Quick-Thoughts: Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Next Generation (1994)

No way a human being out there is like Heather. Outlandish. 

Honestly? I’d consider this nearly on par with the last Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Sure, for starters, this is not nearly as competently put together as part three — the entire first half is astonishingly poorly shot and edited with so much crap happening at once that sometimes you can’t even tell what just did, and the cast who play the teenagers give some of the worst line delivery I’ve ever heard in my entire life — but once the family reunion commences, it’s pretty insufferable… in a good way of course.

It seems as if this entire franchise’s strong point so far has been from its various Leatherface gang depictions, and The Return, or later retitled Next Generation, is no exception. Matthew McConaughey and Tonie Perensky are genuinely awesome in this to me; the abusive truck-driving cyborg killer persona and the sexy business-lady wife facade (fast food scene is kind of golden) were exquisitely provoking and made up for a lot of the otherwise poor acting from the younger talents, plus I even dig the new Leatherface who attempts to embody the physique of his victims. As opposed to part three, this feels much more inclined to give us that similar feeling of dysfunctional family hysteria for which the first two accomplished so well. 

However, the downfall with this sequel like part three, and if not even to a far more damning degree than part three, is that it evades from originality in the grander scheme of things even when it’s trying not to. Despite it starting off at prom of anyplace, it essentially ends up being a final girl jumping out of a window and trying to get help from another location that happens to be owned by a Leatherface family member, then the dinner confrontation and of course the drive-away climax where Leatherface does his dance. However, for some odd reason, this sort of repetition has continued to win me over far more than most other horror franchise sequels have; there’s something appealingly simple and consistent about the almost comical absurdity of the monstrous villains that they all showcase.

This sequel’s ending though does seem like a failed attempt at satire for which part two meshed so well, and on that note, a handful of part four can sometimes feel like a dart shoot of random new ideas at an already existing blueprint. In other words, it’s pretty tangled in concerns with what it wants to be whenever it wants to just not be a beat by beat remake of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That “illuminati” side-plot… yeah…

Verdict: C-

The Texas Chainsaw Massacres Ranked

“Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Next Generation” is now available to stream on HBO Max.

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