“Texas Chainsaw Massacre” disappoints with a messy sequel and blood-sucking boredom

a+silhouette+of+a+man+looking+up+at+a+mask

Udita Jonnala

“Texas Chainsaw Massacre” released in Feb.18, 2022 and directed by David Blue Garcia, suprisingly manages to scare viewers with the terrible plot instead of Leatherface himself.

Udita Jonnala, PR Editor

For four decades and counting, Leatherface has gone through several human skin masks and comes back every now and then with a surprise sequel. Though the thrill of the gory kills and fresh victims excites horror fans, the movies always underperform. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” released on Feb. 18, 2022 and directed by David Blue Garcia, surprisingly manages to scare viewers with the terrible plot instead of Leatherface himself. 

Tracing back to the birth of the Chainsaw Massacre franchise, with the 1975 movie “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” the new movie provides new ties to the old movie. In the first movie, the viewers are taken on a journey with Sally and her friends visiting her family’s farmhouse, but are met with unexpected cannibalistic neighbors and the serial killer Leatherface. As Sally comes out as the lone survivor from the event, her story continues on in the sequel as her blood churns for revenge. Though the first movie made Leatherface a horror cult-classic, the sequel undermines his reputation. 

The film starts with Lila (Elsie Fisher), an introverted and soft-spoken teenager, and Melody (Sarah Yarkin), her older sister who is a complete opposite of her. Tagging along with them are the married couple, Dante (Jacob Latimore), a very determined chef, and his spouse. Following the characters on their trip to Harlow, Texas, the friends hope to remodel the real estate into a trendy and peaceful “weekend getaway” for city folks. Referred to as “gentifiers” by the town folk in Harlow, the friends also welcome a bus full of investors to purchase parts of the town in hopes that their future visions will come true. However, when the investors arrive, their plans do not fall accordingly, as one of the buildings, an orphanage, is occupied by an elderly woman who is reluctant to give away the property. 

The main characters, fresh from the city, seem very staged in their development and far too emotionless to make them seem “human”. ”

Even in the beginning few minutes of the movie, it becomes very apparent at how much the directors and writers force the “Gen Z” language and mannerisms on the characters. It makes it seem very cringeworthy and overly exaggerated, steering away from the true motivations of the characters. Just like every Chainsaw Massacre movie the difference between the country people and the newcomers is very striking, but this sequel makes the difference more staggered. The main characters, fresh from the city, seem very staged in their development and far too emotionless to make them seem “human”. 

As the plot of the movie progresses, it is discovered that the old lady in charge of the orphanage is the caretaker of Leatherface, serving as a mother-like figure for him. Due to Dante and Melody’s extravagant idea for the land and their opposition with the elderly woman’s reluctance to leave, her fits of anger cause her health to descend gravely. In a reaction to this, Leatherface channels his anger and bestirs his chainsaw mutilating tendencies.

Though this movie tries to portray the characters as having serious internal struggles, it is hard to look past the haphazard plot and that fast-paced movement of intensity in the movie. The movie itself lacks any sort of build-up, the story moves fast, as if it too was getting chased by a chainsaw wielding murderer. Just one look off the screen could go from a frame of the party with the investors at Harlow to Leatherface dismembering his victim. Without any escalation of fear, the plot is predictable. Even though Garcia tries his hardest to bring sudden plot twists, the execution makes the movie very unrealistic and jarring. Many of the jump scares in the movie were either too predictable or completely off topic — it lacks the balance needed to create terror in the audience. 

Something new the director and writers try to experiment in this movie is showing the social commentary of the new generation. Though some of these scenes have bad writing and bad portrayal of Generation Z, it does earn a sympathetical chuckle. Such as the scene when Leatherface appears in the bus full of city-mannered investors who threaten him by livestreaming and intimidating him with the cancel culture. The film also delves into Lila’s PTSD from her past experience in a school shooting, but her later action, where she overcomes her fears and holds the shotgun, seems very hypocritical considering the significance of her past. Also showing the group’s disapproval of the confederate flag posted on the window of the orphanage, the director tries to experiment for a deeper reaction from the audience; it instead falls flat like the rest of the plot. 

Gore, being one of the biggest selling points of the Leatherface franchise, is the one thing the movie is not short of. Some of the more violent scenes are pretty creative, including a scene where Leatherface breaks a man’s arm and stabs his neck with his raw, exposed bone. 

Overall, the movie didn’t meet any expectations that viewers had for Leatherface. With a mixture of bad character development, cheap shots at Generation Z and the messy plot, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is an overhyped, unnecessary addition to the Leatherface collection.