Following within the footsteps of the latest Halloween and Candyman legacy sequels (or, ‘requels’, to offer them the identify coined on this yr’s Scream, itself a requel), the newest entry within the saga of chainsaw-wielding cannibal Leatherface is all about going again to the unique. Ignoring the earlier sequels, prequels and remakes, this one’s a direct follow-up to Tobe Hooper’s scuzzy 1974 masterpiece, and begins in a lot the identical manner — with a gaggle of younger adults driving by way of rural Texas, the place the violent locals, er, gained’t take kindly to them. In ’74, they have been hippies — free-spirited children whose informal attitudes to intercourse and short-shorts discovered them on the receiving finish of hammer-bashings, meat-hooks and, sure, chainsaws. This time, they’re city hipster influencers, with plans to gentrify a small Texas city by way of artisan eateries and classy retailers. If Leatherface by no means struck you because the brunch kind, properly — spoiler alert — he’s not.
There’s a kernel of a strong concept to Texas Chainsaw Bloodbath (taking a cue from The Social Community’s Sean Parker, they’ve dropped the “The”), with its updating of the unique’s culture-clash dynamic. The 82-minute runtime (an ultra-lean 74 minutes minus credit) provides little probability to get to know any of the brand new blood notably properly — however it’s welcome to see Completely satisfied Dying Day 2U’s Sarah Yarkin and a post-Eighth Grade Elsie Fisher in main roles as central sisters Mel, the brand new proprietor of small-town Harlow, and Lila, who survived a college taking pictures, respectively. Tonally, although, David Blue Garcia’s movie (he took over as director from Ryan and Andy Tohill one week into manufacturing) couldn’t be farther from Hooper’s still-terrifying traditional. There, the chainsaw violence was far much less graphic, however the ambiance was suffocating — a way of depravity, decomposition and discordancy that felt inconceivable to clean off. Right here, the bodily violence is majorly ramped up (heads crunch, saws rev, innards spill), however the psychological violence is non-existent — which is perhaps much less of a difficulty if Texas Chainsaw Bloodbath didn’t straight invoke its predecessor.
Regardless of positioning itself as a definitive sequel to an outright traditional, this Texas Chainsaw (to not be confused with 2013’s Texas Chainsaw, itself meant as a direct sequel to Hooper’s movie) is finally only a dumb, schlocky slasher — and on that entrance, it boasts enjoyable sequences. A official Texas chainsaw bloodbath on a crowded bus delivers bravura gore and the type of carnage that merely wouldn’t have been doable within the ’70s, whereas the clunky script is riddled with horrible dialogue that gives moments of so-dumb-it’s-fun leisure. However the complete movie feels ill-conceived — the implication that Leatherface left his, properly, Leatherfacing behind him within the wake of the unique’s deranged closing reel is laughable, and a rematch between him and 1974 survivor Sally Hardesty (now performed by Olwen Fouéré) stretches credulity past breaking level. It’s not that Texas Chainsaw Bloodbath doesn’t work as a official continuation of The Texas Chain Noticed Bloodbath — it feels prefer it takes place in a completely totally different universe.