You can’t make a movie called Texas Chainsaw Massacre without ordering up an industrial-sized tank of fake blood. The new installment in the long-running franchise debuted last week on Netflix, though reviews have not been kind. It’s sitting at 30% on the Tomatometer and our own reviewer described it as “an early contender to be named as the worst mainstream film of 2022” and that it’s “the worst entry in the series to date”.
Horror fans appear to be similarly disappointed, with it scoring a 36% audience score, and reactions on Twitter have concluded it’s not a patch on the original. Even so, it managed to become the #1 movie on Netflix this weekend.
Producer Fede Alvarez has commented on why they cranked up the action for this new entry, with his reasoning extremely depressing. Speaking with Collider, he said:
“I think you do a movie that’s called Texas Chainsaw Massacre in this day and age, it wasn’t going to be called a massacre by just killing five people. And the shooting, in a way, at the beginning kind of shows that, the fact that we live in times when massacres do happen and that’s why I think, even in the movie, he needed to up the ante to earn the word massacre in the title, and not being just five people and just take it to a level of what happened in the bus scene, right?”
It’s not exactly reassuring that the goalposts for what a massacre counts as have shifted so much since the 1970s that five people being butchered by a masked chainsaw-wielding maniac doesn’t qualify.
By the way, the “bus scene” that Alvarez refers to is a deeply silly scene in which Leatherface walks onto a bus full of Tiktok teens. After threatening Leatherface that if he tries anything, “you’ll get canceled bro” the cannibal carves up the teens in a rampage that’s as boring and badly shot as it is bloody. I guess technically it’s a massacre, but this isn’t even worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as Tobe Hooper’s classic.
It remains to be seen where the franchise goes from here. Netflix acquiring the movie means it’ll have turned a profit no matter how bad the reviews are, and it apparently being a hit means we could see another disappointing entry sooner rather than later.
Let’s hope whatever comes next is an improvement and they don’t start production until someone comes along with a script worthy of the 1974 original.