Why are we getting another Texas Chainsaw Massacre? One obvious reason is because horror is cheap and certainly makes money. But there is another film we can probably blame for this new sequel existing. Thanks, Halloween. Wiping away all the convoluted sequels and streamlining this new addition back to the original seems to be a popular idea nowadays (at least for horror). A new group of young people find their way to Harlow where they confront an old woman…and her mountainous son. When tragedy strikes this older woman, vengeance is swift and comes upon all the people around to feel its wrath.
What does director David Blue Garcia bring to this decades old franchise? Well…plenty of gore for sure! There is blood, guts, limbs, and skin everywhere. This film pulls zero punches and shows zero subtly. This will cause plenty of contention based on your definition of horror. I am averse to gore for the sake of gore. That is not horror. Where the original Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre used moments of subtly to created true terror. This is more of an exercise in how far the audience can be pushed. There is unfortunately a lack of tension as well. Something just felt missing in how the set-ups were handled leading to a blunt delivery of thrills instead of mounting tension. Luckily this film feels like a spring for its 83-minute runtime.
But are the writers able to add layers to the proceedings? Elsie Fisher’s Lila is the only new character that has some bit of layers as tragedy is revealed in her past. But the tricky thing is our protagonists are in the wrong and caused the death of this older woman. No wonder Leatherface is mad! What makes matters worse is that these are some of the dumbest characters in horror. The writing feels so lazy that every character makes the wrong choice in every possible situation just to build up more tension and to keep the film going. The third act does feel overly stretched out. Then the exclamation at the end is just there for shock value. Olwen Fouere is brought on to play the original survivor Sally from the first film. Her inclusion is shoehorned in so poorly and then her presence is undermined by terrible writing and anticlimactic resolutions.
But can the cast salvage the film in any way? Fisher does a fine job in her role as she is probably asked to do the most. Mark Burnham does bring a towering presence to Leatherface which is necessary to make his character work. Everyone else? They are either just there to scream, be a stereotypical redneck, or just be a flatly written idiot. That really doesn’t do the film any favors.
Does this legacy sequel earn its existence in this classic horror franchise? Not really. They attempt to capture the spark of the 2018 Halloween, but this film does everything so poorly that it feels tacked out. The characters are too dumb and there is a lack of craft in how it all plays out. Who will enjoy this film? Those who love them a giant bucket of gore. Enjoy.