Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)

“He needs special care, he doesn’t do well outside, you understand.”

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2022) – not to be confused with THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974) or THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2003) – is the new TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE movie released on (but not made by) Netflix. Like THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (1986), LEATHERFACE: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III (1990), TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION (1995) and TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D (2013) it’s a direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 masterpiece, seeming to ignore all the other installments.

As in the original film, we have a group of young people driving from Austin to a remote Texas town where they don’t fit in. But instead of a pretty casual day trip it’s for a business venture: chefs Dante (Jacob Latimore, SLEIGHT, DETROIT) and Melody (Sarah Yarkin, HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U) purchased a small ghost town at a bank auction, with plans to open a restaurant and turn the town into some kind of hipster enclave. Along for the ride are Melody’s younger sister Lila (Elsie Fisher, EIGHTH GRADE) and Dante’s girlfriend Ruth (Nell Hudson).

The nearby, unsolved Texas Chain Saw Massacre of 1974 is local legend now. Everybody knows about it. They sell chain saw keychains at gas stations and shit. But nobody has caught on that afterwards Leatherface (sans leatherface) found sanctuary at an orphanage here in Harlow, where he’s the only “boy” left to be taken care of by Mrs. Mc (Alice Krige, SLEEPWALKERS). That’s what Dante and Melody accidentally discover when they wander into the orphanage and find her still living there, swearing she still owns the place.

The inciting event in the movie seems like an homage to DRAG ME TO HELL – Melody pathetically tries to justify kicking the woman out of her home and convince her she’d be better off in a nursing home, then the police come and roughly yank her out of there.

But unlike Christine in the Raimi film, Melody accepts that she did the wrong thing as soon as the lady violently pukes and has to be taken to the hospital for a heart attack. Melody wants to go with her to make sure she’s okay, but Ruth insists on going so Melody can stay and help Dante woo a party bus full of potential investors who are just arriving.

So anyway, unmasked old man Leatherface (Mark Burnham, WRONG COPS), seen with his face mostly obscured but looking like Gunnar Hansen, rides along with his adopted mama and when she dies in his arms after asking him to be a good boy, he makes the opposite choice, goes home and busts the ol’ chainsaw out of the wall like slasher John Wick coming out of retirement. I won’t give away the first kill except to say that it’s an ingenious feat of impossible bodily mutilation that sets the stage for an over-the-top gory rollercoaster ride of a slasher movie. If you would prefer not to see an excellent hybrid of practical and digital effects graphically slicing off heads, bisecting bodies and turning skulls into pancakes I recommend you still watch this and see if you change your mind because come on, man. What are we here for, then? You think this movie would be improved by restraint?

The 1974 film had siblings Sally and Franklin on the trip. I like that Melody and Lila take those roles but they both seem like they could be Sally. Lila is not a whiny pain in the ass like Franklin, but she’s the one not having a fun time, listening to her headphones, not wanting to be there. She seems like she’s kind of rebelling against her sister when she’s the only one who tries to have a conversation with Richter (Moe Dunford, KNUCKLEDUST), the good ol’ boy who Melody insulted at the gas station before knowing he was the contractor they hired to help them with everything. He proudly drives a comically pollutive diesel truck and open carries*, but is sympathetic to Lila when he finds out she was a survivor of a notorious school shooting.

*He says it’s for shooting feral hogs. Unfortunately this turns out to be only a non-jokey reference to a famous tweet and not foreshadowing.

I’ve already seen one person say that giving Lila the school shooting past is in poor taste for a movie that uses violence in a fun way, and that’s fair. But I think her backstory makes an interesting point. The opening narration of Hooper’s original laments “the tragedy which befell a group of five youths” and that “it is all the more tragic in that they were young.” Since 1974 there have been over a thousand school shootings, with 18 where 5 or more people died. They’re not “the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history,” in fact they’ve become so routine that they have to be particularly deadly to make the national news. “Final girls” are iconic characters in our favorite horror movies, but in the real world there are an unfortunate number of people out there who are like Lila – who is like Sally – in that they faced death at a young age, saw their friends die, and will forever be haunted by the trauma, survivor’s guilt, etc.

This is the first TEXAS CHAIN SAW sequel to bring back the character of Sally Hardesty (unless you count Marilyn Burns’ hospital cameo in NEXT GENERATION). She’s also a local legend, having become a Texas Ranger and spent years hunting Leatherface like he’s Moby Dick. (Basically the same as Dennis Hopper as her uncle in part 2.) When she gets the call tipping her off to Leatherface’s whereabouts she’s in the middle of gutting a pig. She’s played by the Irish actress Olwen Fouéré (MANDY, THE NORTHMAN), who is straight up awesome in the part. She doesn’t need an impressive physique, she just has grit, a weathered, haunted face, long gray hair, a swaggery walk, and an ability to swallow down her fear most of the time.

She is not very similar to older survivor Laurie Strode as depicted in HALLOWEEN: H20 or HALLOWEEN 2018. She’s not the central role, she’s not a complicated character struggling to put her life and relationships together in the face of trauma, and even if Burns was still alive to play her I don’t think this would need to be a “legacy sequel” going in depth with her character. She’s just this fierce specter of vengeance who we see coming for Leatherface like a hungry shark.

I’ve seen that some people feel she was mishandled because her screen time is limited or (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER seriously SPOILER) because her mission is not exactly successful. I strongly disagree. I think she’s used powerfully, and I think even in this sillier incarnation THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW world is not a place for aspirational, happy endings. She does not accomplish her goal but she is there for Lila to look at, awe struck, hearing her call herself “the one who got away,” seeing what it looks like for a woman to chase down and face off with the killer she could only run away from almost 50 years ago.

She’s also there to tell Lila not to run so that she won’t be in that same place 50 years from now. (Metaphorically. I figure 110 year old Leatherface wouldn’t be as scary. But who knows?)

(Oh, and is it completely ridiculous that Sally carries around the photo Leatherface’s brother the hitchhiker took of here and her friends in the van and apparently didn’t succeed in burning up? Yes. Does it work for the movie? Also yes.)

One thing about most of the non-Tobe Hooper TEXAS CHAINSAW pictures is that they’re built on slasher tropes that didn’t even exist when the original was made, so they can’t help but feel more formulaic, less real, not as good. And part of what makes the original so powerful is the uniqueness of its execution. The characters aren’t up to much – they don’t exactly have subplots, arcs, backstories for the most part. Their conversations don’t usually push along the plot or the themes. And that gives it a documentary feel that you can’t possibly get when the dialogue is trying to explain this entrepreneurial scheme, Lila’s past and view on life, where Leatherface has been, etc. You end up having Richter directly telling Lila he has a problem with “smug, self righteous, rich city folk” while building only a fraction of the tension the original had from not stating that at all and just having these dorks in their bellbottoms frolicking where they’re obviously not welcome.

Yet I think a TEXAS CHAIN SAW sequel that tried to recapture that simplicity, not complicate things like this, would seem pointless and undewhelming. I think here they have a good balance of similar but different. Back then it was just some city kids nosing around cluelessly. Now they’re gentrifying cluelessly. Not just trespassing on people’s property, but kicking people off of their property. It doesn’t seem to have occured to them before that getting it cheap from the bank means somebody else lost it.

I do think it’s odd that the only main Black character is the jerkiest one, which I think might’ve happened in TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D also? But Dante has a good motive for being unsympathetic toward Mrs. Mc – when she realizes he came into the orphanage to take down her Confederate flag she defends herself as liking “Negroes” and he says, “Okay, fuck this” and gets the sheriff (William Hope, HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II). It has definitely occurred to me before that every incarnation of the Texas Chain Saw Family would probly be shockingly racist, which is not really dealt with here. But I think it was smart to use the Confederate flag as an example of these giant cultural splits that are hard to make sense of. The first time I saw statues celebrating the traitorous losers who lost a war against the United States trying to protect slavery it might not have been “Leatherface coming out from behind the metal door with a sledge” shocking, but it was a real stomach churner. It’s hard to comprehend the different worlds we live in.

Richter is a very movie character – a redneck asshole in certain stereotypical ways, but not the specific ones that would be unforgivable (like if he wore a Q hat), so that we can get why he hates these kids and root for him when his gun fetishism and/or feral hog preparedness comes in handy to fight Leatherface. (He should’ve also sprayed truck exhaust on him and had a meat eating contest against him.) But this is a bit of a fake out, I think – Richter’s assault rifle doesn’t save him, and in the later uncomfortable scene where gun-violence-survivor Lila gets ready to do some triumphant gun violence on Leatherface, her big sister steps in with the chain saw.

Some people hate that shit. It’s not realistic to use the saw instead of the gun. I don’t have those kind of hangups. Here’s a seldom acknowledged fact about slasher sequels: there’s always a big chunk of veteran horror fans who automatically judge them worthless garbage upon arrival. I think part of it is that we treasure the previous ones as consecrated scriptures and relics of bygone eras, so when someone comes along and makes a new one we see it being made the way movies are made now, with technology that exists now, and cultural references that exist now. The young people in it are young now, and we’re old, and god damn it is some motherfucker trying to make MY movie appeal to THE FUCKING YOUTHS?

It happens every single time. This one has (gasp!) smart phones in it. It has a clunky mentions of social media, it has a goofy scene where people live stream Leatherface instead of run from him, and one of them says “Try anything and you’re cancelled, bro.” People will cite these things as definitive proof of artistic bankruptcy, because they’re all references to now, and references to now will not stand… until it’s not now anymore, at which point I promise you a large percentage of those same people will decide actually this movie is pretty good. And they’ll be right! Thanks for catching up!

I’m not innocent of that sort of stubborn resistance to change, but I made peace with the unruliness of this franchise a long time ago. I haven’t warmed up to/forgiven the remake yet, but otherwise I appreciate these movies as various filmmakers’ perhaps misguided attempts to reconcile the specific appeal of Leatherface and friends with whatever horror franchising expectations exist at the time. Only Hooper has ever done it perfectly, but almost everybody does it interestingly.

This one kind of splits the difference between the utter silliness of 3D and the higher artistic ambitions of Maury & Bustillo’s 2017 prequel LEATHERFACE. It’s fairly straight ahead as a decades-later sequel, putting a modern spin on some of the original themes, using a similar structure but on a little bit larger, much more expensive canvas and, as one would expect from producer/story provider Fede Alvarez, with way more viscera to paint on it with. Alvarez gets a story credit along with his usual co-writer Rodo Sayagues, and I think it’s in a similar vein to their other movies (EVIL DEAD, DON’T BREATHE, DON’T BREATHE 2) – stylish, intense, mischievously stepping over lines without quite ruining the fun, getting in there, going fucking buckwild and then running out the back door before getting thrown out. This one runs 81 minutes including credits, and I admire that economy.

