“Texas Chainsaw Massacre” let down its predecessor

Directed by David Blue Garcia and written by Chris Thomas Devlin, Rodo Sayagues and Fede Alvarez, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is a sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” It follows a group of young influencers who are targeted by Leatherface. Meanwhile, a vengeful survivor resurfaces to confront the source of her decades of trauma.

I still have not watched Tobe Hooper’s influential film, although I have been meaning to for a few years now. My introduction to the franchise was instead 2013’s “Texas Chainsaw 3D,” which was so grating that I couldn’t even finish it.

My point is that I watched this new film with the mindset of watching it as a standalone movie rather than an entry in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” series. And as a movie, it was pretty bad.

I will admit that it has some great moments. There’s a scene in a field in which a character is trying to hide from Leatherface, and it has some surprisingly genuine tension. Not only that, but I appreciated the director’s dedication to using practical effects when they deal with violence. Even though I didn’t like this movie, I will admit that the violence was the only thing that I actually had fun with. This includes a point where we see Leatherface cut someone’s face off and wear it as a mask (you know, usual Leatherface stuff).

Unfortunately, that’s all I have in terms of positives. This movie has a pretty bad screenplay, and I am still appalled by how socially irresponsible this film is.

If you have read my review of “Don’t Breathe 2,” then you may remember that I was extremely critical of the film taking a truly monstrous character and turning him into an antihero.

That film was written by Rodo Sayagues and Fede Alvarez, who also wrote the story for “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Quite honestly, I’m having a hard time believing these were the same people who made the 2013 “Evil Dead” reboot and “Don’t Breathe.” I really love both of those films, so I don’t get what the hell happened.

One of the film’s characters is a teenage girl named Lila (played by Elsie Fisher from “Eighth Grade”) who is revealed to have survived a school shooting. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, her character arc is being able to move past her trauma and try to use a gun against Leatherface in the final act. I still can’t believe this actually happened in the movie. First of all, the film is incredibly cheesy and over-the-top, so I don’t really see why the writers thought they should try tackling such a heavy topic. Not only that, but this is one of the worst possible ways to handle it.

Another baffling aspect of the film’s plot is the inclusion of Sally Hardesty, who was the sole survivor of Tobe Hooper’s original film. She is brought into the story once she is killed by some random guy who tells her that Leatherface has resurfaced, and then she goes into this “I’ve been waiting 50 years to kill him” spiel. Unfortunately, this is probably going to remind many horror fans of the 2018 “Halloween” reboot, which has the same premise. But at least in that film, the vengeful final girl Laurie Strode is one of the film’s main characters. She is present for almost the entire film, so her path of vengeance is something that the audience is able to connect with throughout the film’s runtime. Not only that, but actress Jamie Lee Curtis reprised the role, so fans were able to reconnect with an iconic character while also seeing the actress return instead of just recasting her.

In “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” Sally Hardesty was played by Marilyn Burns, who unfortunately passed away in 2014. So in this film, the character was played by Olwen Fouéré, and she was barely in the movie. In fact, the movie spends around five minutes with her on-screen before her attack against Leatherface results in her getting chainsawed. It just felt like she was only in the film for the sake of fan service, but it doesn’t make sense to me why Sally was treated so poorly if her inclusion was to appease fans.

Overall, David Blue Garcia’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” had some genuinely entertaining moments, and I would have probably enjoyed it a lot more if it was only a cheesy horror movie. Unfortunately, the film falls under the weight of having to be a part of an iconic franchise while also trying to tackle disturbing subject matter.

RATING: 3/10