Review by Camden Ferrell
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a sequel to the iconic 1974 horror film. Despite being the ninth film in this franchise, it predominately serves as a direct sequel to the original film. This is the second feature film from director David Blue Garcia, who previously helmed 2018’s Tejano. Although not as passionately made as the original film, this sequel amps up the violence and gore to create a follow-up that is thrilling from start to finish.
In the 1970s, the killer known as Leatherface brutally attacked and killed a group of teenagers. Many decades have passed since then, and he has returned to terrorize a group of people who are attempting to revitalize an abandoned Texas town. This attempt to rebuild the city is being led by Melody and Dante, who are accompanied by their sister and fiancé respectively. This is a simple set-up that doesn’t overcomplicate anything or try anything new. This allows the film to remain short and to the point which works greatly in its favor.
The writing is sufficient for what it’s trying to achieve. It has all of the beats you can expect from a horror film, and it makes sure to pay homage to the original film in more than one way. The attempt to modernize certain aspects of the film and character don’t always land the way its intended, but these problems aren’t very noticeable in the grand scheme of things.
This movie is led mostly by Sarah Yarkin who plays Melody and Elsie Fisher who plays her younger sister Lila. Both of them do a great job as horror characters and fit well into their respective archetypes. The rest of the cast is fine, but don’t do much to stand out.
This sequel differs from the original in many ways. On a purely superficial level, this movie obviously lacks the low-budget charm that made the original so enjoyable. The times have changed, and the style in which this sequel is shot is a reflection of that. While its more polished nature takes away some of the raw grit and energy from the original, it is still clear that this was made by a filmmaker with nothing but respect and admiration for what came before.
Another difference is that this movie, having a larger budget and more resources, is able to go absolutely insane with its violence. The many kills in this movie are accompanied with plenty of blood and gore, and it’s an absolute blast when it goes into overdrive. Very few movies take full advantage of their premise like this one. While the subtle kills of the original work well, this movie lives by its exhilarating and gratuitous violence.
I think this movie is great for long time fans, but it’s also an accessible film for horror novices. It’s a short movie that doesn’t overstay its welcome, and even if some parts are predictable, there are bound to be a few moments that truly shock audiences.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an absolute blast, and it’s a great follow-up to Tobe Hooper’s timeless classic. It’s definitely a film for older teens and adults only as some might find its violence too extreme. However, this is a crowd-pleasing sequel that may very well be one of the most exciting horror movies of 2022.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is on Netflix February 18.