Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the requel no one asked for

Steven Watts, Features Editor

Image by Liam Killian

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was released in 1974 and was an instant classic. The independent film earned over 30 million dollars in the box office compared to its budget of around $300,000. Though I’ve never been a huge fan of the film, I have to respect how director Tobe Hooper was able to create such a terrifying movie with such a small amount of money.

The tiny budget of the first film is a large part of what makes it good. According to IMDb, the iconic opening narration was paid for in marijuana. The production company behind the movie was a Mafia front. A piece of black tape covered the chainsaw company’s logo to avoid a lawsuit. It’s these types of stories behind low-budget movies that give them a distinct identity and personality.

The new Texas Chainsaw Massacre follows a group of four people who move to Harlow, which is Leatherface’s hometown. The place is now a complete ghost town with Bubba and his mother being the only living occupants. The group of four plan to flip the town and sell it as some sort of millennial nostalgia town, which brings me to the first question I had to ask myself during this movie. Who in their right mind is moving to a ghost town in the absolute middle of nowhere? The buildings are run down, there are torn confederate flags still lying in the streets, I just can’t believe that a group of young people would want to live there.

The four gentrifiers are some of the most unlikable, underdeveloped characters I’ve ever seen. Mel is an annoying, self-righteous Gen Z stereotype. She’s immediately picking fights with people who she doesn’t know and has a holier-than-thou attitude throughout the entire film.

Mel’s sister, Lila, should be the most interesting character in the film. A school shooting survivor, Lila has the survival skills to properly go toe to toe with Leatherface. Lila’s backstory is interesting, but it’s only brought up by her hiding the scar of a gunshot wound, and having one brief flashback of her trauma when she picks up an assault rifle to play around with.

Dante is the leader of the gentrification process. I don’t think he actually has any character traits. The same can be said about his bland fiance who doesn’t have a purpose in the movie at all.

Because Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a requel, by rule it needs to bring back a legacy character from the original. The complication with this franchise in particular is it’s only surviving character of the original events was played by the incredible Marilyn Burns, who died in 2014. Rather than just leaving the previous final girl out of the movie, they recast Burns’ character and had her play a useless part in the movie.

There is also an evolution of Leatherface from a dumb brute into a Michael Myers type of slasher. Not only is Leatherface somewhat obsessed with his original victim who got away, he’s now a silent, calculated killer. That begs the question, how can one be a silent killer while using a chainsaw? 

In the original film, Leatherface makes a lot of mistakes and it’s clear that he’s not quite capable of functioning like a normal person. He’s constantly grunting and squealing while he works his way through the victims. He’s been reimagined to be this smart killer with super strength.

Cartoonish, over-the-top violence is another flaw of the film. Action scenes are littered with quick cuts and close ups to try and draw some sort of excitement out of the viewer. There is also way too much gore in this film. There were a number of times I found myself wondering who would want to watch someone’s intestines spill out of a bus window.

There’s one question that I thought of constantly throughout Texas Chainsaw Massacre: why was this movie made? The film added absolutely no story value to the franchise. It introduced no new likable characters. There is nothing of value in this movie and frankly, I can’t think of a single redeemable quality that it displays.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the worst films I have ever seen. It’s somewhat insulting that someone approved a 30 million dollar budget for this mess. Some of you might be wondering if this is one of those movies that’s so bad it’s good. The answer is no, this film is just bad.

0/5 Stars