The screenplay is by Chris Thomas Devlin, who was hired on the strength of a Black List script called COBWEB (releasing some time this year). Director David Blue Garcia was the cinematographer of BLOOD FEST and directed a 2018 thriller called TEJANO. He came on late in the game after Legendary fired the original directing team (their footage was reportedly not used), but it seems very confidently directed, with a nice look to it and consistently good staging for all the mayhem. There are so many cool things that happen: a heavy door swinging back and forth so we see only segments of the violence going on in the other room, Leatherface treating the party bus like Jason treats a cornfield rave, Melody crawling under the house as the saw blade comes at her through the floorboards like an inverted shark, etc.

The part where he saws through the bathroom door on the bus and peers through Jack Torrance style reminded me of a part 2 poster I own:

And I guess some people are saying otherwise but I think it’s a real nice looking movie. These screengrabs are dark, but it always looked clear to me, and (following the original) much of it takes place in the sun. Cinematographer Ricardo Diaz has mostly worked on shorts, but weirdly one of his previous features is BUTCHER BOYS, the 2012 movie from original TEXAS CHAIN SAW co-writer Kim Henkel, initially written as a TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION sequel but reworked to be unrelated. I wonder if that’s a coincidence or if it means Henkel’s producer credit on this is more than honorary.

Hats off also to composer Colin Stetson (HEREDITARY, COLOR OUT OF SPACE), who brings a bit of that Wayne Bell/Tobe Hooper dissonant noisiness into a modern score context.

As with most slasher movies, people are saying they hate all the characters and wanted to see them die. I’m not saying these guys are my best friends, but I like that Melody fits in with this parody of a certain type of person (“I love brunch. That’s great,” she says while introducing the owner of a brunch-specific restaurant) but has a moral reckoning and even a scene where she apologizes to Leatherface after accepting that he’s going to kill her. Again, the type of thing that people will use as ammo against it that is, in my view, one of the really cool and original things about it.

The leads are all very good. This includes Yarkin and Lila as our final-ish girls, but also Burnham as Leatherface. Yes, it’s Jason-ish or modern-Michael-Myers-ish that he lifts and tosses people around and shit, but I am someone who enjoys entertainment, so I liked that choice. I think Burnham still gets across the personality of the original Leatherface – lumbering, awkward, confused. I also think his overall look is high in the rankings for the series. I think probly the best non-Hooper Leatherface, though that’s not really saying much, most of them are pretty ugly.

For me this really works as a battle between Leatherface and everybody else, and I get a kick out of the premise that some old coot managed to make him behave for most of his life. (Or at least not use his chain saw.) But I would be remiss not to point out that the premise of Leatherface as the last survivor of the family takes away one of the primary appeals of Hooper’s movies, which is the family. I don’t know how you make another character as good as the Cook, the Hitchhiker, or Chop Top, but with just Leatherface and no other weirdo family members to interact with you’re missing out. So if they end up breaking tradition and making an actual sequel to this I hope they disregard credibility and just add a bunch of family members that are still alive. (And also show us some of those feral hogs.)

I can’t yet know if this is my favorite non-Hooper TEXAS CHAIN SAW. But I can tell you for sure I had a blast.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 21st, 2022 at 7:06 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

107 Responses to “Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)”

  1. I’m not really sure why there are people that hate this one but I certainly don’t understand those that love it. I think it’s an ok movie that is lucky it’s as gory as it is. The gore is awesome and pretty clever but there are a ton of eye rolling stuff.

    I wish newer horror movies would at least try to make their gun violence realistic. A chainsaw isn’t going to stop a shot gun blast. Guns can, in fact, be used at a distance.

    Also, why does everybody insist on swiping with the chainsaw?

    Also, is it gentrification if it’s a rural town that every building but one is unowned? And why were all the investors mostly women and POC? What exactly is the message here?

    Also, why would a grown adult be taken into an orphanage?

    Like the movie is so technically well made that I wish they would have spent like a few minutes asking themselves “does this shit make sense?”

  2. Best part of this one was seeing “woke” twittards getting “cancelled” with chainsaws on legs and hammers in heads as they should be. It helps that Alvarez is from where, as opposite to USA, we are not terrified of being called “politically incorrect”, where we pass water on political correctness and where we would laugh if cockroaches from tiktaks or twitters tried to squeal “raciiiiiiist” to us (they do not exist here). :D Orden!

  3. I can see why Vern doesnt hate it. It’s fine, which is all anyone can reasonably expect out of this franchise, which surpasses even the Terminator series for failed reboots. The ship sailed on there ever being a CHAINSAW movie that didn’t completely fucking miss the point way back with CHAINSAW III. It’s probably one of the two or three better ones, which is a bit like rating the two or three fastest sloths, but that’s the curve we’re grading on here.

    What I don’t get is the need to defend it. This is not a movie that deserves to be lent any of Vern’s moral authority. It’s not some scrappy little underdog. It’s a mercenary IP jack like any other. It has 20 times more resources and 1000 times the marketing budget of 99.9% of horror movies that have ever and will ever exist. And yet it is an utterly unexceptional, completely hollow movie that’s made even more so by how desperately it wants to be about something–and even then that’s only because HORROR MOVIE THAT IS ACTUALLY ABOUT X is yet another trend that it’s trying to bandwagon on.

    I don’t even hate this movie, but fuck this movie on general principle. Nobody who made it wanted to go through the hassle of coming up with their own shit that doesn’t come with a built-in audience, which is fine. I’m a lazy motherfucker too. But along with all those completely unearned extra eyeballs you got on your little nothing of a movie comes a shitload of opinions. You don’t deliver, you’re gonna hear about it. Go cry yourself to the bank if you don’t like it, you fucking scabs. This is what you get. I think of all the horror filmmakers putting themselves in debt trying to do something original and nobody ever fucking sees their movie. Nobody involved here gets one drop of sympathy from me.

    I didn’t hate these characters, but I definitely wanted to hate Melody just from the first promo photo that got released. She has what I refer to as Hateable Millenial Eyebrows. Depicting a character with those eyebrows is shorthand for “She is that annoying pretentious girl you can’t stand.” They’re the modern version of, say, the pastel sweater tied around the neck of a rich snob in an 80s movie. She eventually grew on me somewhat but I think it’s reasonable that the majority of the audience stayed with the intial gut reactions that the filmmakers clearly intended to elicit. It’s easy to make a viewer hate a character. Much harder to then turn that hate to love. Nothing in the screenplay or performance is enough to get past Those Eyebrows.

    She also represents the film’s schizophrenic and unfocused view of These Young People We Got These Days. On the one hand, clearly we’re dealing with an attempt by a horror franchise old enough to have grandkids to reach out to The Youth. But on the other hand, the movie clearly hates The Youth with all its being. So we’re stuck with a cast that none of the generations can see themselves in.

    That lack of focus permeates every frame of this thing, from the school shooting backstory that’s not really concrete enough to be in bad taste to whatever the fuck it wants to say about racism and gentrification. It’s all just shoe-leather to set the movie in that ghost town, which would be a cool idea if the whole thing didn’t have “backlot in Bulgaria” written all over it.

    The part where the film’s unclear approach to its characters and themes eventually sinks it is the part that I’m sure will become kind of infamous. “Try anything and you’re cancelled” is the worst line of the year. Just achingly terrible in every way. It makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it. They should do a new edition of SCREENPLAY and add an entire chapter on this line as an example of everything a writer should NOT do. Even worse than the one-the-nose awfulness of the line itself is its placement right before what should be the most intense rollercoast set-piece in the film. Unfortunately, this line is so laughable that it invites you–practically BEGS you—to mock the movie right when it should be holding you in the palm of its hand. It’s a moment so perfectly terrible that, if you were on the fence abeforehand, what is bad about the movie is now crystalized in such a way that you cannot view the rest of it in any other way than through the lens of “This is a movie made by people who wrote and filmed the line ‘Try anything and you’re canceled.'” The movie had a chance before that line, but not after. It’s the moment the movie steps into Leatherface’s house and the sliding door gets slammed shut behind it.

    As a fan of the gore and the horror and etc., on a purely technical level, there were some lizard-brain pleasures here that I won’t discount. Everything about Sally was just embarassing, though. Nothing against the actress or her performance; both provide exactly what the openly derivative screenplay and flop-sweat-drenched direction require of them. It’s just that what is required of her is to be like seven different kinds of cliches and ripoffs stacked together with a cowboy hat on top, not a person. Sally Hardesty was barely a character in the first place, but maybe if Marilyn Burns had been alive we would have been able to form some sort of connection between this broad, one-dimensional archetype straight out of a Full Moon movie to the normal, relatable human being we spent time with in the original film. (I won’t say “got to know”–we’re on Sally’s side simply because of the horrible situation she’s in, not because we have any insight or fondness for her as an individual.) As is, this Nü Sally is just an ersatz Jamie Lee, a desperate, hackneyed attempt to wedge the square peg of ‘SAW into the round hole of HALLOWEEN. Thinking about the poor girl laughing hysterically in the back of the pickup truck at the end of the first movie growing up into this laughable rigjob of a Strong Female Character is, frankly, pure cringe. I applaud the viewing audience for rejecting this craven pandering, which is normally something it really enjoys.

    The fact that apparently the first kill is “an ingenious feat of impossible bodily mutilation*” and I couldn’t tell you what the hell you’re talking about 72 hours later is probably the biggest problem with this movie. Some good stuff happens, it’s perfectly fine, then it’s over and it’s just gone. “Try anything and you’re cancelled,” however, lingers. There are many positive aspects to the movie, but their scent is not powerful enough to overwhelm the stench of the bad.

    *Oh wait, the wristbone thing? Yeah, that was cool. For what it’s worth. One of those lizard-brain pleasures I won’t discount.

  4. I guess it’s simply picking nits at what excess is too far for my personal taste. But the chainsaw slicing and cutting through everything like they’re made of butter was too clean for me. I also laughed at Leather springing out of the water like he’s a frisky salmon. Some more grounded physics might’ve gotten me invested enough to mildly like it.

    I did like the forearm snap and bone stab, which I think is the first kill?

  5. Brian: The bit that felt too movie-physics for me is when Bubba throws his sledgehammer straight into the solar plexus of this little 110-pound wisp of a girl and she flies back 20 feet down a staircase and crashes THROUGH the floor, then just gets up and dusts herself off like it’s nothing. I’m not looking for 100% realism here but that felt particularly egregious.

  6. I don’t like the Sally thing because it’s a horror trope I hate. It’s the “person devotes life to find killer and when they do they die immediately.” Examples being Friday Part 4 and The Stepfather.

    Also, Vern, I’m not sure really learned anything from Sally because I think she just rides in the autopilot car all the way to Austin and now will spend 40 years in therapy.

  7. Well, if you examine the timeline of the earlier sequels, the Jason-hunter in FRIDAY 4 could only have been on the hunt for a few days at most. So it’s less of a letdown when he finds what he was looking for and discovers that he is utterly unprepared to deal with it. At least he didn’t waste his whole life.

