TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE – 2022 – review

Can I tell you how weird it is to have a new TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE hit and I don’t feel any buzz about it? Now, I get it, it’s not the newest, hottest property, but it’s still a legendary series with five legit fun/good entries into it. I know a lot of people hate the remake and its sequel but they nailed the tone of the original and added some very creepy characters to the family. And heck, CHAINSAW 3 is fun, that’s all, fun. It blends the first and second in a way and makes its own mark. It isn’t great at all but it is a fun movie. Which can’t be said of the rest of the entries. So I get it, it’s not the same beloved franchise anymore but, it is weird to not get more excitement, I guess, about a new entry.

Welcome to the wonderful world of streaming services, the new Direct to Video, where even big movies o beloved franchises are sorta dumped and left to fend for themselves among the rest of the service’s offerings. The good thing is that, good, bad, or indifferent, this entry will have a long life and possibly a chance to get a lot of eyes on it. The crummy thing is that it can also just be lost in the virtual stacks over the coming weeks.

Well, let’s see what we have, shall we?

TEXAS CHAINSASW MASSACRE – 2022 – finds us following a group of friends as they venture into rural Texas on the way to a ghost town. The friends have bought up much of the small town’s downtown area after bank foreclosures and is going to take their restaurant – which we’re lead to believe is a viral sensation – to this town and then develop and sell the rest of the spaces downtown to other up and coming entrepeneurs who want to change the world for the better. The group immediately meets a gun toting local that doesn’t like the idea of these city people coming to the sticks to ‘infect’ it. There is a brief exchange but the group gets back on the road and heads for what is essentially their town. The place is in heavy disrepair but they can see the potential. They also find that a woman is still residing in one of the buildings that they have purchased. The woman insists this is all a misunderstanding, and that she has always been there, and is settled up with the bank. This place, you see, was once an orphanage, and is now home to one last child, a large man who we only see briefly in silhouette, but who we already know. One of the group insists the woman has to go, that they own that property, and they go off to call the police. Unfortunately, the police won’t be able to help them with what’s to come. No one can.

OK, there’s a lot to unpack here.

First, in seeing the newest versions of this franchise I am left to wonder if you can make a TCM movie with modern ‘kids’. This one makes me wonder. I mean, I am sure you can, it’s just…it has to be done differently than this was. This is another tired tale of Know It All city folks coming to the sticks tell country folk how to live. It’s a tired motif and isn’t given new life here. This reminds me of GREEN INFERNO, which set about showing that the people trying to save the world weren’t so great in the first place. These are not ‘bad’ people, but there is little work to show them as anything but victims to be. There is work done to try to make you care about one of them, but not enough is shown so all she can show you is trauma. There is a TERRIBLY corny moment with ‘influencers’ and ‘funders’ that is the worst sort of ’90’s nonsense. This has something to say about the idea of gentrification but, if the town is dead, why are these young, idealistic people portrayed as some sort of vapid villains? Maybe villains is a bit harsh, but that’s the feel. More work is done to show that an angry ‘redneck’ character is more caring and human than these people are.

This is a mimic of a TCM movie, and that’s the best I can say.

The best actor in the film, Alice Krige, is wasted, and that’s the thing that this one doesn’t get that the remakes did – Leatherface is the star, but shouldn’t be the focus. Unlike Jason, he just doesn’t carry a film on his own. At least in F13 movies you have dopey kids to cling to and focus on, here you have annoying hipsters who you want to like but who aren’t given enough time to become characters. Again, look to the original and you see them as FRIENDS, as PEOPLE. You spend enough time with them that when things go south you feel it, not just because of the horror of the violence but because of the shock that these are people. Sure, it looks cool and is gory to kill twenty people in once scene but if you don’t are about any of them then it’s just like a porn scene, it’s for gratification and nothing else.

It says nothing.

The biggest sin this film commits is in not respecting the original’s legacy, something it clings to desperately.

If the past matters so much to you, then honor it, don’t use it as a plot device.

The film looks slick, has a lot of interesting set pieces, and the Leatherface is Leatherface, big, brooding, and violent, but that’s it. This is a technically adept film with nothing to say and nothing new to offer.

This is for hardcore fans only.

It is gory, and mean, and that’s all.

This seems heavily inspired by the newest HALLOWEEN entries, and that’s an interesting tact to take but it doesn’t do enough with the legacy character to earn that sort of cred.

This knows the familar dance but just doesn’t have any rhythm.

And I hate to say this but it’s time to put the chainsaw up and let it rest a while. The next time someone goes back to this well it should be to reinvent the film, not ape what the first one did but gorier.

What a let down and what a waste.

1.5 out of 5

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