Well, here’s a big fat dose of what the fuck. This movie was so ridiculous that I was surprised to not see Anthony Michael Hall in it. I felt like I was sitting through a work meeting just to write this review. If there had been dance numbers performed by today’s modern equivalent of Prince and company I would have remained entirely nonplussed.
The movie begins with a group of characters, names inconsequential, heading to the beautiful ghost town of Harlow, TX. Their plan, you ask (but really you don’t care, and honestly does it really matter?); to gentrify the abandoned town into some weird oasis utopia in the middle of nowhere.
Thanks to a descriptive cameo homage intro from John Larroquette, the storyline laid out is supposed to coincide with the original TCM, about 5 decades prior. Let’s just make the usual assumptions from here: weird locals, Leatherface pops up, chainsaw, sledgehammer, blood, guts, carnage, etc.
Let’s discuss the movie’s main antagonist first before further whittling down the poorly applied polish on this turd to its corn-bedazzled core. Anyone who has taken third grade arithmetic is able to deduce that at this point, Leatherface is most likely at least pushing 70 if not already in his seventies. He’s got to be at least 6 foot, maybe 6’2” or 6’4”. He’s kind of husky; let’s not deny it. He’s probably not getting the best of health care in Harlow, so I’m assuming that despite any combination of high blood pressure, arthritis, osteoporosis and any other litany of health conditions, he holds the crown as the most agile and inventive septuagenarian of all time. All of this hard charging is done while wielding a running chainsaw, mind you. At time of writing, I am 42 and if I tried that I’d end up cutting my leg right the fuck off (or just having a coronary while the chainsaw simply ran out of gas). I had this same issue with the 2013 TCM outing as well.
The next item on my agenda is social commentary. Holy shit, we get it. Someone has something to say, but in this instance exactly how to say it properly has escaped essentially everyone involved in the creation of the film. Whether the point being made was to poke fun at some hot topic (gun control, technological addiction, class divide, etc) or to create a satire of said hot topics being poked fun at in the first place was overall hard to determine. Additionally, what major cataclysmic event happened that implemented this new constant frenzied desire to make some sort of statement on social happenings throughout the world in horror movies lately? What demographic needs these brownie points scored with them when most people are going into the experience fully expecting a person wearing a mask made of human flesh to kill people with a chainsaw? Further, Leatherface put absolutely zero effort into discrimination when it came to his victim count in this film. He’s an equal opportunity maniac. But if he wasn’t, well then that’s where I’d draw the line, pal.
Probably around the midpoint of the movie I had a tremendous revelation. If the sound effect and music departments of the production company had been replaced by the Looney Tunes orchestra circa the 1940s and 1950s and the movie had been rebranded as a comedy, we’d be talking about a pretty solid contender for some sort of MTV award (especially with the aforementioned need for social commentary). Come on. You’ve most likely seen the trailer by now with Leatherface’s head popping up out of the field of grain or whatever those plants are. Now imagine that same exact scene, only with a cute little violin/clarinet/xylophone combination instead of anything suspenseful. At this rate, reprising Wile E. Coyote or Yosemite Sam just feels like it would be the better option.
At the end of the day, I’m not a film maker. I know better than to expect a miracle from a movie series that spans half a century and includes the likes of Matthew McConaughey and his cyborg legs. That being said, can we give this version of Leatherface his gold watch and his Social Security stipend and just let him be? He’s tired. He’s emotional. Give him closure… and his pension. Maybe he can retire and open that hardware store he has been hoping to open since the mid-70s. Whatever the decision, give it up with continuity for the sake of continuity. If Hollywood can’t come up with a new horror icon, at the very least rewrite this one. Imagine the carnage of a millennial Leatherface obsessed with correcting the misuse of pronouns by way of a chainsaw instead of a hashtag?