  8. I am kind of surprised that Vern liked this so much. I remember him being very territorial about the TEXAS CHAINSAW REMAKE, seemingly insulted by its existence. I seem to recall him specifically pointing out how it didn’t get the family dynamics right and focused too much on Leatherface as the star villain and also made him too Jason-esque. All things he gives a pass to here. But, hey, maybe Vern has chilled out in the last 19 years, and it’s cool with me if he doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder about this sort of stuff any more.

    Still, though, this movie fucking blows. It’s a subpar slasher movie that feels extremely TCSM-in-name-only, never finds its tone, and makes some very questionable decisions about how to stay, I guess, relevant and topical, and then doesn’t really do anything with those elements any way. The gore is plentiful and the last 30 seconds or so are pretty funny, I’ll give it that.

  9. Between this and last year’s unfairly ignored/dismissed Don’t Breathe 2, Alvarez and co. are on a roll. It’s interesting that so many critics, and many genre fans too, seem to be almost willfully ignoring the obvious pleasures of these films.

  10. Also tickled that Vern thinks that people don’t like the “try anything and you’re canceled” line because it’s a reference to something modern. I don’t think anyone is saying that they don’t like this movie because it’s set in modern times. It’s because that line is an amazingly fucking stupid and unfunny, some broad nonsense in a movie that doesn’t feel like it’s otherwise aiming for DON’T LOOK UP style on-the-nose satire.

  11. I don’t know that the film hates his young characters but I do feel it’s trying to say something to today’s youth. Leatherface and the town of Harlow feels like a stand in for old fashioned America and American values. The young kids come in and try to fix it/change it but they are too shallow and glued to their phones to recognise the massive gulf between them and the people of Harlow. I know it seems silly but I think the filmmakers are working on a largely allegorical level for much of the film. Sally coming back and imparting a bit of advice for the next generation of hippies felt like all I needed her to do. In fact, now that I think about it, THIS is the movie they should have called Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.

    I think this film works as a slasher film in general and as a slasher sequel in particular. I have pretty low expectations for such films: Even if the original is a good piece of filmmaking or a work of art (as I think 1974 TCM is), I expect a slasher sequel to be second-tier re-tread that is primarily to be judged on the volume and inventiveness of the kills or the general gore factor. By those standards, I think this one acquits itself well. Moreover, I think Leatherface and the TCM world is a bit more limited by virtue of Leatherface’s somewhat spazzy engery, his geographical fixedness, and his need to be using the titualr chainsaw a lot. He doesn’t have as many degrees of freedoms as other famous slashers, so, with that said, I think he makes the most of his constraints in this one.

    I think some of the criticisms of this film miss the point. For example, one common complaint is that this film gives a lot of perfunctory nods to cultural progressive political trending topics (e.g., confederate flag, gentrification) without actually focusing on any one of them with any discipline or without having anything meaningful to say about them. But what if that is the point? To me, the way the film’s superficial and somewhat cyncial and performative engagement with symbols, buzzwords, and things deemed “problematic” is a commentary on the very-online generation’s own superficial, fleeting, and cynical engagement with the trending topic of the week.

    A broader theme is the difference between relating to life primarily through symbols and abstractions that are mediated by mass culture and technology (the kids) vs. relating to life via the immediacy of physical machinery, skin, blood, and guts (Leatherface, the Richters). Leatherface’s and Richter’s world is the world of the butcher, hunter, handyman, or gear-head. They are acters and doers who communicate primarily by doing stuff with their hands. The kids interact symbolically and via abstractions, Leatherface is completely disconnected from social abstractions and completely immune to social-cultural opprobrium. When he has feelings, he reaches out and touches someone. This obviously takes its most on-the-nose center stage moment in the bus, but the juxtaposition of abstractions and social sanctions vs. concrete objects and physicality is the major one that runs through the whole film.

    Sally’s character is an interesting bridge, becuase she straddles the world of the kids (a former kid-victime herself) and of Leatherface and Richter. Like the latter, she is a tough, leathery woman who works with her hands and is not afraid to gut or shoot soemthing. Like the kids, she is living too much in abstractions and stories. In her case, it’s not the online discourse, it’s her own story she’s weaved about what her trauma means. Leatherface does not care about any of these stories but is much more physical, impulsive, and in the moment. In all cases, stories, abstractions, ideals, and personal-cultural meanings come into concrete, physical contact with the blade!

  13. Sorry for all the typos in the previous post.

    I think the “you’re cancelled bro” line is stupid, but I also thought it was fun stupid. Again, my thought is, of course, it’s a fucking stupid line, that’s what makes it funny is that the guy who says it is a fucking dumbass for saying it, which is the typical role of a guy about to get mangled in a slasher film: His job is to do and/or say stupid shit. More broadly, to me, a typical fun slasher film is full of stupid, borderline cringe moments (like pretty much every thing Freddy Krueger says from part 3-6 plus FVJ is a slightlier raunchier “dad joke”). Of course, I had a similar reaction to HALLOWEEN KILLS and a similar counter-reaction to the negative reactions to that film. I don’t really understand some of the grumpies, but I guess that’s because I like the actual good things, and I also like the goofy-ass things, like Lonnie going into the house alone after Michael. Yes, he’s a dumbass, and I’m not sure it’s particularly believable, but this oughta be amusing — is my reaction.

    And I don’t think one has to fully embrace the social commentary to have fun with it. I don’t see this film saying “fuck city kids, Leatherface is awesome!” on some kind of literal level, b/c clearly Leatherface is a bad guy, and clearly Lila is a sympathetic protagonist. I think it’s more poking fun at hypocrisies or people taking themselves too damn seriously.

    Ultimately, I think my basic assessment of the film is pretty similar to Sternshein and Majyestyk’s. It’s “fine” (Majestyk), not great or terrible (Sternshein). I’ll take that as a win.

  14. Haven’t seen this movie but I have seen the trailer and I can certainly say even if this WERE a comedy, the “canceled” line in the trailer is just cringe. So horribly fucking lame and unfunny. Maybe…MAYBE it could work if they weren’t saying it to a psycho with a running chainsaw about to kill them, maybe. But probably not.

  15. Skani: I say this with genuine admiration: That was some excellent bullshit. Finely tuned, raised and harvested with loving care, you got yourself a bumper crop there. Bravo.

    That said, I don’t think you’re taking into consideration exactly how jejeune this thematic material is in the slasher subgenre, and even in the much larger umbrella genre it exists in, which I’ll call the “survival movie.” Basically every entry in this uber-genre, from the arguable granddaddy of the slasher film DELIVERANCE to the modern PG-13 disaster film, is about stripping away the symbols, rituals, and other accoutrements of civilization that distance humans from their natural survival instincts. You have the non-Laurie babysitters in HALLOWEEN, so focused on their frivolous high school antics that they never even notice that they’re in any danger. You have the bureaucrats of the DIE HARD universe, insisting that their rules and procedures must stay in place even as the world burns around them. You have Ripley telling the board of directors that all their paperwork and spreadsheets will be meaningless once the xenomorph shows up. On some level, this is what practically every single movie that functions mainly as an exercise in life-or-death problem-solving is about: removing the false safety net of civilization and thus rapidly plunging humanity ten stories down the hierarchy of needs. So while you probably have a point, I don’t see any reason to praise this new TEXAS CHAINSAW for hanging a lantern on the thing practically every horror movie I’ve ever seen takes as a matter of course.

  16. SPOILERS, probably:

    I don’t think this is as bad as most reviews say, but I also didn’t like it as much as Vern. I’ve only seen the Tobe Hooper ones, but this didn’t “feel” like Texas Chainsaw Massacre to me. Those first two movies are gross and uncomfortable– about picking up a rock in the darkest corner of America and being completely unprepared for what slithers out from under it. I loved Vern’s previous reading of the Sawyers as alien and viscerally off-putting as a certain loud subsection of our current American landscape. Stumbling upon ol’ Leatherface and Chop-Top and the gang is like finding out your uncle or neighbor wears a red hat and thinks JFK Jr is still alive. This movie trims a lot of that back– there’s no Sawyer family, no cannibalism, no dinner scene. It does have the culture clash Skani talks about– Gen-Z gentrifiers invading the disintegrating territory of economically anxious red-staters– but that’s about as TCM as it gets for me (that, and Leatherface applying makeup to his new face). It borrows heavily from Halloween ’18, with the original final girl preparing for decades to face off again with the killer who couldn’t care less about her. And in other respects it feels like a Friday the 13th movie– invincible, silent, developmentally disabled slasher takes his fury out on youths that wronged him/encroached on his territory.

    I just watched Don’t Breathe 2 this week, so I noticed this also has the Fede Alvarez thing where none of the characters are entirely good or bad, and the movie avoids signaling to you what it thinks is right or wrong. I was really put off by the school shooting survivor picking up the assault rifle, but I know Alvarez and co. put that bit in specifically to make me feel that way.

    I did like the chainsaw being used as an upside-down shark fin, but– how long was that chainsaw in the wall? You’re telling me the gas in that thing was still viable? Also, swapping out the “escaping in a truck” ending of the original with “escaping in a self-driving car” was very funny to me for some reason.

  17. I will give credit to that self-driving car bit. That was great. And it makes Skani’s exact point without having to say a word.

  18. I will say that this paragraph:

    ‘I’ve already seen one person say that giving Lila the school shooting past is in poor taste for a movie that uses violence in a fun way, and that’s fair. But I think her backstory makes an interesting point. The opening narration of Hooper’s original laments “the tragedy which befell a group of five youths” and that “it is all the more tragic in that they were young.” Since 1974 there have been over a thousand school shootings, with 18 where 5 or more people died. They’re not “the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history,” in fact they’ve become so routine that they have to be particularly deadly to make the national news. “Final girls” are iconic characters in our favorite horror movies, but in the real world there are an unfortunate number of people out there who are like Lila – who is like Sally – in that they faced death at a young age, saw their friends die, and will forever be haunted by the trauma, survivor’s guilt, etc.’

    Is super insightful. I doubt the people involved even thought tha deep but glad Vern did.

  19. Of course, I know that this is far from the first movie to explore the idea of city slickers being separated from the familiarity and safety of civilization. I think that much would be implied. Likewise, this is not some great work of art. I made that clear.

    I do think this film has some reasonably consistent motifs are the distinction between people who are very invested in symbols, words, narratives, and reputational/image issues vs. people who have no interest or use for such abstractions and that this film is primarily about the conflict between the two. The original CHAINSAW deals with the urban/rural, educated/working-class conflict, but this new one adds a much more substantial focus on the conflict between virtual/symbolic action people and physical/kinetic action people. From the beginning to the end, the kids element of this film is all about how they live in a world of technology, words, symbolic images, and performative idealism, while Leatherface (and Richter) lives in a world of gears, blood, and kinetic action. Its a pervasive theme, the whole film through. The fact that the kids’ actual political ideas are under-developed and mostly just about burnishing their own sense of rectitude or idealism is the commentary.

