Sister plot-armor so thick that it literally be bringing mofos back from the dead.
Like Leatherface (2017), the prequel to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and the previous entry in the franchise, this second attempt at “requel-ing” the original is actually shot and compiled together pretty competently; there’s plenty of dopamine gore in this as well to make the viewing not a completely pitiful watch and it at least immerses the bare minimum of tension.
Now, pros aside, this is probably my least favorite Texas Chainsaw Massacre film now. Yeah, I saw Halloween 2018 too! So what? You want to bring back the original protagonist? Sure. You want to wipe the slate clean of the other sequels again? Sure. But, if you’re going to do that, maybe consider not making your movie so easily prone to being “requel-ed” again, which this newest slasher has undoubtedly opened up the possibility for given how hollow it is.
Despite introducing some demanding topics of today such as school shootings and neurotic media culture, they end up being used so timidly. The school shooting PTSD seems to primarily function as a way to give one of the sister’s an arc to achieve so we can care about their lives rather than as an emphasis on the real modern horrors of our time; if anything, introducing the school shooting element feels insulting because its exercised as leverage to fight a “greater horror”. The technological and generational commentary sort of just acts as background noise amidst its antique yet now “hip” and gentrified setting, unless you count that god-awful scene and quote you’ve probably already heard about: “try anything and you’re canceled bro.” Us millennials and gen-z-ers can be impuissant yeah, but we’re not THAT impuissant, c’mon!
In other words, that’s basically all the new and it’s impressively limited as you can see! Despite the fact that I literally just thrashed on the Leatherface prequel in my last review for being so unmemorable, I’d now argue that this requel is even more unmemorable because it is so interchangeable with its genre’s ceaseless amount of other outputs given that it only offers a straightforward cat-and-mouse procedural up to date with misguided modern tactics. Not 3D (2013) with its goofy (but at least original to the franchise) revelations, not Leatherface with its attempt at commentary on the origins of evil, this is pure slice-and-dice formula with a slapped on cut-and-dry sibling and guilt-trip dynamic happening at the foregrounds, as if that’s all it needs to get us to care.
In regards to Leatherface in this, well… he’s not… Leatherface. A stone-cold, silent, and practical killer? Yeah, for a movie that wants to be so neck and neck with its creator, it acts as if it’s never even seen the 1974 original before given how almost polar opposite this interpretation of Leatherface is. What ever happened to my precious airhead? You know you’re referencing the wrong slasher villain when you have him leap out of the water like Jason.
At least he loved his mom though.
Also, now that I have to start ranking the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise after watching them all, I just realized something: my order from best to worst is coincidentally in order of release date from oldest to newest, even if you include the remakes. YEAH, I have never experienced this with a long-running and catalog-heavy horror franchise before nor did I ever expect that I would. Hurray?
“Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is now available to stream on Netflix.