They say everything is bigger in Texas, which is correct regarding the body count in the recent Netflix post The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The film is a soft reboot of the famous film series that first shocked audiences in 1974, acting as a direct sequel to the first installment while neglecting all of its subsequent sequels, reboots and remakes that spice up Hollywood every few minutes. years.
This new film takes place nearly 50 years after the events of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre from 1974 (note: the title changes from “Chain Saw” to “Chainsaw” in 2022). In the original, a van of naive hippies are terrorized and then slaughtered by a sadistic family of cannibals on the plains of Texas, leaving young Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) as the only blood-soaked survivor, the killers still on the run.
The killer cannibal family lived on the outskirts of Harlow, Texas, now a hollowed-out ghost town whose only claim to fame is the massacre Sally barely escaped half a century earlier. In the new film, various properties in Harlow are going to be auctioned off by the banks with the help of Dante (Jacob Latimore) and Melody (Sarah Yarkin), two internet celebrity chefs who plan to open their new restaurant in Harlow in as PR. cascade to attract more buyers.
It turns out that Harlow still has a handful of residents, including the old chainsaw slaughterer himself, Leatherface (Mark Burnham). He lives in a vacant orphanage under the watchful and loving eye of a mother figure (Alice Krige) who has successfully suppressed the massive serial killer’s violent tendencies and likely improved his diet (lower fat meat, perhaps) .
Leatherface is partly based on the real Ed Gein, a Wisconsin serial killer and grave robber who fashioned clothing from preserved human skin in the mid-1950s. Similarly, Leatherface is seen wearing a fabricated mask from the faces of corpses in the movies, sometimes even peeled off from a recent victim before they were completely dead.
Once the movie’s plot gives Leatherface an excuse to start killing, there’s not much to say except that he’ll have everything you’d expect from another. Chain saw after. However, that doesn’t mean it lives up to the original.
Had The Texas Chainsaw Massacre released under any other title, devoid of what is expected of a sequel to such a cinematic milestone as the 1974 original, it would have enjoyed a brief period of popularity with die-hard fans of the movie genre. horror, then crumbled into relative obscurity among countless other equally average quality films.
Unfortunately for that film, they insisted on making a sequel to the original, a film that’s not only responsible for cementing essential conventions for the then-burgeoning slasher film genre, but is often credited with forever changing the way low-budget films were made. and received after release. Next to night of the living dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most influential horror films of the 20th century. These boots are way too big for Netflix’s sequel to fill.
Sally Hardesty, now played by Olwen Fouéré following the death of Marilyn Burns in 2014, is the film’s weak link. While most critics draw comparisons to Jamie Lee Curtis’ character arc in the Halloween the franchise’s recent soft reboot, that’s accurate but short-sighted. In this new film, we see that Sally has turned her 70s trauma into armor. She’s now a shotgun-wielding Texas ranger obsessed with the cold case that changed her life. This type of transformation is quite common in slasher-adjacent genre films, seen in earlier series like The Terminator and Extraterrestrial — while the heroine of the film (terminatoris Sarah Connor, or Extraterrestrial‘s Ellen Ripley, for example) spends the first film in the series as a resourceful damsel in distress, thereafter she’s a stoic warrior ready to face her tormentor with equal violence. That Sally is following a similar path isn’t just trivial, it’s inefficient.
Sally comes across as a cartoon character who, in the larger scheme of the film’s narrative, could have been cut without too much consequence. If Marilyn Burns were alive to reprise the role of Sally Hardesty, it would at least seem somewhat justified, but the fact that she’s just a doppelganger doing her best with such a schlock makes her inclusion seem nailed for a service of half-baked fans, as if the original movie wasn’t worth taking too seriously. And the way Leatherface can survive multiple shotgun blasts in the film, among many other injuries, bolsters that suspicion; Leatherface should be well over 70 at this point.
Bad Hombres, the production company responsible for this new film, boldly lays out themes throughout the runtime, leaving nothing to be interpreted. They awkwardly deal with topics like gentrification, advanced capitalism, school shootings, toxic masculinity, and the flimsy “legacy, not hate” argument used by people who fly the Confederate flag while insisting on the fact that they are not racist.
While these are all relevant talking points, they just aren’t put together competently, as one would expect from a legacy sequel to such a culturally significant film. Mind you, this isn’t the series’ worst sequel and any excuse to bring up the 1974 classic is a welcome addition to my Netflix queue. Unfortunately you can’t watch the first one Chainsaw Massacre on Netflix only its 2003 remake and a few lesser sequels and a prequel at present, so you’ll either have to dust off your old VHS copy or stream it on Shudder.
If you’re into overly indulgent gory movies, then there’s an abundance of shocking effects throughout Netflix. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to help justify a viewing, regardless of its plot, cinematography, or score. If you want to see what it would be like to crash into a man’s head with a hammer – Texas style – and you don’t mind a film incapable of subtlety, go for it. I highly doubt anyone will sign up for a Netflix account just to see this film, although the cast should be commended for their performances.
The film is like an old chainsaw wielded by an inexperienced lumberjack: the chain is loose, it’s no longer too sharp and the filmmakers don’t know exactly how to use what they have in their hands. If you know chainsaw safety protocols, this is a recipe for disaster.
This story first appeared in CityBeat Cincinnatian affiliate publication.
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