Film Review: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)

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Stars: Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Mark Burnham
Director: David Blue Garcia
Distributor: Netflix

“He wore a mask.”

Almost 50 years since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and we have yet another addition within a franchise as good as a blunt chainsaw. With Texas Chainsaw Massacre, exclusive to Netflix, there is hope of a well needed oil change for this horror franchise.

When a group of young and ambitious entrepreneurs venture out to Harlow, Texas, their presence is to scope out the abandoned area to revitalise it and sell it on to new buyers. However, difficulty ensues when a broken down former orphanage still has an inhabitant or two: a croaky old lady and guess who… The young group led by Melody (Sarah Yarkin) and Dante (Jacob Latimore), accompanied by the former’s sister (Lila, Elsie Fisher) and latter’s girlfriend (Ruth, Nell Hudson), find themselves split between the occasion when old orphan lady Ginny (Alice Kridge) is taken away in an ambulance, and incoming, is a party bus full of hip individuals.

When Ginny passes on, literally in the middle of nowhere, her plus one – I wonder who – subsequently decides to go on a mad one, essentially, and decides to bring the party back to Harlow…

Like most slashers, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is next to non-existent in story or mythology, but is instead unimaginably enriched in inconceivable violence and gore. This ninth instalment within the TCM franchise is alleged as being a direct sequel to the 1974 original, thus ignoring all of the previous sequels, remakes, reboots and prequels etc. “Legacy Sequel” is the new, stylish term. However, this makes no worthwhile difference to the film whatsoever. Like what the Halloween franchise has done with bringing back Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), Texas Chainsaw Massacre sees the underwhelming and parody-like return of Sally Hardesty – played by Marilyn Burns in the 1974 original, and Olwen Fouere in the new one. A forgettable character accompanied by unforgettable violence.

Whilst the gore is of an extraordinarily vulgar and gruesome nature, it occasionally transcends into the field of black comedy. Somewhat like the original TCM films. The violence may be gruesome, but it lacks the grotesque nature present in horrors like Hostel and The Ringmaster. It can be read that the gratuitous gore inflicted upon the hipster / influencer majority of characters within Texas Chainsaw Massacre can be read as a perverse fantasy of wanting woke young people to be violently murdered – live on social media too. To be fair, nearly all of the characters are painfully annoying. 

Ultimately, as expected and probably desired by most, Texas Chainsaw Massacre leaves a lasting impression with its array of over-the-top kills, and not its story. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as, again, most slashers feel non-existent in the story, but are instead fully loaded with violence. However, the best flashers are the ones with the crazy kills and the intriguing stories. Texas Chainsaw Massacre isn’t one of them.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre is out now, exclusive to Netflix.

2 Stars


For John.

This article’s featured image: By Source, Netflix, Fair Use

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