  20. I thought that the central idea of a young black man and some young women buying out a neighbourhood of white and conservative rednecks was interesting. The film seems to argue that it’s your relation to capital, not necessarily your skin colour or gender, that determines who is the opressed and who is the opressor in any given situation. This is an idea that (in my experience) most American liberals would vehemently disagree with, whereas most European leftists, such as myself, would view this as an absolute truth. That was kinda interesting, imo.

    Other than that, the most praise I can give this film is that it had a nice, breezy pace and some good kills. I really have to give them props for making a movie that’s like 75 minutes long, I thought that they didn’t allow genre films to be under 100 minutes anymore. The bus scene was also a highlight, despite the diabolically unfunny cancel culture reference. While that is enough to make TCM 2022 my favorite non-Hooper sequel (very low bar to clear), it’s not enough to qualify it as a good movie. Like Majestyk, I see little point in being lenient towards mediocre genre movies. It’s especially hard to forgive shit, when the movie in question is connected to a triumph of independent cinema like the original TCM. When I look at what Hooper and co. achieved independently and with practically no budget, and compare it to a movie like TCM 2022, I’m left with a question: What the fuck is their excuse? These people have the money, they have the resources, what the fuck is their excuse?

    What’s their excue for still not figuring out that TCM needs a Sawyer family to surround Leatherface? Even Platinum Dunes managed to figure that one out! The addittion of a traumatized Sally makes this especially jarring, are we supposed to believe that she was only traumatized by Leatherface and never tried to track down Cook? And all the other lazy screenwriting in this movie. The scene where Leatherface picks up a chainsaw right in front of Sally and she just doesn’t do shit. The bit where Catherine (?) just sits on the bus for 30 minutes and doesn’t bother to tell anybody that somebody’s been fucking murdered.The bit where it suddenly turns into a shitty action movie at the end, with both of our heroines getting cool slow-mo action hero shots. That last part is somewhat redeemed by the hilariously abrupt ending, but still.

    The obligatory trauma plot was even more useless than usual in this movie, just a perfunctory exercise in box checking. Is this shit just gonna be in every movie now? Making a movie that’s “about trauma” is absolutely useless anyway. Every story that involves violence or emotional turmoil can be argued to
    actually be “about trauma”. Try it, it works with almost everything. From Solaris, to My Bloody Valentine(both versions), to every Death Wish movie.
    You can make a case for the “it’s actually about trauma” interpretation with the vast majority of movies. This makes me extra critical of the current wave of mediocre horror movies, patting themselves on the back for making thematic statements about trauma. They have achieved nothing that wasn’t already included in even the shittest 80’s slashers.

  21. I think the “You’re cancelled, bro” line is on par with the “Do your thing, cuz” line from TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D, by which I mean it was very stupid and I enjoyed it.

  22. I thought it was a spookablast, happy with how this one turned out.

  23. Majestyk, if I seem defensive it’s because this is a type of movie I have loved my whole life, and normally I only have to hear critics and the select few who paid to see it tell me that it’s shameful swill for only the lowest most classless and easily entertained scum of the earth who should know better. But this time they put it on Netflix and I have this unfortunate Twitter addiction so I have to also hear it from a million people who would never have fucking seen it and likely did not watch very much of it but are ready to explain why it’s the worst shit they’ve ever seen.

    I don’t want to go to bat for the “cancelled” line because it’s not my favorite part, but I guess I have to. First of all, the funny part is not the use of “cancelled,” but the use of “bro,” and the attempt to shame Leatherface. The idea of someone attempting to shame Leatherface is, in fact, for sure funny, and actually a legit ribbing of the youths.

    But let me clarify what I was trying to say that Dan found laughable. If you look through the various slasher sequels you can find plenty of things that represent a cartoonish stereotype of a youth culture of the era. Corny skateboarders and heavy metalers, stoner Breckin Meyer in FREDDY’S DEAD, the “wizard master” in DREAM WARRIORS, the punk in JASON TAKES MANHATTAN who says “You’re dead meat, slimeball!” to Jason. I think horror fans instinctively reject this kind of stuff when it’s new and love it when it’s old. I have many years of experience seeing it happen.

  24. Oof, I gotta say as short (although surprisingly slow for less than 80 minutes) slasher with some heavy gore and well made suspense moments, it’s servicable. Okay, the “legacy sequel” gimmick didn’t do shit. They could’ve invented a brand new killer for that and it would’ve been the same movie, minus the marketable name. But what REALLY soured the taste for me, was how right wing it felt.

    The protagonists are caricatures right out of the “How boomers see kids these days” playbook. Idealistic younglings who talk about changing the world for the better, but of course only do it for social media likes and get-rich-quick schemes, so that they have to avoid any hard work. Then they piss their pants over the sight of a flag. Admittedly a hateful flag, but they way how hysterical they act (“Nobody is gonna buy the place when they see it!”), plays right into the cAnCel cUlTuRe myth, which again comes up spelled out as a joke, when a bus of those evil millennials livestream their deaths. Kids really love to livestream everything y’know?

    And of course it’s their fault that the whole shit went down in the first place! They just invaded a good ol’ lady’s private space, were too stubborn to listen, so they had it coming that they got slaughtered. Everything was fine until they showed up, but noooo, these dumb kids weren’t thinking about the shit they stirred up by trying to change things. This could’ve been a paradise where Leatherface chills with his adopted mother and does NOT kill people, if these young adult hypocrites had stayed off everybody’s lawn and didn’t try to change things that didn’t need to be changed! That one girl with her “unfeminine eyebrows” really deserved getting a load of shit dumped onto her head, haha.

    I mean, there was the redneck who was ridiculed by them for their gun, but he turned out to be “the good guy with a gun”. Admittedly not very successful, because otherwise the movie would’ve been over by then, but still. Then of course they get stopped by some cops, with the black guy behind the wheel, but oh noes, the cops are actually okay. They don’t even make some disguised racist threats and show up immediately when called! Cops are awesome!

    Then Sally shows up. Her part as strong, smart heroine will save the day, right? Wrong! She is too EMOTIONAL to actually achieve shit! Should’ve stayed in the kitchen, I guess.

    And who does safe the day instead? The school shooting survivor AFTER SHE OVERCAME HER FEAR OF GUNS, because y’know, guns aren’t evil. Even if someone kills all your teenage friends with one, YOU can still be the hero with them!

    Granted, for some of the things I listed I am grasping a bit for straws, but it’s still hard to have a movie where the protagonists actually belong to the right’s favourite targets (Lazy social media influencers who spout woke cathphrases but make everything worse with their entitled urge to get rid of racist symbols) and NOT see all the other shit in every character and every scene.

  25. This was fine. In, out, credits after 70m minutes, put the kettle on. Everything else I might have said has been said, and better than I would say it. Well done, everyone.

  26. Vern, if you’re trying to make the case that this movie is going to age well and be widely accepted by horror fans in the future, you probably shouldn’t compare it to Freddy’s Dead or Jason Takes Manhattan

  27. I think this film is more poking fun at millenial and Gen Z left-wing hypocrisies than it is promoting a right-wing ideology, and I think that’s an important distinction of both degree and kind. When I hear someone complain about it being right-wing, I view it more as someone complaining that it’s failing to either be performatively left-wing or aggressively bland and apolitical. Like, the film does not portray the cops as awesome. It does not portray Lila or her sister as shitty or unsympathetic. It does not portray rural life as idyllic and romantic.

    The main thing the film is trying to do is subvert expectations a little bit. This is important: The easy and obvious thing is for the cops to beat up or kidnap or kill Dante for being black. That would also be boring and lazy. Similar with Alice Krige: They complicate her by making her a nurturing woman who has apparently cared for African-American kids at the orphanage (almost a throwaway line), but also being a culturall out of touch rural Texan boomer, she’s going to have some backwards views and some of out-of-step naming conventions. But they play her as genuinely puzzled. And there is some good nuance when she calls Dante “boy,” and you sense that she has at least a somewhat different connotation in mind than the one you would infer from a surface engagement with context, i.e., she’s not calling him “boy” because he’s black, but because she is accustomed to being in the mother-figure role, and because these kids are young enough to be her children or perhaps grand-children.

    All of this is to say that I think there is a point to this motif of subverting expectations about rural people by making them somewhat more nuanced than they appear, which is not the same as espousing some specific right-wing ideology or making the locals into romanticized heroes or victims. They are always introduced with stereotypical types of tappings: a big loud truck, a police car, a confederate flag (yes, this is a bit clumsy and on the nose, for sure: it’s not a subtle movie about a chainsaw masscre). And the kids tend to make stereotyped assumptions about these people: you’re a big loud truck kind of person, you’re a confederate flag kind of person. To then reveal that these people are a bit more nuanced and sympathetic is to create a reversal where it’s the supposedly enlightened kids who are against prejudice are the ones reacting based on stereotypes that are not really rooted in experience. As someone who has traveled in both rural and urban (and educated and less educated circles), I can say that this tracks: People very much traffic in stereotypes about rural people.

    Of course, the other aspect is that the CHAINSAW films themselves have revelled in representing the locals as the most disgusting, backward, possibly inbred rednecks. The Platinum Dunes era in particular, and R. Lee Ermey character has set a precedent for us to expect the cop to be an authoritarian monster using his badge as a tool of exploitation. So, in addition to subverting popular stereotypes about Red State people, the film is playing subverting tropes from some of the more recent iterations of the TCM saga itself. But I don’t see this as making some statement about how “cops are actually just fine, you guys” — it’s deliberately subverting the expectation to fuck with you a little bit, and because one of the film’s other motifs is to suggest that we all can fall prey to stereotypes, and not every person or situation fits politically coded stereotypes.

    So, yes, the film does poke fun, but I think that’s pretty different from having an actual right-wing agenda.

  28. The shot where the eyebrows-girl triumphantly steps in between her sister and Leatherface, while she brandishes the chainsaw, posing with gritted teeth: That shit made me cringe so hard my eyes rolled back in my head. The so-not-earned-but-supposed-to-be-awesome nature of it was too much for me.

    I dunno, I’m happy for those who enjoyed this generic and dumb slasher movie, but I’m really puzzled why none of the sequels (not 100% sure I’ve seen all of them) have even tried to capture the unique feel of the original movie. Especially in this day and age when the bizarro true crime documentaries are so popular on Netflix. Instead of trying to make these glossy looking things with the cinematically blocked shots that are inherently artificial looking, maybe they could use some of their comparatively huge budgets and shoot on 16mm film to try to achieve that grimy documentary look. Just get the guy who shot The Devil’s Rejects and you’re halfway there!

    I guess they want to make the trailers “accessible” and “appealing to a wide audience”, but wouldn’t the lurid subject matter work harmoniously with a gritty visual approach anyway to make people want to watch it?

