The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
In 1974 director Tobe Hooper, alongside screenwriter Kim Hankel, created The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a film that has since become recognised as one of the most influential pieces of horror cinema of all time. It was a grimy and provocatively visceral horror experience that had surprisingly little onscreen violence, despite what its title suggested. This Netflix requel, however, is the stylistic opposite of Hooper’s film: it’s more polished, plays like a conventional contemporary horror affair and is extremely violent. It is a blood-spattered slice of disposable horror entertainment.
Set around 50 years after the events of the original, this flick (directed by David Blue Garcia with a story co-written by Fede Alvarez) sees a sisters Leila (Elsie Fisher) and Melody (Sarah Yarkin), as well as couple Dante (Jacob Latimore) and Ruth (Nell Hudson), travel to the dusty and now abandoned town of Harlow, Texas. They mean to gentrify the place to attract a younger crowd, but soon find themselves running into the mute killer (Mark Burnham), who has been in hiding all this time. Violence erupts after a tragic event, and the youngsters find themselves at Leatherface’s mercy. Meanwhile, original final girl Sally Hardesty (this time played by Olwen Fouéré) sees her chance to kill the person responsible for the lifetime of trauma she’s endured.
Unlike 2018’s Halloween or 2022’s Scream, this Texas Chainsaw Massacre doesn’t have as much to do with the original. In fact, Hardesty barely gets any screen time, which makes her comeback hard to justify outside of a necessity to qualify as a requel. Rather, this iteration of the horror franchise is all about the bone-breaking, head-bashing level of violence – there’s even a scene on a bus that lives up to the franchise’s name. Though grotesquely effective in small, contained doses, the latter half overindulges in the gore so much that it verges upon hilarity. Watching Leatherface slicing through bodies and hurling his isn’t supposed to be funny, but here it’s delivered in a way that’s so over-the-top that it is. And with a plot that’s as paper-thin as this one, there’s not much else left for the script to lean on.
Though nowhere near as monstrous as this series’ other sequels and remakes, this Texas Chainsaw Massacre nevertheless fails to recapture the authentic terror of Hooper’s classic. But at least viewers can have fun with the ridiculous levels of violence on full display.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is released on Netflix on 18th February 2022.
Watch the trailer for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre here: