Posts Tagged ‘Leatherface’

Leatherface is a prequel to the 1974 classic horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and focuses on the origin story of the franchise’s chainsaw wielding lead character. For whatever reason, Leatherface was given only a limited theatrical release and was then sent straight to Video On Demand services.

The majority of this film takes place in 1965, the premise being that years prior local law enforcement took the Sawyer children into protective custody. Now, nearing adulthood, they have spent several years in an insane asylum. One night there is a riot, and four inmates escape along with a kidnapped nurse.

Surprisingly this entry takes the feel of a horror road trip movie, akin to The Devil’s Rejects or Natural Born Killers, with some scenes reminding me of Hannibal and the more recent Revenant. The majority of this prequel focuses on the inmates being on the run from the police, one of which is shown to be pretty crazy in his own right. I suppose this is an attempt to make Leatherface more sympathetic.

There’s also the issue of which of these inmates turns out to be Leatherface, which adds a hint of mystery to it. However, maybe because of this, the cannibalistic nature of the Sawyer family is downplayed until the end, and once Leatherface’s identity is revealed, it was unclear to me what ever made him think to make his first skin mask.

Clarice, one of the escapees, was to me the most intriguing character of the film. Given she was a supporting character, I suppose that counts as a weakness. The scene taking place in a diner was the highlight of the film. If you pay attention to character names, you’ll catch few nods to the first second, and previous chainsaw films. Until the end there is limited onscreen violence, but if you recall the same was the case for the original. It does have a modern polished look to it, and it could have used more of the grit of the first movie.

Leatherface is not a great movie, but it is not terrible either. It is better its previous entry Texas Chainsaw 3D from a few years ago. If you’re a fan of the series I would recommend it.

I’ve never reviewed a movie on here that I haven’t seen in a theater, but I wanted to review this as I’m a fan of the Texas Chainsaw series. It came out the first weekend of 2013 and I was in Korea at the time where horror movies always seem to come late. To my knowledge it never came to Korea, the fact that it bombed probably didn’t help.

Texas Chainsaw is unique, in it’s not a remake, but a direct sequel to the original movie, ignoring the other sequels and the remake and it’s prequel. So it’s kind of a reboot of the sequels. To my knowledge that’s never been done before.

It opens with a brief recap of the first movie. We get highlights that have been digitally restored and looks incredibly sharp. Picking up immediately where the original left off, the local Sheriff goes to the house and wants to bring Leatherface in. We see the family, including Grandpa. Other family members show up, (including one played by original Leatherface Gunner Hansen) and after a tense moment it appears they agree to send Leatherface out. However the local towns people show up, and acting as vigilantes they burn the house down. The look of the film in this sequence matches the re-mastered look of the original highlights that were just shown.

After the fire one of the men from the town finds a woman from the Sawyer family holding her baby. The man kills the woman and takes the baby. The rest of the film picks up with that baby, now and adult woman named Heather, learning of her birth right. This isn’t a plot twist, it’s established right up front. Apparently she had a grandmother that recently died that married into an oil family and has this big mansion. Upon first viewing I didn’t catch how she got all this money.

Texas Chainsaw starts out great and has a good premise following up on the theme of family. Unfortunately it’s not scary at all. Leatherface, who obviously survived somehow, has a very underwhelming reveal, and while starting off strong it lost me when Heather and her friends do something incredibly stupid regarding the house. 

The commentaries and features are interesting, as it’s revealed that the actual original chainsaw appears on film. The Sawyer house from the first movie was meticulously re-created, only to be burned to the ground. That opening scene that I loved was actually directed by original Chainsaw director Tobe Hooper. There’s three different audio commentaries, during which some of the other chainsaw films are subtly knocked. However most of those sequels I feel are better than this.

One of the commentaries has cast members from the original, including Gunner Hansen and Marilyn Burns, who played the surviving character from the first movie (who’s character isn’t mentioned in this, I was curious about what happened to her) and makes a cameo in a flashback scene as Heather’s grandmother. Most of that commentary is spent talking about the original film. This may be the only case where the DVD features are more interesting that the feature.

One issue is there’s a big time gap the film makers purposely ignore. The original explicitly states that it takes place in 1973. This new movie definitely takes place today, and Heather is a 20 something. On the commentaries they say they basically ignored this, and put some 80’s era cars in the Tobe Hooper directed opening scene to make up some time difference. But even the 1980’s is 30 years ago now. This would have been a good movie to make in the 90s (only scarier) instead of the even worse Texas Chainsaw New Generation. 

I really wanted to like this and I really wanted this to succeed. Before it was released Lionsgate stated that something like 6 sequels were planned. I was curious where they would take it, but it probably won’t happen now.