  29. I don’t know if they’re hypocrites per say, hypocrisy implies misdeeds that are on some level conscious, I think these kids are well intentioned people who sincerely want to do good but whose actions still cause people harm. They’ll mention “late stage capitalism” but their solutions are still capitalistic because, well, what else are they going to do, it’s all they’ve ever known, it’s likely all they’ll ever know. I think it’s an interesting choice that did help hold my interest. A bit nihilistic, but hey, it’s a horror film.

  30. “I think this film is more poking fun at millenial and Gen Z left-wing hypocrisies than it is promoting a right-wing ideology, and I think that’s an important distinction of both degree and kind.”

    10 years ago I probably would’ve agreed with that, but in recent years shit got…weird. These “left wing hypocrisies” became repeated by the right wingers so often, that they basically became a dog whistle. I mean, we all love to make fun of those influencers and remember #Kony2012 as the posterchild for how “the kids” think their slacktivism is gonna change the world, but when the protagonists in a horror movie all act like ignorant assholes while pretending (or at least telling people) that they wanna change the world and die gruesome deaths because of this, at some point even get drowsed in literal shit, you wonder what it’s about. This is really more or less the world view that Nazis try to propagate these days. “We are not the bad guys here, we just love tradition! But the LIBERALS with their NEW IDEAS, who want to CENSOR and CANCEL everything, they are the ones that you have to be afraid of! Especially if they are young and use smartphones!”

    I’m willing to overlook the cops being actually okay and the redneck being at least nicer than he seems as “subverting expectations”, without any bad intentions, but the whole premise of the movie just feels wrong. A bunch of out-of-touch liberals start a massacre by trying to remove a confederate flag and calling the cops on a poor, old woman, who was an important cornerstone of the society and did many good things over the years, just because she used words that aren’t “woke” but were totally normal a few decades ago? I mean, if they had painted the old woman as some kind of rabid racist, sure, but as far as we know, she was a nice lady who taught Leatherface to keep his dark side under control, even if she was out of touch when it comes to the use of certain words. Then the final girl basically becomes the final girl because she learns that guns are alright, even if all her friends died from one. And if Sally would’ve just pulled the trigger instead of being TOO EMOTIONAL FOR THIS JOB, the movie would’ve ended 30 minutes earlier.

    You know me, I’m normally the guy who tries to convince people that they might overthink certain things in movies. But sheesh, I think this movie has too many red flags. One or two of these things could be easily shrugged off, but I don’t know, man. This is simply not the time anymore to look at such things and shrug them off with a chuckle, if they play right into the world views of certain people that we really don’t wanna be associated with.

  31. I think maybe whatshisface the DON’T BREATHE guy has a variant of the South Park Centrism disease, where instead of insisting that both sides are actually equally bad because one can be a little pompous about electric cars and the other is literally trying to take away human rights, he instead insists that no one is 100% good or 100% bad, even rapists and cannibals. Which is admirable in theory, but the way it often seems to work out with this guy’s oeuvre is that it works overtime to make you sympathize with the monsters while seeming to also go out of its way to demonize its victims. I think the intentions are good and more interesting usually than some black/white shit, but over the course of a body of work, it might start to look like you’re heavily invested in apologizing for the worst people in the world. Shades of gray make for good drama but you better get the balance right or you’re gonna end up doing some manipulative shit to stack the deck like making your entrepreneur characters somehow forget that they didn’t buy an entire building so the audience will feel bad for the confederate grandma who’s been harboring a serial killer for 50 years. I don’t think there’s any sinister motivation at work other than basic button-pushing, but at a certain point you gotta wonder about the value of working so hard to defend the indefensible.

  32. I don’t think it’s sensible to view this film primarily as a coded or not-so-coded political treatise. CJ, I see you doing something that has become very common in online discourse, which is to impute a political agenda or set of meanings, sympathies and associations to the film-makers that go far beyond anything going on in the film. The fact that the film (a) shows some sympathies to some of the locals and pokes some fun at some of the city folk and (b) never goes out of it’s way to overtly reassure you that it is thoroughly progressive. Because the film does a bit of playful trolling of educated, urban youth culture and never delivers any heavy-handed reassurance that it’s actually fully on the side of team blue educated urban progressive, this ambiguity and tension does not sit well. It leads to discomfort, which can polarize into “fuck you, reactionaries!”

    My contention is that all of that subtext between the lines is not actually between the lines of the film but is 95% projection of one’s own politics and anxieties. It’s kind of a inkblot that way. For example, I see situation with the lady getting kicked out and having the heart attack as an inciting incident. I don’t see this film or anyone in this film saying, “These fucking city kids caused a chainsaw massacre!” The point is that one thing leads to another, and suddenly we have this completely crazy escalation just through a series of events. The film is very clear that it was an honest mistake and oversight on Dante’s (or his bank’s) part, and I think the film is likewise very clear that the big bad here is Leatherface — Leatherface is not a radicalized victim, a la Paul Kersey.

    To me, I think part of the issue is the assumption that this film is assigning clear blame or responsibility or that it is making univocal political claims. Leatherface is clearly the villain, no question. His response is clearly, ludicrously disproportionate. Other than the bit character kids on the bus, the city folks are portrayed as naive kids who experience a vastly disproportionate response to whatever mistakes they make.

    I’m also troubled by the mind-guarding, circling the wagons note you close on, CJ. Basically, your implication is that that there is some ethical obligation to dislike and repudiate this film as a kind of trojan horse for a full political agenda. I don’t think it is, and the “we’re not the type of people to support a right-wing film like this” is precisely the problem that I think this film is speaking to. The tendency to hyper-politicize, hyper-moralize, and hyper-tribalize everything, which says a lot more about the left-online-brain lens we bring to everything that actively distorts our ability to actually take the thing on its own terms vs. projecting all kinds of hidden subtext and intentionality and then claiming that it’s there in the film vs. here in our heads.

  33. I wish we had that road movie promised at the end of Texas Chainsaw 3D.

    I’m tending to agree with some of this because the message is muddled but, at the same time, this everything is black and white and there is no shades of grey anymore in our culture is such bullshit.

  34. All fair points, Skani and I try not to overthink any kind of shit in movies, but honestly, this is 2022 and “Nah, we shouldn’t overanalyze this” brought us the shitshow of the last few years. While we were pretending that the duck wasn’t a duck although it looked, walked and sounded like a duck, because we were scared of being ridiculed for our “liberal fears”, the duck became an elected politician and demands nobody should be “cancelled” for calling black people Ni**er, since censorship is wrong.

    I won’t rule out that the people behind the movie just threw a bunch of random ideas on screen, because they thought they were cool and didn’t mean any harm with any of them. But I don’t know, man. Maybe they are also “It’s just a joke, bro, sorry IF you were offended”-ing us.

  35. As far as non-Tobe-Hooper-directed TCM’s, I think this is the only one I didn’t absolutely hate. Did it capture the magic of those first two movies? Of course not. Did it feel like a ‘real’ TCM movie? Also, of course not. But it had some really entertaining moments and didn’t bore me, which is more than I can say for the others. Had they created a new killer and kept everything else exactly the same, I might have liked it even more. I get why others didn’t like it, and I don’t necessarily disagree with anyone’s criticisms. But, for me, it was an enjoyable way to spend 80 minutes or so and was frankly better (in my opinion) than roughly 90% of the crap that Netflix shovels out there every month.

  36. You’ll forgive me, but I just find it a BIT amusing that after nine movies about evil, inbred rednecks, there’s a Texas Chainsaw Massacre that suggests well-off, progressive urbanites can also indulge in bad behavior–not one-tenth as bad as the Sawyers do in every other Chainsaw Massacre–and people are going “You’ve gone too far! Go back to painting poor people in rural areas as the Devil Incarnate! Leave the folks with smartphones ALONE!”

    Like, I don’t know, were you also offended by Halloween Kills portraying the entire town of Haddonfeld as a comically inept lynch mob? What’s going on here?

  37. I haven’t seen that one. Not really rushing to watch it either until it shows up on streaming or pay TV, but I guess unless someone mentions “Cancelling Michael Myers” or gets killed for being woke, I don’t see a problem with that.

  38. Vern. My jaw dropped reading this review.

    I think it is safe to say that a lot of people heard about you first, myself included, after your napalm review of the Nispel remake of TCSM on the Ain’t it Cool site. I actually enjoyed that movie a bit. But I was still disappointed when I saw it because, well, it really didn’t work the way the original worked. And you explained very well, VERY well, in this review how the secret sauce of the original cannot be captured again. There have been too many decades of horror movies that have simply changed the genre, and the original Chain Saw is just one of a kind. I don’t know that it can be recaptured. And I have watched the original with people who have never seen it and it doesn’t work for them.

    This movie is garbage, but as I read these comments, I guess it’s ok for what it is. Maybe I was too bowed up, expecting something that can’t be repeated.
    If you remove your expectations that we are getting a sequel to the original and are just looking for a slasher movie, it’s is a passable, stupid, bloody ride. It does look great. It’s as much a sequel to the original TCSM as Tootsie is a sequel to the Graduate. It is so dumb.

    Guys, they plastered the Chainsaw in the wall? Really? He gets from the scene of the wreck to the house in 10 minutes, with a limp, and also managed to carve up and display the blondes body. And now he’s Jason, because he survives shotgun blasts to the chest and 10 minutes underwater. And he kills 20 people who can’t figure out a way out of the bus around him?

    I guess my request, Vern, is go back and review the 2 Bay films and look at them with the different point of view you looked at this movie, because both of those films are infinitely better, I’d dare say objectively better, than this nonsense.

    I was so disappointed with this movie. I figured it must be bad because of the review embargo on it. I got up at 6:00 am Friday to watch this because I am such a fan of the original and I was bummed out by it. I wonder how I would like it if I just saw it and had no connection with the original, but I can’t do that.

    Apparently I should just give up on the idea that someone is going to make a Chainsaw movie that stirs even a tiny bit of the feelings that the original did.

  39. I was almost certainly being hyperbolic but I truly hated the Platinum Dunes TCM and for many years considered it to be among my bottom ten movies of all time. Not among the ten worst, but one of my ten least favourite, and I’m by no means as big a TCM fan as Vern is, I hadn’t even seen TCM2 back when I saw that. I’m sure I would mellow a little on it if I saw it now, but I remember enough of it to be pretty sure I still wouldn’t like it.

  40. Say what you want about the right-adjacent youth paranoia and slacktivism critique of THE GREEN INFERNO and KNOCK KNOCK, at least Eli Roth committed to those themes. Here it’s all just pretext, a didactic way to give things the weight of cultural relevancy when it has nothing much to say about that stuff.

    I’m not mad at the movie or anything, but it’s interesting that I, like Vern, had a more visceral disgust for the ‘03 remake. And maybe that’s just a sign that it’s becoming more futile to want to protect the legacy of a classic you love, or maybe this just struck me as a pretty run-of-the-mill modern slasher. I’m already having trouble remembering some of the parts you guys are mentioning.

