Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel created one of the most iconic horror movie villains of all time, Leatherface. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is still regarded as one of the scariest movies of all time being that it’s over 40 years old and has become synonymous within the horror genre, changing cinema forever. The story of Leatherface is a tragic one, filled with brutality, terror, and an overwhelming sense of dread that will live on in our dreams. With Leatherface, the film offers a look into the origins of the young man who would eventually be known as the eponymous character.
It’s 1955 and the summer is warm in the heart of Texas, but in the far backwoods something sinister is going on. From a gripping opening scene, Leatherface is filled with shocking violence and brutality that can be difficult to watch at times. Texas Ranger Hal Hartman (Stephen Dorff) wants revenge on the Sawyer family, whom he blames for the death of his daughter. He takes the Sawyer’s youngest son Jedidiah and sends him to a mental institution known as the Gorman House Youth Reformary.
Here we meet some rather interesting characters. We have a young nurse Lizzy (Vanessa Grasse) who talks to several of the patients and tries her best to help them. We have several patients who stage a daring escape including Clarice (Jessica Marsden), Ike (James Bloor), Jackson (Sam Strike) and Bud (Sam Coleman). Let’s also not forget Verna Sawyer, the aunt or perhaps the mother of this family played to perfection by Lili Taylor (The Conjuring).
Leatherface starts out with a promising beginning, but after that is where things start to take a different turn. This is supposed to be an origin story, but the Sawyer family is hardly present in the film except for when they are needed and the patient escape plot that leads to bloodshed does nothing to add to better understanding the soon-to-be Leatherface.
Verdict 1 out of 5
Directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo (Inside) have made a good-looking film but Seth M. Sherwood’s script lacks any means of focus. We are subjected to watch brutal violence and are left with a third act that expects us to accept the outcome of how this young man become a staple in the horror genre. It’s unconvincing in its story and while the actors are commendable, Leatherface is yet another TCM film that will never achieve the greatness of Tobe Hooper’s horror masterpiece.