The horror community will always get a little giddy when there is a new installment in the legendary franchises. It’s inevitable, even if we know that the sequels, reboots and requels won’t satisfy as much as the original. We watch them anyways. That’s how everyone felt with the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre. However, once it was announced that Netflix was the studio and the trailer dropped, the hype died almost immediately.
It was for good reason. I sacrificed one of my Saturday nights watching this film to see if it was as bad as everyone says. The only reason I say that it was terrible is because there were some fun spots in the flicker of the flames of this dumpster fire. Texas Chainsaw Massacre plays as a comedy and spoof sometimes, and it is undercut by the times that the film tries to be serious. The last half of it? It plays like a Halloween (2018) rip off.
The New Group: Might be more annoying than franklin
The film starts out fairly similarly. A group of twenty somethings traveling to the middle-of-nowhere Texas for some kind of sanctuary. This film takes sanctuary a little too far. They’re practically turning a ghost town into a commune. It gives me a little bit of the creepy cult vibe, but honestly, revamping a ghost town into something thriving sounds pretty neat. However, I would not want to be neighbors with any of these pretentious hipsters. I say that as a Portland local, so you have to know I mean that.
They make several stupid decisions and are really not supportive of one another. An example of a stupid decision being not having any papers on you when claiming the town, causing in the death that starts the whole thing off. Another example was sending the main guy’s girlfriend with the ambulance. The ambulance got there within plenty of time, I feel as if they should’ve just hoped for the best and called. Of course, that wouldn’t be the catalyst of events anymore, but the film honestly takes no time to get things rolling. Especially since it is paying homage to the original, which is a bit of a slow burn in the beginning.
The indestructible, traumatized sisters
Never have I ever seen someone get a sledgehammer to the gut from the top of the stairs that drives them through the floor, only to have them crawling for their lives three seconds later. The older sister, Melody is borderline indestructible. She takes so many hits and slashes, but still makes it through to the final act and beyond. I get that horror can go beyond reality, but this was borderline ridiculous. In turn to making Leatherface invincible, maybe making another character seemingly invincible will lead to a lot of fluff to the film. Just maybe.
On top of that, we have poor Lila. She is severely traumatized by a school shooting, which puts some pretty heavy commentary into the film and never really goes into it afterwards. The film then proceeds to force this traumatized girl to defend herself with multiple guns and hear multiple gunshots, just to add to the horror and terror of it all. I understand final girls have to go through it, but part of it is getting the upper hand creatively. That happens eventually, but after the heavy use of guns, it seems as if her using a gun was the true cure to her trauma. That’s not really a sympathetic approach to survivors of school shootings.
Pro Gun Control or Anti Gun control? Does it really matter?
To follow up on the Lila’s storyline, the film really makes fun of the younger characters being against having guns. I get we’re in Texas and the writers might consider this detail ironic, but it ultimately didn’t deliver. I think it was supposed to be somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek reference to the current political climate and the gun control debate. However, it doesn’t establish what side it leans on to be actually funny. It just came up as confusing and abrasive to insert it within the story without a smooth transition.
Honestly, I am really for social commentary in horror. There usually always is some kind of metaphor and moral hidden between the brutality. However, I really saw this as an unnecessary situation to bring up. Especially since it turned into something so insensitive to the school shooting victim in the film and a ‘gotcha’ moment when the people were not a fan of guns had to use the guns. Of course, they did; they are up against a seemingly supernaturally invincible murderer with a chainsaw. Distance works in your favor for that situation. With the already poorly written dialogue, this kind of serious topic was never going to be a subtle, witty insert.
Sally Hardesty isn’t laurie strode
The last thing about Texas Chainsaw Massacre was its final act and the writing of Sally Hardesty. After the bus scene, that I dare say was the best part of the film. It’s ridiculously brutal, bloody and violent–which actually made me laugh at the insanity of it. After that bloodbath and wiping out the entirety of the extra people in the town, the final act kicks in, with its weakest part not being the new characters but rather the original final girl. I don’t think the writers realized that Sally Hardesty will never make the same impact as Laurie Strode. Therefore, they shouldn’t have used her character like this without beefing up her character.
Sally is a hardened, traumatized woman who decided to go build an arsenal to showdown Michael Myers once they met again–sorry, I mean Leatherface. It’s literally the same format they went with in 2018’s Halloween. However, despite Sally being a trailblazer for the final girl, she simply doesn’t hold a candle to Laurie. Also, she makes some really stupid decisions that result in way more harm to herself and others than Leatherface. The woman doesn’t even make a dent in him and utters the worst line ever: “Don’t run, or he’ll haunt you forever.” Okay, whatever you say.
I think the icing on the cake was her asking Leatherface to say her and her group’s name while holding up a polaroid to him. Did she not listen in the first film? Leatherface is very much implied to be nonverbal due to disability. Also, he didn’t wait to learn their names, he just murdered them immediately upon arrival to that house. I feel like they were trying to show that they were putting a lot of thought and effort to tie it to the 1974 film. However, those of us who know the film are disappointed that seemingly ignored the events of the first film.
Final thoughts on Texas Chainsaw Massacre
I went into this film knowing it was going to be bad. I was ultimately hoping for a situation in which it was so bad, it was funny. Instead, I watched a half-baked horror film that had some really solid sequences that were just covered with poorly written, non-loyal to the original filler. Also, the Tesla autopilot ending was terrible. Hilariously terrible. Therefore, I don’t really think it’s worth the watch. What did you think of it? Were you a fan of this one or do you agree that Netflix should probably lay their efforts to rest? Let me know in the comments.
I’m not anti-Sally Hardesty either. You can read more on the evolution of the final girl and the role she plays in forming the trope here.
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Similar thoughts on this one. Just awful. They said Leatherface would be the same character, but old, and he’s neither.