  41. CJ, I don’t think you’re overthinking; I think your take is spot on.

    Here’s a story from my past that will maybe make it clearer why I have that opinion.

    In 2002 an aspiring musician friend of mine got hired to write some background music for a local ad that a political consultant’s office was producing in New York City.

    It turned out the ad was for a law firm. The ad was also about 9/11. The voiceover asked if you’d been injured during the attacks on the World Trade Center, and to call a number if so, and that was that. Just a normal 30 second spot for a NYC law firm that would be running on basic cable channels.

    The thing was… my friend also learned, because of a connection he had at the political consultant’s office, that the law firm the ad was advertising didn’t actually exist. The entire thing wasn’t real. The ad itself was real — it really aired — but the one and only point of its existence was for it to put a reference to the 9/11 attack*S* — as in, plural, 2 attacks; more than 1 — in front of viewers at home.

    Why would that be important? Because the person who commissioned the ad believed that referring to the attacks as plural would plant the seed in the minds of the NYC potential-juror demographic that not 1, but 2 attacks on the WTC had taken place on 9/11, since there were 2 towers, and 2 planes hit them. More relevantly, if the jury at the upcoming insurance hearings ruled two attacks and not one, then the leaseholder of 1 World Trade Center Place would receive twice the money from his insurers. (That bit might ring a bell for anyone who took an interest in this back then; it was an ongoing national news story.)

    This wasn’t some theory or hunch — this was a matter openly, if internally, discussed as the sole purpose of the ad by its producers.

    I think my friend told me this at the time just because he knew I liked The X-Files; geeky fandoms had been part of our friendship, and he thought I’d get a kick out of this harmless peek behind the curtain. Given the shape the following 20 years took, I’ve never forgotten it.

    Like it or not, small scale or not, successful or not, that was a real live psyop in action, even if the only point was to make one rich person richer. That’s the point of a very large and very depressing number of global affairs. So take it for what it’s worth. Blow it off it you like. But know this: you’re not crazy and you’re not overthinking it when you watch a movie where the sociopolitical subtext is oozing out of every crevasse and you wonder “who is this shit for?” or ask “who makes this shit?” Those don’t need to be rhetorical questions. If anything, we’re underthinking the answers.

    Check out the HBO documentary HOT COFFEE (about the woman who spilled scalding McDonald’s coffee on her lap in the 1990s and was subsequently vilified by the entire nation for seeking damages) if you find this type of thing compelling.

  42. I think Bill Reed hit the nail on the head about what’s going on in this movie. If you see the DON’T BREATHE movies you can see that Alvarez and Sayagues love to have protagonists who you are rooting but who do bad things, and antagonists who are outlandishly terrible but then show some bit of humanity or reason to be more sympathetic toward them, and they kind of go back and forth like that more than once. I think it’s partly an idea that people don’t always fit into neat boxes, but mostly it’s a way to tell a horror story that keeps you on your toes and makes you uncomfortable in – in my opinion – a fun way. But based on the comments for all three of these movies it’s clear that many people here really, really, really do not share my enjoyment of this method. (Though everyone was even harsher about EVIL DEAD, which doesn’t really follow the same pattern. And which I recently rewatched and think is maybe even better than I said at the time.)

    I appreciate and relate to CJ’s and everyone’s sensitivity about fascists putting fascist shit into movies. I don’t know their politics but I certainly don’t think these movies push a right wing agenda. If you assume they’re trying to make statements about “sides” then of course the politics are going to seem muddled, because their movies are designed to blur those lines.

    That said, I don’t think there’s any way around that you’re meant to root for Melody, Lila and Sally, whatever their transgressions, including liking brunch and whatever this eyebrow thing is that Majestyk mentioned.

  43. People don’t have to be psy-opped into thinking of liberals as self-righteous and unreasonable, when you have people accusing filmmakers of being Nazis for putting some slight shots against young urban progressives and one (1) reference to cancel culture in their mediocre slasher movie. Were the previous TCM movies and all the other evil redneck horror movies anti-conservative psy-ops? Oh no, I just criticized a liberal! That’s what Nazis do! Are you gonna accuse me of being a Nazi as well? Get a fucking grip.

  44. I’m enjoying this discussion. I think it’s worth mentioning that the original TCSM is also critical of its “civilized” protagonists and mocking of their their post-hippie urban arrogance, and that position is sort of central to the whole urban/rural divide horror subgenre. So I don’t think that aspect is crossing any line. I just didn’t feel this movie did a good job of making them engaging humans.

  45. I’ll just say that I personally dig movies that try to muddy the waters morally and make you question your loyalties as an audience member, or try to make you uncomfortable by giving the villains a good point or having the heroes do bad things. But not only do I think this movie fails to do that in an interesting way, I also don’t think the actual story can sustain it because it just boils down to a generic slasher movie where a hulking monster of a man murders a bunch of people because he’s evil. At best, you have a “protagonists disproportionately punished for their sins” deal.

  46. Would you say that this does not reach the standards of, say, most of the FRIDAY THE 13TH and HALLOWEEN sequels, or that you hold it to a different standard because the series started out differently?

  47. I will say this for the ‘classic’ F13/Halloween/ANOES sequels–they’re very unpretentious about being another go-around with Freddy/Jason/Michael doing his thing. They own their Part VIIs. I can’t help but see a bit of preciousness in these half-reboot ‘continuations’ that act like elevated horror (whatever that is), then degenerate into more Freddy/Jason/Michael doing their thing.

    If your pitch is “This isn’t just another Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie!”, then your follow-through shouldn’t be… just another Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie.

  48. I think that’s right. The Platinum Dunes 2003 film presents itself as a gritty, high-production values remake, so, it’s more wantonly treading on hallowed ground in attempting to formally end the Hooper series and start over. Plus, it tries to mesh the Bay filmatic sheen with all kinds of extraneous filth and squalor and is not a good film. It seems to want to be taken seriously as a remake, which invites a direct comparison and competitive energy relative to the 1974 original.

    Maybe this film sets up a similar energy for some, with its pretensions of being a direct sequel to the original — after all, HALLOWEEN 2018 seemed to really piss a lot of people off for doing that. (And I don’t think this is as stylish or high-quality as HALLOWEEN 2018, for the record). For me, however, setting itself up as a direct sequel is just a convenient device to set us back on course for what a slasher sequel should be: A semi-annual bacchanalia of carnage based on a thin premise whose may purpose is to use the central slasher like an awesome action figure.

    That’s what I appreciate is that it’s mostly not about anything except converting Leatherface to a more conventional solo slasher the way pop culture consciousness already did decades ago. This film is just catching up to and embracing the way pop culture has wanted to treat Leatherface as an iconic slasher guy. “Fuck it, let’s do this,” it seems to be saying. And, ind doing so, it’s realizing on the full slashing potential of the chainsaw as a slashing device, which is to do incredible amounts of mass damage (Like Vern, I immediately thought of the Jason corn rave kill scene when the Leatherface bus scene got going, and the bus scene is honestly way better in concept and, I think, execution).

    To do all of this, the filmmaker has to cast aside any pretension of measuring up to Hooper’s film or successfully building on the “continuity” of Hooper Part 2 and ask, “What if we did a Leatherface like more of a straight-ahead body count slasher film?” That’s the same thing the viewer has to do to enjoy the film. Be up for a serviceable slasher with a hardly plausible premise and some only mildly interesting protagonists, but with some fun kills and good production values.

    Anyway, that’s a lot of virtual ink defending this film that I think is only “not too bad, as slasher sequels go.” But I could see them actually going on a little run, cranking out one of these every year or so, and there would be much worse things in the world. We’d get an annual legacy slash extravaganza and an annual reminder that there’s no need or point to trying to compete with Hooper’s films.

  49. Dan’s take is right: it’s a good thing to try to inject moral ambiguity into a story, but this particular story can’t really sustain it and so it seems forced.

    I would like to stress that the eyebrows themselves are not hateable. It’s just that I’ve never seen a character that has them that was not intended to be hateable. The eyebrows are merely representative of hateability, not causative.

  50. I just realized that Vern and I have completely swapped positions in the 15 or so years since the Platinum Dunes remake. Back then, Vern was outraged on general principle about the temerity of these carpet-bagging motherfuckers coming in and gentrifying our sacred land with their glitzy big-budget remakes, while I was fairly sanguine on the matter. All I’d known my whole life were mercenary sequels, so why waste energy getting mad about it? A fish who wakes up every day pissed that water is wet is gonna have a pretty miserable life. But now, encouraged in no small part by Vern’s many heartfelt screeds in support of integrity and authenticity in dealing with the characters and stories that define us, I have become much more militant in my old age. I rage against the dying of the creative spark. If I tolerate the kind of thing this latest ‘SAW represents, it’s with deeply cynical ironic detachment. Meanwhile, Vern has mellowed out and accepted that which he cannot change: We live in a society where our dreams are simply capital, and capital must be reinvested or it depreciates (or something like that—finance might as well be voodoo to me). So he can legit enjoy a breezy piece of knockoff trash like this in a way that I never can. I may allow myself to be entertained in the moment, but it’s like laughing at a joke made by a charming conman you know is trying to rip you off. Ha ha, good one, but no, I’m not investing in your ponzi scheme (or something–again, I know about as much about the economy as most filmmakers know about how nailguns work).

  51. Not sure if Vern’s last comment was for me. If so, I don’t know where this ranks in the pantheon of slasher sequels (it’s less to my liking than many, but probably better than a JASON TAKES MANHATTAN or from this franchise THE NEXT GENERATION). I am very comfortable just viewing this as a slasher movie and not comparing it to the original. I just don’t think, outside of the gore, it’s a very good slasher movie, largely due to the tone (I think there’s a grimness and pretentious here that clashes with the more outre stuff) and themes which I think stand in the way of it being the kind of silly fun it might have been.

    Anyways my not enjoying this movie has nothing to do with me not being comfortable with ambiguity or me being too defensive about the franchise or me not liking that they have cell phones, or whatever else mind reading Vern is trying to do on people who don’t agree with him.

  52. Mr M,

    Yeah that was the part that surprised me here, the 180 that Vern has seemingly made over the years on this.

    But like I mentioned before, I’m not going to blame the guy for no longer taking this sort of thing as a personal offense; heck his new outlook is probably healthier. But like you I’m also a little baffled as to why he’s staking such a hard claim on such an unremarkable movie, one that isn’t even a scrappy underdog. Like, this movie was born on 3rd base and still somehow managed to seemingly strike out with most audiences. If Vern liked it, it’s his job to try to express that, but where is all the defensive coming from?

  53. This is HIS website. It’s his playground you’re all playing in. He has a right to defend his opinion.

  54. JugoBetrugo I didn’t call anyone a Nazi. Nor did I/was I meaning to imply that any iteration of TCM is a psyop, but thanks for the laugh there. I enjoy moral ambiguity and sleaze and stuff that makes me squirm, including DON’T BREATHE. I’m just saying the presence of political content in mainstream movies is more than skin deep sometimes. Is that really tantamount to the hysterical ranting of a crazy person?

