Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)
Director: David Blue Garcia
Screenwriters: Chris Thomas Devlin, Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues
Starring: Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Mark Burnham, Jacob Latimore, Moe Dunford, Olwen Fouéré, Jessica Allain, Nell Hudson
This review will be shorter than others because with this film, much like Cthulhu, there’s a fear that the more you speak its name, the closer it gets. However, unlike H. P. Lovecraft, who for all his personal faults could craft one hell of a story, the creators of Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) decided they were going for the opposite end of the creativity scale…
Nearly fifty years after the original 1974 Texas Chain Saw Massacre by Tobe Hooper (this film going for the current trend of retconning all but the original film), a new group of teens arrive in the ghost town of Harlow (there are three inhabitants; guess who one of them is). Having being bought up and sold to socially-conscious hippy youngsters wanting to reconnect with a world far away from city life, the new owners of the town accidentally kicked out Leatherface’s adopted mother, so now after fifty repressed, non-violent years, the Sawyer with the Saw is slicing up everyone for vengeance, despite the fact he must be at least seventy.
David Blue Garcia’s direction is bland, Colin Stetson’s music not even registering in your ears, and the characters are wafer thin and puking exposition-laden dialogue. The return of Sally Hardesty, survivor of the original film, is more under-utilised than Clear Rivers in Final Destination 2, and so disappointing, bordering on disgraceful, that you’d be forgiven for crying in sheer despair. And whereas homages and references to the original Halloween in the 2018 Halloween film highlighted a series of rites of passage that Allyson must go through almost as a family tradition, in Texas Chainsaw 2022 the references to its 1974 origins are cringe-worthy attempts to get fans on their side. ‘Look!’ the writers shout, ‘a chainsaw! Just like in the original film, and all the others we’ve retconned! Everyone give us big cheers and a five star review on Letterboxd!’
Leatherface is now as murder-happy as Michael Myers, because everyone thinks that more bodies with lots of blood and smashed-in heads is what we came for. Sod suspense. And just like his butcher-knife wielding partner in slasher-film royalty, he’s also invincible, able to take shotgun blasts, knife wounds, drowning, and even chainsaw hits, without any of them ever stopping him. At least Michael, Jason, Freddy, etc, had supernatural reasons for this. Leatherface? Too much effort.
There are also lots of side-characters purely there to be killed off in a Rogue One hallway-style scene which also contains the worst offense to cinema in recent years. The evidence: a busload of youths raise their phones to a bloodied Leatherface, wearing someone else’s face over his own, gore-laden chainsaw in hand, and proudly proclaim without a flicker of fear, ‘try anything and you’re cancelled, bro.’
There are not the words.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre has possibly only three redeeming qualities to what is otherwise a disgrace to the medium. There’s an homage to The Shining in here, which reminds you that good films actually do exist. The film is by Netflix, so it won’t dirty the hallowed screens of the cinema. And lastly, it goes on for only 74 minutes before the credits roll, minus a 30 second post-credit scene teasing a sequel which we all hope never materialises.
If you were looking for a way to make Halloween Kills look like a Tarkovsky masterpiece, this is your saviour.
Recommended for you: Texas Chainsaw Massacre Movies Ranked