Bloody disgusting Chainsaw Massacre the review is spoiler-free.
the Chainsaw Massacre the franchise never cared much about continuity. Various sequels, reboots, and prequels have ignored timelines, family members, plot points, and tone. The one constant, of course, is Leatherface. The final entry ignores everything that came after Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic, picking up nearly five decades later with final girl Sally Hardesty (Olwen Fouere) holding a lifelong grudge and a new generation encroaching on Leatherface territory. The ultimate showdown between iconic characters takes precedence over a bloodier, raging Leatherface and a series of bizarre narrative choices.
Melody (Sarah Yarkin) drags her sister Lila (Elsie Fisher) along a mid-Texas business venture with his business partner Dante (Jacob Latimore) and his girlfriend Ruth (Nell Hudson). The foursome meet potential investors in the small ghost town they’ve purchased, though their post-millennium-influenced culture persona quickly ruffles the feathers of what few residents remain. This includes the sickly elderly woman (Alice Krige) still inhabiting the dilapidated orphanage. She unleashes the fury of her adopted son, Leatherface (Mark Burnham), who embarks on an unstoppable and ruthless rampage.
The setup seems simple enough, but Chris Thomas Devlinit’s screenplay, with a story of Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues, quickly complicates matters. Lila is the shy type still reeling from the trauma of a school shooting. His fascination and interactions with the gun-obsessed Richter (Moe Dunford) don’t flesh out this plot point and instead create mixed messages. The inciting event that results in Leatherface’s anger begins with anger at a Confederate flag, which in turn provokes knee-jerk reactions with repercussions. Then there are gentrification plans that encroach on Leatherface’s territory and Sally Hardesty’s flippant manipulation that seems destined to offer a middle finger to current horror trends.
In a quick 80-minute run, the director David Blue Garcia runs through it all without stopping to unravel the strange and awkward generational clash between suburb and city that hampers the horror. The intent seems to suggest that social commentary and current fads get in the way and ultimately don’t matter in the grand scheme of horror, especially when survival is at stake. However, the impact outweighs the choices. silly, lousy dialogue and plot threads that never get past their introductions. None of these superfluous details are necessary; Leatherface is a character that operates on simplicity, and audiences just want to see the slaughter.
Chainsaw Massacre succeeds on that front, at least. Burnham keeps Leatherface intimidating and scary, but with just enough pathos to elicit pity. He is helped by a make-up artist specialized in special effects Todd Tuckerit’s Leatherface makeup designs. The level of gore and kills are well executed and a complete blast. The sets around the murders are visually interesting, and the film delivers a real massacre in the bloodiest way that will leave you cheering. Garcia and his team want audiences to root for Leatherface, and they’re succeeding.
The plot maneuvers to get to Leatherface’s rampage are frustratingly cringe-worthy. If you’re hoping for some semblance of continuity or a true reunion of characters among horror giants, well, you’ll probably come out of this as wrathful as Leatherface. Everything about the characters outside of Leatherface is confusing and often moan-worthy, right down to the credits. Only Krige and Burnham escape unscathed. But if all you want is a slasher bloodbath complete with some gnarly kills, Chainsaw Massacre more than book.
Chainsaw Massacre is now available to stream on Netflix.