  55. I don’t have any problem with Vern liking this movie or defending it. There are plenty of movies that I should hate on general principle but there’s the unfortunate fact that I enjoy watching them. I was merely observing that while I have hardened over the years, Vern has mellowed. That’s his business and I wouldn’t care to speculate as to why.

  56. Dan, I didn’t think I was staking a hard claim. I just honestly dug the movie and I’m very happy as someone who identifies as a TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE guy to have a new one that’s much better than most of the non-Hooper ones (which have always been a mixed bag). And then the comments here are not only trashing it but have a sort of “How could you?” tone to them (maybe I’m reading that into it) so I feel like I need to explain how I could.

    I think it’s perfectly natural for me to react differently to this goofy sequel than I did to the remake almost 20 years ago. Not only am I an older, less angry, less arrogant person who doesn’t take movies as personally as I did then, this is also just a totally different situation. It’s not a remake that has to be compared directly to the original. It also has the gloomy remake and its prequel to compare favorably to in regards to entertainment value! It only has to compare to the other sequels, of which only Hooper’s I unreservedly love (though I have come to enjoy something about most of them).

    I guess my horror tastes are out of wack with everybody else right now considering the reactions to HALLOWEEN KILLS, but I just don’t understand how it’s controversial to say this holds up well to the other post part 2 sequels. If I got something out of those how is it so weird that I liked this one? Here’s how I opened my TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D review:

    “About a third of the way into TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D, when the sound of the heroes’ van rolling off the road faded and I realized that everybody else in the theater was laughing too, it was clear we were on the same page. This is a dumb fucking movie, but we’re enjoying it. That’s not what I want from a sequel to my favorite horror movie of all time, but it’s about the best I hoped for. So I’m chalking this up as a win.”

    I liked this one better because I think it’s cleverer and better executed (and has a much better Leatherface), but I meant what I said, that I could understand preferring that one because it’s more ridiculous. I enjoy these two on a level more similar to how I enjoy FRIDAY THE 13TH sequels than to how I enjoy the two Hooper CHAIN SAWs, which is why I asked about those. I think many of the reasons people have given for hating these would be reasons to hate most of the FRIDAYs and HALLOWEENs, which I have if not initially then over time come to mostly enjoy.

    I’ve never felt you were someone whose tastes were predictable or could be labelled, and I agree with you that my interpretations of why some people hate the movie don’t apply to you. I honestly didn’t mean to imply that they did. I believe you that you will go to your grave having never had a positive thought about TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2022, but I would bet money that the wider horror community view of the movie will be more kind in 3-5 years than it is now. Or sooner if it gets another restart sooner.

    It seems like I’m having some kind of comments-related personal crisis or something, so I apologize for anything that annoyed anybody. This is me and not you, so please nobody feel bad about it, but outside of the thankful exception of the long Sam Raimi series, it has felt for a while like I’m trying to send positivity into the world and mostly getting back an avalanche of negativity. I’m sure this is not most comments, and just me putting too much weight on certain ones, but it feels to me like most comments are telling me the movie I just praised is garbage or that they respect my opinion but won’t watch the movie because they’re sure I’m wrong. I guess if every single commenter hated every movie I reviewed it would wear on me even if it was framed as “That’s interesting that you liked it, here’s why I didn’t like it.” But sometimes (not necessarily in this current discussion) it’s framed as me being wrong, with an implication that it’s a moral failing for me to be “going easy on it” and I start to take it personally.

    I guess sometimes people expect me to be something I used to be that I no longer have any interest in being, that is embarrassing to me because I think of it as me when I was a dumb kid who was too full of himself. So some of those comments get under my skin. I need to get better about recognizing that and not letting it bother me.

    Most critics say don’t read the comments, but I always do and always want to, because we have a really cool and smart group of people here who have mostly avoided the toxicity that plagued Ain’t It Cool and so many other places, and I’ve learned from everybody and gotten great recommendations and stuff. Half the time I think, “Wow, I wish I’d put it like that” when I see somebody else’s take. So for me the comments are a major part of the reason to write in the first place. I really want it to be a discussion. I’m just getting worn out by how often the discussions are about how movies are terrible now and it’s shameful that I have such low standards that I enjoy some of them. I didn’t think I was getting heated on this one, but I caught myself letting that stress me on the WELCOME TO RACCOON CITY thread. So I’ll try to be more aware of it.

    In conclusion, I dug this movie, I’m sorry you didn’t, I didn’t mean to have a serious argument about it, I would rather drop the whole thing than annoy you further, I love and appreciate all the commenters here, but I’m gonna hafta train with the Care Bears pretty soon because I ran out of Sam Raimi movies and I don’t know how to make anybody positive anymore.

  57. Hey let me jump in and apologize for being overly critical and pointlessly obstinate. Vern, if I challenged your motives or questioned your authority to express your own opinions on your own web page, then clearly I’m the asshole here. I was a little flabbergasted to see you so enthusiastic about a movie that I basically feel like is a worse made version of the remake, with many of the same flaws, thought I detected a tone of defensiveness and dismissiveness towards naysayers in the review, and then for some reason your comments (which I thought were implying that people like me who didn’t like the movie have a bunch of weird hangups, but I’m probably just projecting my own shit into this) irked me.

    But that’s MY fault for getting annoyed by internet bullshit. While I like a good open discussion where people feel comfortable to disagree, this is also supposed to be a friendly community for people to bond over the works of a film critic that they enjoy. In my head I was just trying to offer a friendly challenge, but in practice I’m probably just being a brat. This is why I don’t comment online so much any more. I’m sorry for pissing in the pool.

  58. I guess Leatherface puts us both on edge. Sounds like we were both interpreting things that each other didn’t mean. I’m trying to become more conscious of those types of miscommunications. Thank you and please don’t be discouraged from commenting. I appreciate your posts.

  59. Psychic_hits: No, you didn’t directly call anyone a nazi, you just said that the guy throwing around the nazi accusations was “spot-on” and then told an anecdote about psy-ops to illustrate why you agree with him. You explicitly agreed with a comment calling someone a nazi and then act like I’m unreasonable for assuming that you share the views stated in the comment that you agreed with? And why bring up all the psy-op shit, explicitly in support of CJ’s original comment, if not to support his theory that TCM 2022 is some secret right-wing screed? And now you pull this coward motte and bailey shit, like your entire comment wasn’t framed in the context of agreeing with the guy who pulled out this nazi bullshit in the first place.

    To answer your condescending question: Of course the presence of political content in cinema is often more than skin deep. No reasonable person would object to that statement. However, your original comment contained and implied much more than just that reasonable statement. And spare me the passive aggressive “thanks for the laughs” shit. If anything is worth laughing about here, it’s how you had to pull out an elaborate story to arrive at the point that (*gasp*) commercials are delibaretely made to manipulate the viewer into thinking and acting in a certain way! Real proud of yourself for figuring that one out, huh?

  60. Speaking of positivity and whatnot, something I appreciated about this film is that it did not go out of its way to give us 9000 dumb-ass-shit easter eggs, wink-wink references. There are essentially zero flashbacks. There is the Sally stuff, but I thought that was fine, and I’d rather have a single deliberate plot connection to the original than another easter egg or call-back every 10 minutes.

    I also liked the new Leatherface “mask.” This new nasty-ass, fresh, doughy Leatherface mask is an interesting update and works well. In additio, the whole ritual where he creates his new mask, and its personal emotional significance for him is weirdly powerful and kind of disgustingly, derangedly … um, yeah, poignant? Maybe? Particularly when they come back and show how he’s staged the body, which I think is pretty stark and fucking creepy. What I’m saying is that Alice Krige and her character make their mark on this fim in a way that goes well beyond her screen time.

  61. JugoBetrugo Unless I’m missing something, searching this page for the word “Nazi” reveals CJ used it once, in the context of “This is pretty much what Nazis do, too.” So in my opinion, he didn’t call anyone a Nazi either. I guess we’re stuck with two different interpretations.

    I wasn’t trying to be condescending or backpedal before. Nothing about the question “Is it really so strange?” is condescending. When I imagine the sketch-comedy version of “TCM22 as psyop” it genuinely makes me laugh. (Not at you; at the opportunities for comedy within the idea.) The real movie could be a psyop; it could not be… same goes for the original. I don’t have any friends who wrote music for either one, lol, so I can’t say for sure. You seem to say that you think psyops are a banal/ubiquitous presence in the current media landscape; that’s pretty much the point I was making in my original post.

    But your priority seems to be to paint me a picture of myself as some humorless, pearl-clutching idiot… I’m surprised you didn’t call me pretentious for good measure, if we’re playing this version of Being Hostile To A Stranger In 2022. There’s a world of difference between Coors telling me I’ll have a good time if I drink beer, and my friend’s experience on the commercial I described. I think you’re already aware of that… at least, you seem pretty confident in your analytical abilities, Mr. Motte-and-Bailey (I had to look that one up), so I’ll let you determine what that difference is for yourself.

    I’ve been reading Vern’s stuff and commenting here for years and years; maybe you have too, but what I’ve learned in that time is that the type of energy you’ve invested in blasting at me doesn’t get a lot of traction. So, you’re free to express yourself, and I’m free to tell you that your interpretation of my thoughts and my intentions is off base. I stand by everything I said in my original post. The cosmic ballet goes on.

  62. CJ summed up what he believes to be the worldview represented in TCM 2022 and then followed that up with “This is really more or less the world view that Nazis try to propagate these days.” That counts as an accusation of Nazism in my book, because what’s the difference between sharing a nazi’s worldview and actually being a Nazi? Slim to none, I’d say. At the very least, I’d view it as an accusation of being nazi-adjacent, which is still an absolutely ridiculous thing to say about a dumb slasher movie that lightly pokes fun at millenials and cancel culture. This is why I feel justified in entering this discussion with a hostile tone, I don’t think anything I’ve said comes close to how out of line that comment was.

    It might look like I’m getting unreasonably hostile about this, but I feel very strongly about people throwing around the nazi comparison without consideration. There’s more than enough nazis in the world, I should know, a bunch of them marched right past my window last monday for some bullshit demonstration of theirs. It’s precisely because of the serious, real life threat of actual nazis, that one shouldn’t throw around accusations like that over dumb jokes in a slasher movie. Things of this sort have an accumulative effect in people’s minds. I believe that every poorly thought out nazi accusation thrown out over shit like jokes about cancel culture or general critiques of modern liberalism will directly lead to ALL accusations of nazism being taken less seriously by the general public. I firmly believe that wanton accusations of this sort achieve nothing, except making the left look unreasonable and making it easier for actual nazis to get away with their shit. Your follow-up comments make it clear that you are not one of those people I’m so mad at. I stand by my opinion that this was not clear from your original comment, but whatever.

