Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) Movie Review
Horror / Thriller
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise has been around for nearly 50 years now, and it has gone through its share of ups and downs. The original film by Tobe Hooper was a groundbreaking horror classic that shocked audiences with its raw, unrelenting violence and its unflinching look at the depravity of humanity. Since then, the franchise has gone through multiple sequels, remakes, and reboots, each with varying degrees of success.
The latest entry in the series is the Netflix Original film, also called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which attempts to reboot the franchise once again. The film follows the same basic formula as the 2018 reboot of Halloween, which ignored all the previous sequels and remakes and focused on the original film, with the survivor of the first film as the central character. In this case, that survivor is Sally Hardesty, played by Olwen Fouéré, who is trying to track down the creature who killed her friends.
The film takes place in the small town of Harlow, Texas, where three city folk, Melody, Lila, and Dante, have come to renovate the area. They have even brought in a bus full of influencers to help promote the space. When they arrive, they run into conflict with a homeowner who refuses to leave her home, which happens to be the birthplace of Leatherface. When she is forced to leave, Leatherface goes on a rampage, and the horror begins.
Unfortunately, the promise of the film's premise quickly falls apart. The film seems to be constantly setting up interesting ideas and then never following through with them. For example, Lila is a survivor of a school shooting, but this subplot feels exploitative rather than insightful. The film also touches on the idea of social media and influencer culture, but it never really explores these ideas in any meaningful way.
The lack of narrative depth would be forgivable if the film were effective as a horror movie, but it fails in this regard as well. The gore is plentiful, but the execution is uninspired, with no tension or suspense. The film also lacks any characters to care about, which makes it difficult to invest in their fates.
One of the problems with the film is that it tries to emulate the simplicity of the original film, which was effective in its raw brutality. However, imbuing such a basic premise with intense, unrelenting terror takes a certain kind of instinctual craftsmanship that few filmmakers possess. Hooper had this talent, but most of his followers have not been so blessed. The filmmakers behind this latest entry in the franchise are clearly not trying for that brutal simplicity either, cluttering their landscape with half-baked ideas that never quite come to fruition.
The film's greatest misstep, however, is its mishandling of Sally's arc. The filmmakers attempt to replicate the Laurie Strode vengeance narrative from the Halloween reboot, but they do so in a half-assed way that never really engages the audience. The film tries to take the franchise back to its roots but ultimately gets lost along the way.
In conclusion, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a startling misfire that fails at almost everything it attempts to do. The film's lack of narrative depth and ineffective horror elements make it a difficult watch, even for die-hard horror fans. While the gore is impressive, it's not enough to make up for the film's other shortcomings. Leatherface deserves better than this lackluster reboot, and so do horror fans.
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