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Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Expectations Are Everything

After watching the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre and taking a trip on over to social media, a big question popped into my head: What do we really want from a slasher? People fantasize about the ’80s slasher craze because of how mindless, fun, and gory it was, but then turn around and want more from specific slashers that come out today. I could get if our expectations and our overall view of slashers have changed entirely since those days…but it hasn’t.

Before I get into my review of the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I want to let you know a few things that I will not be doing: I will not be unfairly comparing this new entry to the original and cry that it’s not like it; I will not be talking about the script as if that makes me sound any smarter about not liking the story; I will not be angry that the movie didn’t turn out as my head-canon version did, and I will not forget what I want from other slashers that should also apply here—a fun, gory time.Leatherface stands bloody, dity, and wet. Texas Chainsaw Massacre has always been a franchise that felt relatively uneven. Tobe Hooper’s masterpiece can never be touched, and I’d never dare compare any of the sequels to it because, well, I like to respect the work of other filmmakers the best that I can. I can always find some value or enjoyment out of almost any slasher, and although some of the films in this franchise have been poorly received, I’ve always had some fun with them at the bare minimum. This entry is no exception—in fact, I’d go as far as to say that I actually enjoyed this one for what it gave us.

I think the only gripe that I have, and that most people will have in common with me, is the treatment of the character Sally. I don’t want to go into any spoilers in this review, so I’ll just say this: Sally was written in a way that, if you replaced her with any other character, it would have the same effect, and honestly, it’s a shame. I do see the Halloween (2018) comparisons here, but I don’t think it wants to be Halloween because it doesn’t go too far into that territory to warrant that lazy statement I’ve seen from other reviewers.

As far as the other characters go, they’re mostly just there to serve the story. The story is about a group of influencers that travel to Harlow, Texas to do some business and revitalize the town and, I guess, make it “hip?” Anyway, they eventually end up p**sing Leatherface off, and ta-da, slashing ensues. To me, that’s fine. I don’t need a deep, enthralling story for a slasher to be effective. If I wanted a deep story, I’d go watch something else that has that be a focus, not a movie about a dude who wears people’s faces and swings around a chainsaw—Please refer to the title of this review: expectations are everything.

To me, Elsie Fisher is most definitely the stand-out in this one. Her performance as Lila is a high point in this when it comes to the acting side of things. Sarah Yarkin also does a stellar job of portraying Melody and winning me over on her character after initially thinking Melody was just stuck-up. Overall, though, the acting is solid, nothing really to complain about.Melody, Lila, and the group stand in Harlow, taking in the their surroundings---a ghost town. Back when I first took a look at the trailer, I thought Leatherface looked a little frail and maybe too small, but I stand (mostly) corrected on that one. I like the Leatherface that shows up in this rendition. He seems more realistic, but also has that brooding aura around him that I love so much, and I’m glad that they didn’t go too realistic and that they still made him feel like an immediate threat.

And yes, there is an abundance of gore and brutal kills in this one. At one point, Leatherface breaks somebody’s arm and uses the bone that’s sticking out from their arm to stab them to death. That’s probably one of the more creative kills I’ve seen not only in this franchise but in a very long time. The bus massacre from the trailer is also in there, as well, and although it does have that cringe “cancel” quote in it, the gore in that scene is incredible and completely overshadows the cringy line delivery.

There are some scenes on the more tense side of things, but nothing too crazy, mostly just what you’d expect at this point in the franchise. Some “oh sh*t” moments are present but vary depending on the individual and how they react to the characters. The movie is also on the shorter side, being around 75 minutes, but it does get to the point fairly quickly and is, for the most part, an action-packed movie. There are not many slow-creeping moments, it’s a pretty fast-paced, in-your-face kind of movie, and that’s the kind of character Leatherface is. He, and this movie, don’t really like wasting too much time.

I think I tempered my expectations almost perfectly for this one. I’m not expecting it to be 1974 and I’m not expecting an overly ambitious, revolutionary slasher—I just wanted to have fun and be entertained for the duration of my time with it…and you know what? It worked. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) is a fun, gory time and I think it might be an entry in this franchise that I’ll come back to if I want a quick slasher to throw on and have fun with.

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Written by Bronson West

Bronson fell in love with horror (mainly slashers) at the age of 6 when he watched Halloween at his babysitter's. Fitting, right? He also thinks he's funny, but apparently that's up for debate.

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