The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie franchise has gotten yet another reboot attempt with Texas Chainsaw Massacre. (Hey, lose the “The,” and you have a brand-spanking-new title for a film! All the kids are doing it!)
Alas, this is not a good movie. This Netflix release is actually a very stupid movie, with the dumbest premise offered up by the franchise so far—and this is a franchise full of dumb premises. Leatherface (Mark Burnham) has been hanging out in an orphanage since the first “massacre,” and the other sequels and reboots never happened. Filmmakers are trying the whole Halloween reboot path here. Since this movie is set in the present, that would make Leatherface at least 70 years old, based on the events and setting of the original film in 1974. He’s as old as Paul McCartney!
Nothing about Leatherface has ever been superhuman, yet he’s like the Terminator in this one. He’s always been a big, fat, drooling guy with a chainsaw, perhaps with a compromised circulatory system and advanced diabetes due to eating way too much barbecue. But here, he survives all kinds of violence (gunshots, head hits, drowning, bad editing) à la Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees.
The main plot involves a bunch of crazy, kooky young adults moving to the ghost town of Harlow, Texas, to renovate it as some sort of party center. This may be the worst entrepreneurial idea ever, but the movie pivots on this idea. It’s basically a reason for a busload of young emo adults and their cell phones to wind up in the isolated Harlow, where nobody hears your screams, and it’s seven hours to the nearest Chick-fil-A.
This is the ninth Texas Chainsaw movie. Nine of these! Only The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2—directed by Tobe Hooper, who also helmed the original—is a sequel worth watching, and only because it is so bad, it’s good.
While I hated this movie, it does contain a scene in which Leatherface 1) breaks a guy’s arm nearly in half while inside a van, then 2) uses the jagged bones to stab the arm’s owner to death while the arm is still connected at the shoulder and hanging on at the break by tendons and whatnot. Yes, a guy gets killed with his own arm while it is still attached to him. For this, I say bravo. Hands down, it’s one of the best slasher-movie kills I’ve ever seen. The movie blows ass, but thanks for this moment, director David Blue Garcia.
Despite that moment, you should not watch this movie, even if you are a Leatherface fan. If you want to see that guy get impaled repeatedly with his own arm, head to Netflix, and skip to a little bit past the 18-minute mark. You can watch that one scene, and then go back to watching Seinfeld.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is now streaming on Netflix.