Chainsaw Massacre franchise has made another slasher film for the series. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022 was directed by David Blue Garcia and the screenplay written by Chris Thomas Devlin. The movie is, well… a massacre. The slasher series does not know what to do with the infamous Leatherface. With this movie released, Chainsaw Massacre has made over nine films. The first four seemingly being in the same continuity timeline, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 1974, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 1986, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation 1995. A reboot was then made with Jessica Biel starring in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003, and then a few years later, a prequel/sequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning 2006, was released. It was a brand new timeline. Two more films were added to the already hefty similar film title, Texas Chainsaw 3D 2013 and Leatherface 2017. No one knows where these last two installments fit in the timeline. It could be the original first four films, or it could be the reboot series.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022 is a direct sequel to the 1974 film. Why? There’s no real reason besides the fact that the creators of this film are trying to copy the Halloween 2019 approach to a reboot sequel. It’s done poorly for many reasons. It’s an exact copy of the same premise. The final girl from the original film comes out and helps the new characters kill the masked killer in the movie. Jamie Lee Curtis’s character is someone all audience members root for because she is in about half of the sequels. She’s the reason why Michael Myers kills. As for Leatherface, Sally Hardesty’s character is only in two previous Chainsaw’s. Sadly, the original actress Marilyn Burns passed away in 2014. Which further disconnects the viewers. Olwen Fouéré fills in the role for Sally.
In the original Chainsaw, Leatherface was accompanied by a family of cannibals. There’s no family in this one, and Leatherface eats no one. We also see closeups of Leatherface’s real face. It dilutes who the character really is. Considering that he wears a mask because he’s disfigured in the original film is a continuity error because his face appears to be “normal.” Now he is simply a man in a mask killing people. In this film, he has an attachment to Mrs. Mc, who takes care of him in a presumed abandoned children’s orphanage. When she dies, he begins his rampage. It gives a more humane reason why Leatherface is set off; however, if this is a direct sequel to the original, none of it makes any sense. The original movie is a bizarre film to watch in horror when Marilyn Burns screams her head off as Sally Hardesty runs through the forest from Leatherface right behind her or when she rides away in the back of the car at the end. Her clothes were soaked in blood, and her eyes were wide with fear and relief mixed well together. This film simply doesn’t work.
Not to mention there is no fear factor. I squinted my eyes a few times when Leatherface would cut people up excessively, but I didn’t jump. The only jumpscare in the entire film is the last kill. It creates a mirror with the original 1974 vs. 2022, with Lila watching Leatherface’s last kill in horror. It’s a nice subtle touch. The rest of the death scenes are predictable and overly gory. Nothing’s scary. Regardless of how much blood or guts is assorted in the movie, you won’t be scared. Maybe you will squint your eyes or shrivel your nose in disgust, but that’s the extent. Half of the kills would be alive for a double kill effect. A character is shot in the throat, blood all over his body and from his mouth. He then partakes in a car accident and somehow “survives,” only to be killed again. This happens more than a few times. With one character, it’s okay. It’s surprising and perhaps makes the viewers hope that they could make it out alive, but doing it more than once is just overkill. Literally.
As for the characters, none of them were likable. We are in the 21st century, so most of these characters are a part of the Gen Z era. So, when the phrase ‘canceled’ is uttered to make audiences laugh, it only makes them cringe. You root for no one in the film, and the formula of the final girl is still set in motion. The writers tried to give dimension to the character Lila (played by Elsie Fisher), but using her school shooting encounter as a plot point, feels slightly tone death. It’s used for flashbacks to horror-ridden scenes between less horror and more gore. It felt out of place, especially with the many political issues that were shoved into the film. A few of the topics are the confederate flag and gun control. Keep in mind this movie is only an hour and fourteen minutes long. The last ten minutes are credits and a little after-credit scene. So, with the jammed pact PTSD of Lila’s past along with the gorefest of the bus scene, the return of Sally Hardesty, and the many other insignificant characters, it’s safe to say that this film should have been another hour long.
The acting is nothing to gripe over. The actors did what needed to be done. Sadly, this film isn’t something I would consider horror. It’s a gorefest film that should be categorized in the drama department. This film is 1.5/5. The .5 is for the acting capabilities of the young actors and actresses that partook in the film.