Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)

Starring: Does it matter? I guess… Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Jacob Latimore, Mark Burnham, Moe Dunford, and a very special surprise guest!

Directed By: David Blue Garcia

Where I Watched It: Netflix

English Audio Description Available?: Yes

The Plot: After surviving a school shooting, a teenager (Fisher) decides to pack up her life and follow her sister (Yarkin) and her friends/co-workers/possible fellow cult members/future dead bodies (cast members not important) to a small town in the middle of Texas with a population of less than 2,000 people, that is famous only for one thing. A chainsaw massacre. It’s been 50 years, so nothing bad could possibly happen, right? RIGHT? Well something did. This movie got made.

What Works: Hahahahahahahahahaha. I’ll get back to you on that.

What Doesn’t Work: Character development? What is that? There was a character named Katherine whose presence I didn’t even notice until such a point where when i heard her name, i was like… has she been here the whole time? Remember, blind film critic, so i thought that there were only four main young people… so who the fuck is Catherine? Where did she come from? She seems to be with the other main four, but they did such a poor job of character development, I don’t know what to say. She’s really just there to die.

in fact, that could be said of almost the entire cast. All non-dimensional characters with little to no purpose in life. our main youngsters are trying to open a business in this tiny town in Texas for some strange reason, and there’s very little done to establish why they chose this town, or what their business is. There are investors coming by later, but they come at a point when nothing has been done to the new facility, begging the question… who invests in a company that buys a piece of shit property in a tiny town in Texas? moreover, why does a town with a population of less than 2,000 have their own orphanage? Even if they were the county seat, wat what point were there so many orphans needed for this venture? And since Leatherface was a grown adult back in the original film, shouldn’t he be ancient? Shouldn’t our victims be running from a semi geriatric Leatherface? The legacy character in the film is quite older, and she was a teenager the first go around. Leatherface is probably at least 70, and his caretaker would have been like mother time.

I also love that no one knows where Leatherface is, but he’s barely hidden. Like, no one checked the creepy orphanage in the middle of town that somehow is open but has no children? And he hasn’t killed in 50 years, but that gas in his chainsaw seems to still have life to it.

In addition to this film straight up not caring how stupid it is, it also mistakes having our young protagonists all be intensely dislikable, with “fun facts” about these characters being substituted for actual differences in the characters. They could be broken down into “girl who survived mass shooting”, “her sister”, “black guy”, and “black guy’s fiancé”. I know that seems blunt, or borderline racist, but this film really gives Jacob Latimore very little to do. I don’t know what his company is about, and… let’s just say… his screen time is limited. The biggest “non-Leatherface” moments he has are his reaction to a confederate flag, and being called a negro. And somehow, he’s unlikable for that. Is this an attack on woke culture?

In the audio description, his fiancé is given a name so late that she’s just constantly referred to as the fiancee, and by the time she gets a name, well, you can guess what happens.

To its credit, if you just want a gory blood splatter fest, this does that. But it does it without purpose. And every decision it attempts to make is fundamentally stupid, poorly developed, or damaging to what could have been a far more intense sequel. And this is a sequel. They saw the new Halloween, and said… we can do that, and then farted this out. They never stopped to figure out what made Halloween work, and why people were willing to watch a film that retconned all the sequels into oblivion.

Now, there is just the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Tobe Hooper classic, and this god awful follow up. John Carpenter got a win, hooper got a loss here.

Instead of trying to do anything remotely interesting, this film is caught up in obvious kills, characters that seem designed to die, predictable scenes, and not one likeable potential survivor in the bunch. It has that random room with the plastic sheets hanging that appears in every horror movie, but rarely exists in real life. It has that “they always come back” trope that Scream made sure to parody so terrificly in its franchise. It has a potential final girl hide in Botha closet and under a bed. It has people going upstairs to seek out trouble, when you know no one in their right mind would do that. It’s got every bad horror movie trope.

That, and I really want to know the logistics of this face mask that he wears. I always assumed, at least from the first film, that it was assembled, stitched together, and actually affixed to his face somehow. Here, he literally lifts off one face, puts it over his, and he’s good to go? No stitches required? No assembly?

I know Elsie Fisher probably chose this film so that she could prove she’s no longer in the 8th Grade, and this film lets her adult a bit, hanging a cigarette from her mouth at one point, and playing with guns. But, she’s a better actress, and this film gives her nothing except making sure you know that she survived a school shooting. It doesn’t really help or further the story, or her character, but we are reminded at every possible chance that she survived a mass shooting. There’s a visible bullet wound referred to in the audio description a lot, and whenever shit gets tough, she has a flashback to lying on the floor in her school. Ultimately, it means nothing. She could have been a survivor of a plane crash and it would have had the same impact. She is not afraid of guns, nor is she afraid to use them. It is a bullshit choice in a stupid movie.

What Works: OK. So back to this. I know that horror fans care very little about the characters anyway, or any presence of a plot, dialogue, and all the other stuff that make other films watchable. You come for the gore. So, this blind guy will confirm, this has a high body count. You will get to see things like Leatherface remove someone’s face entirely and put it on his own, and then other people stumble upon the body later with no face, for additional gore. Someone’s bone protrudes through the skin, someone’s head is fully smashed to a pulp, a person has a chainsaw shoved into their midsection and is lifted off the ground, someone has their face badly sliced, someone is cut in half, multiple people are decapitated, and Leatherface (in the films most creative sequence) has a hell of a lot of fun on a literal party bus.

I knew the party bus scene was coming, and even though this movie was shit, I have to admit, that one scene was a great set piece waiting to happen. Saw it coming a mile away, but it was still great. Whoever came up with that, probably saved the movie.

The Blind Perspective: As visually impaired individuals, it’s impossible to fully appreciate the gore, but our rather intense narrator does a really good job at trying to make sure you get all the gory details. Points taken away due to this random Catherine character popping up out of nowhere.

Final Thoughts: Probably will be remembered poorly, like the Matthew McConaughey version, and rightly so. Very little thought was placed into this film, and it insultingly tries to recapture what made the recent Halloween reveals so great, without understanding that there was a story, and characters within that helped to enrich the film. It wasn’t just a bunch of random assholes dying. That’s what this is, just a bunch of random assholes and quite literally, they die.

Final Grade: D (points only for sometimes being laughably bad, and that party bus sequence).

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