To begin with, the filmmakers, who made the ninth entry into the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” film franchise, decided to alter history. Everything that had taken place after the original 1974 film, and prior to this entry, is ignored. Instead, the horror icon, Leatherface, and his death wielding chainsaw, have been in hiding for almost fifty years. During that time, there are people such as Herb (Sam Douglas), a store proprietor, who uses the infamous story of Leatherface, and the mystery surrounding his disappearance, in order to sell novelty items to tourists. Conversely, there is Sally Hardesty (Olwen Fouéré). She was the lone survivor to escape the blade of Leatherface, in the frenetic closing minutes of the original film. Since her escape, Sally has become a Texas Ranger. She didn’t join because it was her life’s ambition. She didn’t even join to exact revenge on Leatherface for almost killing her. Sally became a Ranger, in order to posses the necessary skills to be able to hunt down and kill, Leatherface, to avenge her brother’s death. Thanks to a group of idealistic entrepreneurs, Sally’s long wait, might be over. (As an aside: While it would have been cool to see actress Marilyn Burns, reprise her role of Sally, from the original 1974 film, sadly, she passed away from a heart attack on August 5, 2014, in Houston, Texas).
Melody (Sarah Yarkin), Dante (Jacob Latimore), and his girlfriend Ruth (Nell Hudson), have arrived in the remote town of Harlow, Texas. They aren’t there by accident. In fact, they’ve bought up the land and property in the town, which is empty except for the town’s auto mechanic, Richter (Moe Dunford); the Sheriff (William Hope), and his Deputy (Jolyon Coy); or so the young entrepreneurs were led to believe. In a few hours, the trio will be attempting to auction off the land to other young investors. Apparently, capitalism isn’t the trio’s only end game. The friends specifically looked for a place like Harlow, where people could have the opportunity to start over, while at the same time creating, a sort of social utopia. Lila, portrayed by Golden Globe nominee Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), has reluctantly traveled with Melody, her older sister to Harlow. Lila is the survivor of a school shooting, and is still traumatized. Even though she has no interest in what Melody and her friends are doing, nor does she want to spend any appreciable time in Harlow, she’s hesitant to be left alone.
Unfortunately, things don’t get off to an auspicious beginning. While inspecting the buildings, an immediate obstacle presents itself. Dante, who is African American, spots a confederate flag hanging from the second floor window, of one of the buildings. Not only is Dante understandably offended, but the potential investors, a number of whom are minorities, will be arriving soon. The flag needs to come down immediately.
The building the flag is hanging from, used to be an orphanage. When Dante enters the building, he is surprised to learn that the owner and operator of the orphanage, Mrs. MC, played by Saturn Award winner Alice Krige (Star Trek: First Contact), still resides there. Dante is insistent that she has no right to be there, and that he owns the building. Mrs. MC is steadfast in her belief that she has the proper paper work that states that she is the building’s owner. Furthermore, she informs Dante, that she is taking care of a special needs person. All of the other children, that had once been under her care, were either adopted, or, upon turning eighteen, they simply moved on.
Dante is having none of it. He wants her out. The two argue back and forth, and Mrs. MC succumbs to a heart attack. She is rushed to the hospital by the Sheriff and the Deputy, along with Ruth, and the hulking presence of the person that Mrs. MC has cared for during the past five decades. I don’t think it is a spoiler to write that the hulking presence will turn out to be Leatherface (Mark Burnham), and that if, or when, Mrs. MC dies, trouble will be plentiful, for all the people he feels are responsible for her death.
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was directed by David Blue Garcia (Tejano). Chris Thomas Devlin wrote the screenplay for the film based on a story written by Fede Alavarez (Evil Dead), and Rodo Sayagues (Don’t Breathe). Certain characters used in the film, were originally created by Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist). Netflix released the film for streaming on February 18, 2022. Parts crime, horror, and thriller, the movie has a runtime of 83 minutes.
The gore hounds are going to love this film, because one aspect of the movie that there is an overabundance of is gore. Horror fans in general, especially those more into psychological and implied horror, are going to, more than likely, detest the movie, because it holds nothing back. I have to admit, that at first, I didn’t recognize Elsie Fisher, who I thought was excellent in the film “Eighth Grade.” It was nice to see her in something new, and she played her role well. The story, for the most part, was passable, but it didn’t expand on, or enhance, in any way, the Leatherface character. My mindset is, if you’re going to make a sequel to a film in the horror genre, that is considered iconic, and has stood the test of time, at least add something of interest. I didn’t expect Leatherface to take off his mask and perform a Shakespearian monologue, while staring at himself in a full length mirror, but there could have been some unexpected scene, that added another nuance to the story, that could’ve left people thinking; but that was not the case with this particular film.
As stated earlier, recommended for those of you, who love seeing the screen awash with blood. In addition, it would also be for film fans, who feel compelled, after they’ve invested their time in several entries of a franchise, to watch any prequel, sequel, or re-make that is released to the theater, direct to DVD, or are offered by a streaming service.