Posts Tagged ‘TCM’

2022’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the ninth installment of the horror series and is exclusively on Netflix. Taking a cue from 2018’s Halloween, this installment seems to only acknowledge the original 1974 film, ignoring every other chainsaw film that came after.

This entry opens with an old DVD playing at a gas station, the DVD is a documentary about the events that happened in 1973 (which to us would be the 1974 original movie) regarding the masked chainsaw killer known as Leatherface, who was never found. The in-film documentary is narrated by John Larroquette, who is known for narrating the opening crawl of the 1974 film.

At the gas station we see there is some fandom relating to Leatherface, as there are chainsaw shirts, corkscrews, and other merchandise for sale. At the gas station we are also introduced to the main characters, a group of young Instagram influencers who have invested their money in the Texas ghost town of Harlow. Their plan is to make a small paradise for affluent young people who want to escape from big city life. One of the youths is Lila, who is traumatized from surviving a school shooting. Lila wrestles with survivors’ guilt and it is interesting to see a slasher film tackle this modern issue.

Naturally we see a generational clash as the young people assume the worst about the older generation of Texans, who themselves are not fond of the self-righteous youth.

Upon descending into the ghost town, we see an older woman is still living in one of the buildings (an orphanage) with her son. The original film featured a whole family of maniacs, by 2022, the only surviving members of the family are Leatherface and his mother. They come into conflict with the entrepreneurial youth, as the family claim that they have the deed/are the rightful residents of the property (It should be noted that this ghost town does not have the family homestead of the first movie).

Murder and mayhem ensue. The first act of violence is sudden and shocking. Unlike the first film, there is on screen gore, but the gore is seen so quickly that it feels more effectively disturbing than other violent horror movies.

Again, taking cue from 2018’s Halloween, Sally Hardesty, the lone survivor of the first film, returns for vengeance. It is explained that she became a Texas Ranger (presumably she’d be retired now) who spent the last near fifty years trying to find Leatherface (I know Texas is a big place with lots of empty spaces, but if you wanted to, you could nitpick how it’s a stretch that she never found the family in almost 50 years). When you first see her, you could mistake her for Leatherface given what she is doing in her introductory scene. She seems more functional than the Laurie Strode of 2018’s Halloween but is definitely still haunted by the trauma she faced all those years go.

Given most of the victims of this massacre are millennials, we of course get the gag of people putting everything on their phones. During a particularly brutal scene, the massacre is live streamed on social media, and leads to the highest body count of any TCM entry.

1974’s original Chainsaw movie is revered as a classic. Like most horror series, it has had its share of stinkers regarding subsequent sequels. This Netflix original stands as one of the better entries in the series, and I’m curious to see what the future holds. Definitely recommended for fans of the slasher genre.

P.S. I can imagine a Netflix TCM series involving a younger Sally as a Texas Ranger trying to hunt down the family. Maybe she never found Leatherface, but who knows, maybe she managed to find and kill the rest of the family.