Director David Blue Garcia’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is a direct sequel to the original 1974 film that continues the story 50 years later. The story has a surprisingly modern take on the classic story that draws viewers in but fails to capture the horror of its predecessor.
“Texas Chainsaw Massacre” tells the story of a group of young adults who have recently bought the rights to an abandoned town in Texas with plans of selling off the different properties and modernizing the town. The group of young entrepreneurs consist of Melody (Sarah Yarkin), her younger sister Lila (Elsie Fisher), Dante (Jacob Latimore), and his partner Ruth (Nell Hudson). When Melody and Lila explore the town, they discover that it is not truly abandoned. The film was released on Netflix on Feb. 18.
The film has a classic horror film feel with a cast of not terribly big named actors as well as the way the story is told. We are giving characters that seem ambiguous as to if they are going to be heroes or antagonist, such as the towns local mechanic Richter (More Dunford), annoying characters that don’t think there is anything wrong till there is a chainsaw waving in their face, and empty characters that leave the viewers guessing who will die first.
Visually, the film avoids the tones of some of the past films by not using an overabundance of warm tones and overly sweaty characters. With the town seemingly abandoned, there is an overall older look to the town, but is it populated with modernly dressed people and cars that help ground it in the present. The film is shot at first in a standard way to simply tell the story, but as the film continues and the horror begins, we start seeing more shots that focus on the characters in danger that help the views feel the tension and fear that the characters are feeling.
The opening scene takes place in a gas station where the viewers are given some backstory on the original film as well as some setup for the rest of the film. The gas station contains the classic horror trope of an employee who isn’t all to friendly with the outsiders. From the beginning we can begin to get a sense of each character and their personalities.
These personalities are not fleshed out too much, however, because as the film continues, it turns into people screaming and running helplessly in a straight line doing little to avoid the dangers they face. The film begins to start feeling mindless with it’s use of extensive gore, even for a horror franchise such as this. In the 2003 “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” film, the violence in it is used to create tension and make the viewers squirm in discomfort, while this film more so shows goriness just to show it without any impact on the viewers. This almost makes it feel comical.
“Texas Chainsaw Massacre” helps bring Leatherface into the modern day, but is a story that fails to capture the original horror of the first film.