Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) - Movie Review
Good Horror, Dumb Characters.
The latest entry into the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise is a bumpy one, although not entirely awful, there are plenty of gross gore effects. Leatherface himself looks terrifying and is equally deadly. Because of this, the horror in general is very well executed, characters die painfully, within seconds of meeting this lunatic. There really is no escape, as Leatherface knows his hometown like the back of his hand, while all of these strangers run around like headless chickens, unable to escape from death's grip! Acting wise, people genuinely look terrified when Leatherface charges for them. So with all of these intense thrills, what is it exactly that makes Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) a mixed horror movie rather than a perfect slasher?
Unfortunately a good chunk of the cast are unlikable, stupid and annoying. Don't get me wrong, there are a few stand out characters that were decent. There is a local Texan named Richter (played by Moe Dunford) who lives in the town, at first he is antagonistic to the main cast, but ultimately likable. He goes from ignorant countryman to gun tooting savior when Leatherface is set loose. Unfortunately this character dies early on, which certainly adds tension for the more cowardly survivors. Another stand out character is the sole survivor (Sally Hardesty played by Olwen Fouéré) of the original movie, yes she makes a return, but now she is ready to take on Leatherface with a shotgun and brave attitude. She lasts until the final act of the film and has a really epic battle with Leatherface before, sadly losing, so that miss plain Jane (Lila played by Elsie Fisher) and her annoying sister (Melody played by Sarah Yarkin) can take the spotlight. As you can tell, I'm not even a fan of the main character for she is purposely bland in my opinion. This is to make the character more relatable to pretty much everyone, it's why protagonists in video games are mostly silent, or why book protagonists don't have much personality. She's not completely unlikable, but just like most of the cast, she is very dumb and keeps making silly mistakes that are eye rolling. This is where the film really fails, as the main cast are a group of naive, pretentious city people. They are so narcissistic to the point where they are more annoying than relatable. At first you could guess this was intentional to create "bad characters" that you can't wait to see killed off, but as the film progresses you realize these awful people are our main survivors. Then it slowly becomes obvious how badly they fumbled this script.
I'm also not a fan of this movie's tone. Often times it feels like a comedic slasher film similar to Scream or some of the goofier Friday The 13th movies from the late 1980's (I'm looking at you Jason Takes Manhattan!). This just feels too ridiculous to be taken seriously, how am I supposed to be scared when a bunch of millennials pull out their phones, film Leatherface and say: "Try anything and you will be cancelled, bro..." - admittedly this got a chuckle out of me, but it just killed the tension worse than any cliché jump scare imaginable. There are plenty of moments like this, callbacks to earlier entries, fourth wall breaks and so on. You almost forget you're even watching a horror movie when the jokes are straight out of a modern day Marvel film. Spoiler: Even the ending of this film is ruined by this inconsistent tone as the two remaining survivors get in their car, put it in cruise control and slowly drive off, laughing, yes laughing about how they were the only survivors. Leatherface ultimately shows up one last time to pull out and behead the annoying sister, Melody (thank god!) in front of Lila. She climbs onto the roof of the car and screams out to her dead sister, instead of turning the car around to at least try and run over Leatherface, Lila just seems to accept defeat and the movie ends. What an awful ending, obviously this is a homage to the original 1974 ending, but here it just feels forced and quite dumb.
Ultimately, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022 could've been a really thrilling revival of the series. It's frustrating because you've got all the hallmarks for a decent slasher film. A terrifying villain, actors who actually look terrified, fantastic gore effects and a creepy setting. Visually the film does look brilliant and if you shut your brain off, ignore the stupidity of the characters and just enjoy the thrills, you can have a good time! Unfortunately this doesn't fix the broken, dumb and annoying cast and the silly meta jokes will distract even the most casual of horror fans. It could've been a great movie, but ultimately it's not terrible either. It's just okay. A 3 out of 5 star movie.
About the author
My name is Joseph Roy Wright, the British author of 5 Independent novels!
I like to write about movies, pop culture, fiction and horror! I review all the latest films (and classics), I also like to write short stories.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Original narrative & well developed characters
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