‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Review: The Blade Is Back

By this point, the state of Texas has experienced so many chainsaw massacres that it’s a wonder the power tool hasn’t been banned.

In David Blue Garcia’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” the blade is more active than ever. But while Leatherface, the homicidal head case who fashions masks from the skin of his victims, might be busier, his ability to scare has waned considerably. In empathy, the cinematographer Ricardo Diaz imbues a rare moment of calm with gorgeous pathos as Leatherface lumbers, alone, across a field of dead sunflowers, his hulking figure dwarfed by a bruised violet sky.

Establishing a familiar red state-blue state tension immediately, the movie sends four young entrepreneurs (Sarah Yarkin, Nell Hudson, Elsie Fisher and Jacob Latimore) to a virtually deserted small town. Their mission is gentrification, their destination a property flying a Confederate flag and housing a withered crone (a delightfully desiccated Alice Krige). A surly, gun-toting local (Moe Dunford, displaying greater nuance than the silly script requires) appears to be the town’s only other non-maniacal resident.

“Why are you such a nihilist?” one newcomer inquires, because that’s how city folks speak to armed strangers. Dialogue, fortunately, is soon overtaken by dismemberments, building to a squelchy, party-bus slaughter and the movie’s sole stab at humor. Flashbacks to an earlier mass trauma suffered by one of the newcomers feel distasteful, but the return of Sally, the sole survivor of the first film (now played by Olwen Fouéré), feels exactly right.

Having waited almost 50 years to bag her monster, Sally should not have been surprised to find him, like so many failed sons, living with his version of a mother this whole time.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Rated R. It’s right there in the title, folks. Running time: 1 hour 21 minutes. Watch on Netflix.

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