The spiritual sequel to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise takes place 47 years later. Ruth is a 25-year old San Francisco moneymaker who drags her younger teenage sister with her to Texas on a business trip, out of fear of leaving her alone in the city. The younger sister Lila is an amateur photographer who is wheelchair-bound and it’s not long until they’re fighting for their lives against a 60 year old Leatherface.
There’s no telling how many upcoming sequels the original 1974 film will have. The idea around the original concept whether true or not is appealing to horror fans, but sometimes trying to repeat the same level of greatness that came before will always fall short. Once again another team tries to make the 10th attempt to revitalize the franchise, but it may be safe to say that this franchise is cursed. What’s frustrating is the lost potential to bring what’s dead back to life, but that chance is missed due to thoughtless characters and immature writing towards the end.
One of the best things about this spirited sequel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, is the runtime. Including the credits, it only clocks in at 1 hour and 21 minutes. This may seem simple but it’s an amazing feat, to say the least. On top of that, you don’t have to wait too long before the killings begin in the film, with the first one taking place within the first 19 minutes. What’s also shocking is while watching I was on #TeamLeatherFace for a while. Violence shouldn’t be promoted in any way, shape, or form, but considering the circumstances, the “villain,” Leather Face, had just cause for his horrific murderous rampage to commence. While that may sound drastic, he at the very least had a valid reason to be angry, and his motivations were clear. He also throws his chainsaw which is super cool and resourceful. He’s effective.
The majority of the characters themselves were serviceable. There wasn’t anyone compelling enough to get attached to, but they each had decent personalities. When you’re not a fan of the protagonists, and/or those same characters constantly make bad illogical decisions, it’s difficult to root for them, but that doesn’t take place until the second half of this film. It’s not realistic to expect everyone in each situation to be an expert in all fields, but common sense and deductive reasoning are always appreciated. Both of those were as present as I would’ve liked them to be. When these characters start to die off each kill is earned and warranted. There was no other plausible outcome while they were in their current environment.
If you were interested in this film for the gruesome murders the film passed the mark there as well. There are plenty of heads being bashed in with random blunt objects, and bodies being cut in half. There’s no shortage of blood and gore in this film within context so be prepared to be satisfied with the carnage. And even with some of the horror elements being mild as far as editing and jump scares there was a decent level of suspense that did keep you on your toes.
With this film being so short, the first half was surprisingly remarkable. It passed everything it needed to, to at least be considered a competent film that respected the art of filmmaking. Then things began to fall apart during the second half. A character named Catherine (Jessica Allain) is the cause of this travesty for the most part. As stated earlier it’s not expected for every character to be an expert in all fields, but there was just no logical reason for her lack of communication during the climax of the film. So much life could’ve been preserved if she would’ve opened her mouth. When I see any character in peril, I don’t care if they win or lose, just as long as they give their best shot to make it out of the situation. Catherine didn’t choose her best, and that aspect is completely lost in the film. It’s never to be seen again which brings the rating down tremendously. The film also attempts to make you sympathize with multiple characters, which is fine, but it’s another failed attempt. While trying to be overdramatic with someone’s past trauma it ends up dragging on too long with no payoff. Another character is the textbook definition of “having too much pride will kill a man.” Just getting the job done should be the mindset, but it’s another key factor that is lost.
What’s even worse is the final 60 seconds of the film. The creators just couldn’t leave well enough alone. It’s a completely different tone, and leaves you wondering is that it? The writing is simply childish, as if someone in the department just had to get their way even if it tainted the film which is exactly what happened. While it may not have been everyone’s favorite Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel, for just enough it held its own. There were moments in this film that the filmmakers should be proud of, especially with their abilities to cut out all of the fluff. But it’s the 2nd half that should be forgotten because it truly does ruin what could’ve been considered good or even great to some.