It was just over a month ago when audiences were gifted a great “remakequel” from the horror genre with the new Scream. However, if you need a prime example of how not to make one, then look no further than Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which is now streaming on Netflix. After viewing the film, it’s easy to see why the film’s original directors were fired, why the film had been sitting on the shelf for a while, and why the film was eventually sold to Netflix and dumped onto the streamer in the middle of February. This direct sequel to the 1974 classic is not only embarrassing, but in poor taste when trying to address social issues. We’re less than two months into 2022, and we already have a contender for worst film of the year.
A group of young adults venture to the town of Harlow, Texas, which is all but devoid of life, in order to bid on pieces of property to remodel in hopes of attracting people to get away from the big city life. Acknowledging that Harlow is hours away from civilization, the young adults encounter an older woman who should have been evicted from her property months ago. The encounter sets things off for the return of Leatherface, the masked chainsaw-wielding killer who has not been seen since his killing spree in the original film that saw only one survive the massacre. As expected, the remainder of the film becomes quite the bloody affair. However, it’s almost as unnecessary as the social or current issues the film attempts to address to the audience.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre tries to raise awareness to the Confederate flag, guns, school shootings, and the power of social media. In the hands of a veteran screenwriter, maybe the points it tries to make would have worked. However, they are little more than gimmicks done in poor taste that do nothing to justify their place in a story about the return of the horror icon. In fact, they come off as a faint silhouette or a veil, much like the skin on the face of the mass murderer, Leatherface, merely to eat up the film’s runtime, which hits the credits at around the 75-minute mark. The school shooting angle for this film, however, is the worst of them all and completely unnecessary for more than a few reasons.
Once Leatherface is reawakened (and you’ll know when), it’s a bloody mess until the end. Of course, this is to be expected from such a well known horror character. And yes, there are more than a couple of silly kills involving, and not involving, the chainsaw. And there is one scene toward the end that’s bloody to the point where around two minutes into it, you’ll finally say “enough is enough.” Oh, and did we mention that the film tries to bring back the lone survivor at the center of the story like Halloween did back in 2018 with Laurie Strode? Halloween got it right. However, here it’s nothing more than a glorified cameo here Sally Hardesty, played by Olwen Fouere, who delivers lines as if they’re riffed from the Halloween “remakequel.”
The only positive from the film is the score by Colin Stetson. But everything else in Texas Chainsaw Massacre is either awful or embarrassing for those who partook in this, like Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), who is one of the leads in this disaster. The film’s attempts at raising awareness on current issues should be taken as a warning for future films. The next Halloween film, Halloween Ends, is supposedly going to address current issues related to COVID-19 and the pandemic. If the filmmakers are smart, maybe they’ll remove those elements from the story. If they need a perfect example of why not to include them, they need look no further than this bloody, not-so-scary or thrilling, poorly conceived film.