Texas Chainsaw Massacre Should be Massacred

Stop killing good storylines with watered-down classic villains. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, released on February 18, 2022, has a runtime of 81 mins and is the tenth movie in a line of films dating back to 1974 all following a crazed chainsaw welding maniac wreaking havoc on groups of teens.

In the shiny and new 2022 version, four millennials set out to the small town of Harlow, Texas. Melody and Dante are the true pursuers of a new business idea while Lila, Melody’s sister, and Ruth, Dante’s fiance come along with them. They’ve made this journey to auction off old, and what they assume to be, abandoned buildings to create a trendy new place for others their age to inhabit. When inspecting one of the abandoned buildings, the characters find out that it was previously an orphanage. And in this found building they find an old woman, Virginia, who claims to still have the deed for the orphanage. Not believing her, Dante calls the cops in an attempt to get her out of the building. After the disagreement, the woman collapses. An ominous, burly man races down the stairs and carries the woman out of the building to an ambulance.  Ruth goes with them, wanting to keep tabs on the state of the two and their trip to the hospital. If you’ve seen any of the originals, you know he will eventually become our madman. Waiting for this eventual turn of events didn’t take long because Virginia never makes it to the hospital, dying in the ambulance, leaving the two authority figures and Ruth alone with a madman. His anger only took a second to skyrocket, beginning his slashing and leaving us with three remaining characters about ten minutes into the movie. 

After the deaths of Ruth and two police officers, the movie’s chain of events begins. This plot is the same one that has been used in every Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie before this one and even the slasher and horror movie franchise in general. I’d like to suggest directors and screenwriters stop giving additional numbers added onto these movie’s titles. and create new spooky slasher villains for this generation of moviegoers. 

Special effects are becoming a lot more advanced, and the storylines not so much. Even though this killing spree was one for the special effects hall of fame, the movie could’ve been so much more successful if the story was able to nicely compliment the special effects. This means, if you are a person who watches horror movies for gore only, you’ll be impressed when watching this one. 

Even with a plot everyone already knows, time goes on, and there becomes generational differences. And in this movie’s case, the differences cause the directors to include references to the real world that are enough to make you cringe. In a scene where Leatherface is about to quite literally tear through a bus of people with a chainsaw, partygoers quickly have their phones pointed and make a claim about how the killer is going to get ‘canceled’ if he tries anything. While I’m unsure if the scene was used to poke fun at people like that or if the directors genuinely believed it to be a good addition, it just makes the film feel more of a comedy and not the classic they are seemingly recreating. 

Problems in the world have changed since 74′ when the first movie of this long series was released. However, the original did not use every moment it could to implement the world problems into the script. When city-stuck young adults venture to Texas, there is a great difference in how the locals live, one of the biggest differences is that most of them are concealed carrying. When Lila sees someone with a holster on his hip, we learn she was a victim of a school shooting and has a fear of guns.  While I believe that any type of character trauma can be added into a storyline, I think that the execution of how this trauma is resolved or worked through makes or breaks whether it should’ve been added or not. For Lila, her trauma seemed to play such a big part at the beginning of the movie when she was fearful to go anywhere near a firearm. However, it was suddenly broken by picking up a gun in the heat of the moment and finding it to be empty. She continued to pursue the killer, suddenly no longer having any fear towards the weapon. I think that if this aspect of character trauma hadn’t felt so forced with no other background it might’ve been helpful to the story but it just wasn’t. 

I believe this movie had strong potential, they could’ve done so much more with it. But I also believe that big pieces of the film would’ve had to be taken out for it to start on the right track to being anything near the original. Had the directors not been changed in such a quick way and production had not revolved around Netflix, I am convinced that this new version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre could’ve been a good iconic addition to the series. However, had this movie been one for awards and a nostalgic view of the past, I still believe that the series needed to end and finally bury the chainsaw somewhere other than in the walls of a home.