Sam Strike and Vanessa Grasse in Leatherface.

Once again, somebody has tried to revive the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise—and, once again, with Leatherface, we’ve gotten proof that some things are better left alone.

This time, the film goes the prequel route, with a silly story about how Leatherface became Leatherface. As proven in Rob Zombie’s faulty interpretation of Halloween—in which Michael Myers got a bigger backstory—some movie monsters are best left mysterious and mostly unexplained.

Much of the action here centers around an insane asylum where a teenage Leatherface-to-be (Sam Strike) is hanging out until a riot ensues. He escapes with a nurse held hostage (Vanessa Grasse), while being pursued by yet another evil Texas Chainsaw franchise lawman, this one played by Stephen Dorff. Leatherface’s mom is also looking for him; she’s played by Lili Taylor, whose career is clearly in a downward spiral, along with Dorff’s.

Directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury throw in some gory scares and extremely gross sex scenes, but there’s nothing that puts the film in a league with Tobe Hooper’s original, except for the title. (I’ll take this moment to say I’m a fan of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, also directed by Hooper, and highly underrated.)

Leatherface is a dreary exercise in paint-by-numbers slasher-film moviemaking, lacking in fun and legitimate scares.

Leatherface is available via online sources including iTunes and