What It's About
*Contains a few spoilers
A “sequel” to the original 1974, and the ninth film in the TCM franchise. It’s almost 50 years since the initial massacre. A group of friends, hoping to open a food truck and other small businesses to gentrify the now abandoned town of Harlow, find that it’s not completely uninhabited as promised.
There’s still one elderly resident (Ginny) living in the run-down old orphanage. She claims to have papers of ownership from the bank and she’s the only remaining caregiver to a seemingly empty building. This ruins Melody and Dante’s launch (a busload of investors are on their way). Assuming she’s just a kooky old hanger- on, complete with a weathered confederate flag hanging outside. They begin a verbal dispute which rouses someone from the back of the building.
“I’m all he has.” She tells the group. One sole orphan to care for. The town reject that no one wanted. A hulking ominous figure moves in the background. Ginny, having been worked up in the confusion, ends up collapsing and is rushed to the hospital. Ruth, Dante’s girlfriend, goes with her and the “son” in the ambulance out of empathy. This is where it starts. The woman dies, the “son” is Leatherface and he goes berserk.
After brutally murdering the ambulance workers, only Ruth is left alive. She’s able to quietly radio in for help stating, “He’s wearing her face.”
This prompts a call to Texas Ranger, Sally Hardesty. The sole survivor of the 1973 slaughter.
What I Thought
It wasn’t bad. The characters weren’t developed as much as they could have been for us to relate to them because frankly, they die pretty quickly. That being said, they weren’t totally unlikeable. I quite enjoyed the Sally character. Although, I wish we had more time with her and it would have been preferable to have the original Sally, played by Marilyn Burns.
Some really exciting gore scenes in this one. Lots of blood. I even kind of felt like they tried to humanize Leatherface a little in this installment. At one point while Melody is begging for her life she apologizes to Leatherface.
I was confused by the purpose of the character of Richter. The abandoned town’s lone mechanic (for some reason). I thought he would play a larger role than he did. It seems his only purpose was to provide the backstory where we learn Lila is a survivor of a school shooting. Another disjointed part of the story. It really didn’t add much to the movie other than the “facing your fears” trope.
I thought the pacing was pretty good, the acting was decent and I enjoyed the nostalgic connection to the original film. But I think it could have been better.
Critics are being pretty harsh on this installment. Is it the best? No, not even close. But we HAVE taken a near 50 year old horror movie and revived it for a whole new generation to enjoy. Which will no doubt prompt them to go back and maybe watch the original, or my favorite installment- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003 version. Frankly, I also enjoy seeing the Final Girls come back for that last battle.
Worth a watch if you’re a fan of the franchise, just don’t go in with high expectations.