Arguably back in 1974, the first iconic horror villain was born in the guise of Chainsaw wielding, human mask wielding psycho we come to know as Leatherface.
Director Tobe Hooper brought him to the screen along with other members of his deranged family who set out to terrorise a group of travellers in the middle of Texas.
Unwittingly, the final shots of Leatherface wielding said weapon of choice as the Sun begins to rise and our final girl makes good her escape has been embedded into the psyche of horror fans across the world.
The fact that it has resonated with so many has lead to numerous sequels and reboots. (7 in total)
This latest effort from directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo was to do the inevitable origin story. (Yawn)
When will creative’s realise that there is nothing to be gained from unearthing the make up of these classic horror villains other than to destroy that mystery and the magic that made them so special to begin with?
The warning signs were already there when the production studios kept pushing back the release date despite Lili Taylor and Stephen Dorff being attached to the project.
Taylor more than held her own in James Wan’s The Conjuring and although Dorff has fallen out of favour in Hollywood and no longer considered A-list material, he still in my mind had plenty of gravitas on screen.
None of this can prevent this movie from feeling like being fed through the meat grinder using nothing but gristle.
There’s so much focus on trying to show how Jedidah Sawyer becomes the titular character that the filmmakers lose sight of any real substance.
As such we’re spoon fed Jedidiah’s journey from a brutal mother (Taylor) who is forcing him to tow the line with the family way, which just so happens to include brutally murdering a guy with (wait for it…) a Chainsaw.
When he and his brother (who in my opinion looked more like our signature Leatherface than Jedidiah did) are separated from their family by a vengeful Texas Ranger (Dorff) and whisked away to a mental hospital.
What follows is a riot that leads to Jedidiah escaping with a few other inmates and a nurse as hostage to make his way home.
The result feels like a story ripped from the pages of The Devil’s Rejects which is absolutely ridiculous when you consider that film has whispers of TCM throughout as something of a nod from Zombie.
Of course Jedidiah will have his fall from grace but this transition seems so sudden and out of left field, which is a shame as once again we’re left with poor character development in the screenplay.
More PVC than Leatherface as this latest instalment struggles to make an impact on this already loose franchise.
- Paul Farrell