leatherface living with a woman who ran an orphanage. This isn’t that bad of an idea if they hadn’t already done something like this in TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D. So now they are just copying other films in the series. Still, it’s not a bad idea so let’s go with it. The problem lies in the fact that these dipshits from “the city” bought the town where the orphanage is located despite the woman telling these assholes that she actually owns the building, but the assholes call the sheriff because they had told them that they owned everything. 

The woman is being transported to a hospital when she dies. Leatherface is now mad and he breaks one of the cops’ wrists and then stabs him in the neck with the bone that is sticking out. He murders everyone in the car, including one of the assholes that went with them for some reason, and takes the woman’s face as his own.

For the rest of the film, we get Leatherface going around killing people, getting his revenge for the death of his “mother”. The film does its damnedest to get a high body count by busing in victims. The assholes invited a whole bus full of assholes to auction off the property so that they can make a hipster village, I guess. Anyway, Leatherface makes short order of them when they are all trapped on the bus they showed up in and then don’t really react to a man wearing a woman’s face, covered in blood, and holding a running chainsaw. The assholes all pull their phones out and then tell Leatherface that if he tries anything they will cancel him. I am not joking. They do this while recording him rev his chainsaw. Leatherface killing the bus full of assholes is not as satisfying as I would have wanted probably because the assholes don’t react like real people at all, so they never feel like real people. It was nice to see them all get it, but the impact was lessened due to shitty filmmaking. 

The film is also all over the map with its tone. It’s always a horror film, but sometimes it is beyond brutal and other times it is more restrained. The view on guns changes over the course of the film. The final girl is a survivor of a school shooting and has flashbacks, but can pick up a gun with little pushback. Sure, she has a flashback, but I never bought that this event affected her all that much. She was also shot in the shooting so her reaction to a gun is really weird. She then picks up not one, but two different guns and it has zero effect on her. In fact, it has the opposite effect as they start spouting one-liners. She goes from being a kind of victim to being Arnold Schwarzenegger at the height of his movie stardom. So guns are bad, but only when you don’t need them to protect your friends from a Texan trying to perform a massacre?

Let’s talk about the film’s ending.

Warning is over.

The ending for this film is pretty good while being hysterical at the same time. After the film ended I sat with a confusion of emotions. I thought it was shocking and brutal while at the same time, the auto-driving car slowly driving the final girl, who is standing in the moon roof, away from Leatherface, who had just snatched her sister out of the car and decapitated her. He then does a little dance and the film is over. Do you see how it’s an awesome ending? We think it’s over and then Leatherface comes out of nowhere and grabs the final girl’s sister. The final girl opens the moon roof on the car, which is in “auto-drive mode”, just in time to see Leatherface takes his chainsaw and cut the sister’s head off. Boom! Right there is a wonderful ending. It shocks us and horrifies us at the same time. But the filmmakers had to fuck it up by having the final girl being slowly driven away from this horrific event happening because she can’t get out of the car. And then Leatherface does a little dance. They fucking ruined this damn fine ending by leaving in stuff we didn’t need or want to know. It’s stuff like this that makes this film frustrating to watch.

The film does one thing that it can't be forgiven for: They bring back Sally Hardesty. There wouldn't normally be anything wrong with this but the way they do it feels very disrespectful. Marilyn Burns passed away in 2014 so bringing back the character that she played seems wrong. The filmmakers are clearly trying to do what 2018's HALLOWEEN did by bringing back the main final girl to make horror fans cream their pants. This could work. It worked in the aforementioned HALLOWEEN, but it was also one of the only things that worked in CRITTERS ATTACK! (I know that Dee Wallace is not playing the same character from the original film, but she might as well be.) It does not work here, though.

We are introduced to Sally as she is gutting a pig. She is called by a gas station owner who heard a call about a guy removing someone's face. Sally grabs her shotgun, gets in her car, and heads to the town. Once she arrives, she does nothing. She has Leatherface dead to rights on numerous occasions and fails to take him down. She says she has been waiting 50 years to find him and then she fucks it up. What is the point of bringing the original final girl, one that has been "waiting for 50 years" to come face to face with her tormentor again only to botch the only time she is able to get her vengeance? This is a slap in the face to the character as well as Marilyn Burns. I don't fault the actor playing Sally here as she is good in the role, but she is given nothing to do but look and act like Jamie Lee Curtis in HALLOWEEN.

I wanted to like this film. I really did. Everything was there for these guys to make a TCM film that was scary. They did not come close to doing this because of so many stupid decisions. Change the reason why all these assholes are here and tighten up some of the character stuff, and this could have been a good film. As it is, it’s a really stupid slasher film with some great scenes and an almost perfect ending. 

Can we please stop making anything that has to do with THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE for like a decade? At this point, every idea ever introduced into the series has been done to death and there really isn’t that much there to play with in the first place. The first film was simple while every sequel got more and more complicated. The fourth one has to do with the Illuminati while 2017’s LEATHERFACE tried to make us believe that a pretty boy became Leatherface in the span of a year. There is nothing more to this series. You have mined it dry. Leave it alone.

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