‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Is Asinine Drivel

Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre is just plain awful. A direct sequel to the original and the ninth installment in the franchise, this film is beset by a soulless screenplay and incredibly brutal yet unscary Leatherface. It also feels like a major ripoff of 2018’s Halloween, but not even a tenth as good.

Nearly a half century after Leatherface’s maniacal 1973 killing spree, young millennial entrepreneurs Melody (Sarah Yarkin) and Dante (Jacob Latimore), Melody’s sister Lila (Elsie Fisher), and Dante’s fiancé Ruth (Nell Hudson) travel in their Tesla to the dying town of Harlow, Texas to auction off old (mostly) abandoned properties to create a trendy, gentrified area. While inspecting a rundown orphanage, the group discover it is still occupied by an elderly woman named Ginny (Alice Krige).

After angrily claiming she has papers to proving legitimate ownership of the property, an argument breaks out over a confederate flag flying from the building. Ginny subsequently collapses from a heart attack and is rushed to the hospital, accompanied by Ruth and a silent, hulking man who Ginny said was the last of her “kids” who lived at the orphanage.

Meanwhile, an investor, Catherine (Jessica Allain), arrives along with a group of prospective buyers on a large tour bus. Lila strikes up a friendship with a local mechanic, Richter (Moe Dunford), and reveals she was a survivor of a high school shooting, which left her with terrified of guns and likely PTSD.

After Ginny dies en route to the hospital, the man snaps and murders the police officers who were driving the ambulance, which leads it to crash. When Ruth regains consciousness, she witnesses the man, revealed to be Leatherface (Mark Burnham), slicing off Ginny’s face to wear as a mask. She radios for help before being killed by Leatherface, who then starts his journey to Harlow. Sally Hardesty (Olwen Fouéré, filling in for original actress Marilyn Burns who passed away in 2014), the sole survivor of Leatherface’s previous attack and now a tough as nails Texas Ranger, learns of the ambulance incident and also makes her way back.

This was so bad. The characters are all unlikeable and make terrible decisions even by slasher film standards. And I couldn’t believe the vigilante angle with Sally Hardesty — such nonsense. If you’re going to rip-off a Jamie Lee Curtis performance, at least make it compelling. Also, the concept of San Francisco millennials moving out to Nowheresville, Texas to transform it into a trendy experience hub — and thinking their peers will pay a fortune for the privilege — is completely asinine.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre is nothing but a shameless attempt to cash in on recent slasher revival successes like Halloween and Scream. The ending was kind of okay, but even that pissed me off a little. Even more ridiculous is the new of there being a a possible sequel in the offing.

I give Texas Chainsaw Massacre one out of five stars.

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