Horror, Cult Movies, Exploitation Cinema, 70s Schlock, and more! Let’s start the weekend off by getting freaky! Or something like that…
“Did that not feel like a bad omen to you? This place is cursed now.”
Genre: Remakes not worthy of the original
Year Released: 2022
Pedigree: Legendary studios similarly titled sequel to the 1974 classic
Where I Watched: Netflix
Synopsis: Remember Harlow, Texas? Y’know, where those horrible chainsaw murders took place, the perpetrator of which was never found? Well, a bunch of young and hungry twenty-somethings bought the whole damn town, in the hope of turning it into a hipster social media “destination”. But there’s still a handful of people who live in the town; a contractor Our Gang has hired to help fix up the place so potential buyers will buy, a very old woman who seems to believe that her deed is still in effect, and her old but still very imposing looking son. When the old woman has a heart attack from the stress of these whippersnappers bullying her, her son is less than pleased. Hey, is that a chainsaw he’s taking out of the wall? Ah, memories.
Fabulous or Frustrating?: there is nothing worse than a film that starts out promising and then limps, crawls, and hiccups its way to the finish. Behold, this insipid disappointing buttfart of a sequel. It should be a whole lot better than it is– the cinematography is breathtaking and the overall concept is intriguing – but it seems like nobody really knew what to do besides the cinematographer.
Director David Blue Garcia has several cinematographer credits under his belt, but this is his second directorial effort. I can see touches of beauty here and there, especially in the wide shots. I’d love to see Garcia and this film’s cinematographer Ricardo Diaz get together on a film that actually has something to say. Meanwhile, story creators Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues plot out an intriguing concept, but screenwriter Chris Thomas Devlin doesn’t seem to know what to do with it. Scenes are choppy, characters are barely sketched out, with most only serving as one more body to cut up, and themes are introduced and discarded, leaving a hollow, uninteresting story.
The first twenty minutes seem promising enough; Our Gang are the requisite hipster snobs that seem to have missed the Wrong Turn remake’s audition, but are cool with feeling superior in Texas rather than Virginia. Young Lila, the sister of Head Snob Melody, is a survivor of a school shooting, and Lila has external and internal scars to prove it. Pitting Leatherface against a battlescarred girl sounds interesting, no? Well, while watching this film, you can plot out story ideas that would have worked much better than what’s unspooling in front of you. A contractor that seems to be retired military? Ooh – could he and Lila team up? Nope. The idea of gentrification spreading from Austin to other areas in Texas, and how that could be an issue for small town folks after decades of bad times? Nope. Hell, even the idea that the 1974 massacres are happening again? Nope. Seems the creators of this film watched Halloween 2022 and thought making 1974’s survivor Sally a badass just like modern-day Laurie Strode. But without any backstory. Just a mean look on her face, and a gun. (Though shout out to Olwen Fouéré – the actress playing modern day Sally – who could be the spitting image of original actress Marilyn Burns, may she rest in peace.)
This Massacre is beautifully shot, with that touch of heatstroke yellow filter that you saw in the original. But there’s lovely crystal clear oversaturated hues HD of a horror flick from the aughts. I know I’ve already mentioned this briefly, but seriously; the cinematographer is way too good for this dreck. The only thing this film has going for it beyond good looks is the outstanding FX. Lots of the red stuff looks like it’s actually on-screen rather than CGI’ed, and with the gorgeous photography? It’s potent stuff. I’d say this film is worth a watch if you just want to see lots and lots of people get mercilessly sawed up…but Massacre is too boring to even hit the spot as a gorefest. The climax is a let-down, with a character that should have met a grisly demise ending up being the one who knocks Leatherface on his apron. Don’t worry though; there’s the usual sequel-baity final “gotcha” scene that is beautifully shot but can be picked apart if you care to think about this film after the credits roll. Hooray?
Oh, and there’s a tiny post-end credits tidbit that only the most hardcore Leatherface fans will want to wait for. Because after about a little over an hour of dreck, the last thing you’ll probably want to do is wait through about ten minutes of credits. Yep, this film is barely over an hour, and I’m still telling you you’ll be bored pantsless. Oh Leather, you deserved so much better than this.
Freak-O-Meter: 1.5 out of 5 Freaks