There is very little blood in Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror classic, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. We used to say “surprisingly little,” but every horror fan worth their salt knows that the movie that gave us Leatherface and his cannibal clan mostly relies on implication, misdirection, and a truly queasy, sleazy, diseased tone to communicate its horrors to the audience.
There is an awful lot of blood in this new sequel/reboot/remake currently sitting on Netflix. What Hooper hid, director David Blue Garcia puts right up front. There is a chainsaw, and people get massacred — in a number of inventive ways. If those are your criteria, you’re probably in for a good time. If you’re more concerned with plot, character, theme, and being respectful of the TCM “legacy” — a risky hill on which to stand nine movies deep into a franchise — look elsewhere.
Me, I’m satisfied with this new iteration in much the same way I’m satisfied by Jurassic Park/World sequels — it needed to do a couple of things well and not shit the bed completely in other areas. In 81 minutes, it reintroduced the concept, slaughtered an impressive number of people and employed some great practical effects to do it, and left a sequel hook. The tone wobbles from exploitation nastiness to arch, post-modern irony, the characters are largely unlikeable, and the political themes poorly thought out, but every time I started pulling at one of those threads, Leatherface carved someone up, and I was back to cheering him on. Maybe that doesn’t speak well of me intellectually or ethically, but what can I say? Sometimes I just want to watch young people being separated from their limbs and admire the mise en scène.