    Another thing that just occured to me: Isn’t the psy-op you describe in your original comment kinda hilariously obtuse? If they want the public to think of the events as multiple 9/11 attacks, why don’t they just use the United 93 hijacking? I guess the feds aren’t as smart as they like to think.

  63. Jugo I can see how it looked like I was saying “Nazis are out to get us all” and not “Psyops of all political stripes are everywhere” and I wish I’d done a better job making the distinction clear originally. But yeah, the latter point is the one I was trying to make.

    If it’s hilarity you’re looking for, try this on for size: despite that fake ad (and whatever other efforts existed to sway public opinion in New York about 9/11), the insurance payout turned out to be way closer to what the insurers wanted to pay — “only” around $4 billion, not the $7b the plaintiff sought. So, yeah, “obtuse” is more than fair, and I’d add megalomaniacal, to boot. I expect they didn’t focus on United 93 because the hearing was to determine whether the WTC specifically suffered one attack or two, and not whether the day itself featured a bunch of attacks.

    Re Nazis and comparisons thereto: a friend of mine who is basically like a brother to me happens to be half Japanese-American and half Jewish. His grandma was born in an internment camp during WW2. He came up in the punk scene in the uber-liberal 2000s Northeastern US. And yet somehow, these days, if he has a political opinion about literally anything, it will *reliably* be the opinion a white supremacist would also have. Does that make him a white supremacist himself? I don’t think it does. But it’s still a question that literally keeps me up at night. And he would insist that I’m “missing the point” but I can’t help seeing what I see. Regardless, I agree that going around being hyperbolic about Nazis is unproductive, and I’m not in the habit of doing it.

    The thing is, for me personally, I don’t think jokes in a slasher movie are necessarily unrelated to the phenomenon of white supremacists marching past your window last week. (I’m sorry that happened in your community, btw; it sounds horrible.) Mr Majestyk referred to “South Park centrism” somewhere up above and I think the comparison is apt… like, I don’t think Trey Parker and Matt Stone received marching orders from Dick Cheney on Illuminati stationary in 1999 that said “You are to belittle the idea of political progressives with your TV program at the behest of the United States Government, with the explicit goal of creating public discord in 20 years” but I also think that is kind of what wound up happening. And not just because of South Park, to be clear — because of a lot of things.

    That’s not me saying the solution is to remove the jokes from the slasher movies; I don’t know what the solution is, but I feel very certain it’s not that. The problem is always easier to see than the solution and these days I kinda think the problem is the normalization of callousness, laughing off pain as the only correct response to pain, and consciously depicting oppressive institutions in media as harmless-to-benevolent, because that stuff plays right into the hands of certain folks across the political spectrum who are currently angling for an outsize slice of global power. So in that way, I do think CJ is totally spot on in his read of TCM22. But I’m prone to seeing connections between everything; it’s a blessing and a curse, because you can’t prove any of this shit until it’s too late.

  64. What does it take to change the essence of a comments section?

  65. Vern, thanks for that comment (the long one where you mentioned the expectations people have for you to be someone you’re not anymore) and I’ll just say: You Be You & You Do You.

    I think most of us strive to have this clear line between “God, did I hate this movie this reviewer obviously loves” AND “Man, I cannot fucking believe this reviewer can give this puddle of putrid piss a pass” but in the heat and passion of discussion (and if not driven by a passion of movies, just what the fuck are we here for, free coffee??) frequently smudge or outright obliterate said line.

    As my recent comments on ETERNALS in another thread where I expressed myself badly with regards to how Disney handles diversity and representation demonstrated , I smudge that line too, but then take a deep breath, redraw it, stay on the right side and try not to be a triggered asshole. As a very,very,very,very new commenter here, I really dig the vibes of this space and that’s largely due in part to the level of positivity you bring to the place via your reviews, and while I will still ponder in eternal puzzlement how you managed to find ANY kind words for something like SHOWDOWN IN MANILA, I’ll put it down to your commitment to that positivity.

  66. I just stopped to NOT refer to people who hang out with Nazis, repeat what Nazis say, laugh at the same jokes as Nazis, etc as Nazis a while ago. Many of them might not think that they are Nazis and I’m sure a whole bunch of them truly believe it, but these days we have a surprising amount of people who try to convince everybody that they aren’t Nazis, even if they say and do Nazi stuff.

    That’s all.

  67. While it’s might be a stretch to say that TCM2022 or WELCOME TO RACCOON CITY are underdogs, I don’t think they’re pedigree dogs either. I think they’re roughly equivalent to the modern era in budget and profile what Cannon films were to the 80s, if that’s a very flawed analogy I think a lot of that’s due to the mid-low budget squashing ways of the modern era. As far as I know the only big advantage either of these films had is that TCM2022 was able to nab a prime spot on Netflix; they weren’t marketed to death, they didn’t trend on Twitter for days every time one of their actors got snapped on set, they don’t have scores of influencers and YouTubers and Podcasters whose careers are based on their brand and who will add to their Rotten Tomato percentage whether they like them or not for fear of getting their screening privileges revoked. Yes, they are trading off “known IP”/”brands” but again I’m afraid that’s the modern era. Or you could say if they’re a Cannon film they’re not AMERICAN NINJA or LIFEFORCE, they’re DEATH WISH 2, INVADERS FROM MARS and MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE and those were kind of still underdogs in their day relative to TOP GUN and BEVERLY HILLS COP II and such, were they not?

  68. Right, but psychic_hits, I think the SOUTH PARK example is a good one, because it is true that it is a fairly indiscriminate offender. And I do see a tendency to basically imply that making fun of some liberals or liberal cultural memes is failing a purity test, and I also see a lot of guilt by innuendo and n-degrees association. You see this in how concepts like “dog whistling” get over-used or how people make these arguments about how saying thing x or liking thing y puts group g “in danger” (the “dangerous speech” movement) or not de-platforming so-and-so (e.g., Joe Rogan) “gives misinformation a platform” and, you guessed it, “puts people in danger.” I am more of the older ACLU civil libertarian model of protecting as much speech as possible, fighting bad speech with more speech and education, and fighting misinformation with good information and education while also allowing for provocative speech (NWA, 2 Live Crew, George Carlin). I think younger liberal audiences (the very vocal and disproportionately online ones) are presenting themselves in a more and more speech-authoritarian and thought/speech purity culture kind of light, and I do think that is both politically counter-productive for progressive causes and wrong on principle.

  69. Skani, the problem is IMO that “fighting bad speech with more speech and more education” hasn’t been working out. And it won’t, as long as everybody accepts “Bad speech is still free speech and also he was just kidding anyway” as no-further-questions-asked apology, while also the people who say: “No, stop saying these awful things and don’t reward the people who say them, you all should be smarter” are getting painted as some hysterical enemies of free speech.

    One one side we have people trying to remove the use of racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/anti-semitic slurs and symbols, on the other side people actually burning history books because they don’t like that kids might learn about slavery and segregation, and making laws that allow people to torture trans-kids and force little girls to give birth to and raise the babies that were conceived through rape. But yeah, the ones who unfollow Netflix and Spotify on social media, because these multi-billion companies don’t seem to care if their big moneymakers say irresponsible things, are the bad guys.

  70. Well, I feel terrible. Which is not unusual. I feel terrible a lot. Which is why I am one of the largest per-capita exporters of negativity to this place. I have vowed numerous times to be more positive, or at least to keep my fucking trap shut when I’ve got nothing nice to say, and I have failed spectacularly every time. It’s part me and where I am in life and part the state of the fucking world, which makes it very difficult to have much hope. And that overall fatalism bleeds into every aspect of my life. It can’t just be that I didn’t like this one particular movie; it has to be further evidence of the inevitable and escalating decay and degradation of our collective unconscious. I’m an extrapolater. Give me two points of data and I’ll find a way to make them part of a pattern of inevitable destruction. So I apologize for my role in nudging seemingly every other conversation on this sight into prophecies of armageddon. Sometimes I feel like William Shatner in THE INTRUDER, without the sinister intentions. Which I guess would make me more of a Typhoid Mary of doomsaying. I’m just trying to go about my business

    (The analogy is even more apt when you realize that Typhoid Mary actually knew about her infection and still chose to go out and infect people. Which is what I’m doing right now with this post.)

    I’m talking about me too much. This isn’t about me. But I don’t really know what else to do. I can’t speak for anybody else except to hope that my state of mind is shared by others, and I can’t promise to be more positive because we’d all know that I’m full of shit. This is who I am. And I don’t think Vern or anybody is asking me to fuck off. I’ve been told that I am a valuable member of this community and I am choosing, against every single one of my self-flagelating instincts, to believe that.

    I am not a cancer. But I’m not exactly benign, either.

    So I don’t know what else to do except apologize. I’m sorry, Vern. You bring something good into my life and the lives of others and I feel terrible about my role in souring that experience for you. I love that you have found more peace in your life and feel less of a need to tilt at windmills. I would never ask you to change. I believe you when you tell me a movie I have no interest in is good. I want to hear about whatever you want to talk about. I can’t always follow you into the light but that doesn’t mean your rays of sunshine don’t reach me here in the dark. They mean something to me. Sometimes they’re the only light source I have.

    But that doesn’t gives me the right to be a black hole sucking up all the light from everybody else. My promises mean jack shit but in the future I’ll try to take a beat before I post doom and gloom. If I want to be a part of this ecosystem, which is a rare and often confusing thing for me, I need to be aware of my effect on it. Thank you for the reminder that I do not exist in a vacuum.

  71. Vern, I’ve said it before: I love that you and your writing have evolved and progressed over the years. Your stuff is smart, considerate, insightful, and well-reasoned. I like that you’ve become more socially conscious and empathetic. You often find angles on things that make me reevaluate my opinions or appreciate things more. I watch movies I probably wouldn’t watch otherwise– TCM22, for example– because I’m interested to read about your opinions. I watch or buy movies because they have the Vern seal of approval (I’ve really got to get around to watching my Kill Zone 2 DVD. And my Samurai Marathon Blu-Ray). And sometimes I don’t like the movie at all, but I love your review on it– like with Matrix 4. A new Vern review is a nice bright spot in a dark time. I promise I read them all (maybe not right away if I want to avoid spoilers). And I go back and read or reread the old ones. And every time I watch a movie I check if there’s a Vern review.

    I’ve been reading this websight for quite a while, but only started commenting recently. I like that there’s a tight-knit, international community here, and I want to be a cool kid and be part of it. I always agonize over my comments, because I want to make sure I’m contributing something new or interesting or clever like everybody else. I don’t think I’m always successful. But sometimes I also feel like the comment threads here become a competition to see who can be the most cynical or biting about whatever the movie or topic is, and then it can lead to arguments. That kinda bums me out. And I get we all have our own personal shit going on that affects this (I know I do). And obviously we’re not all gonna like every movie or agree on what’s good or bad. Everybody’s opinion is valid. But I wish we could take a cue from Vern and try to approach these things with a willing openness.

    If this websight had a Mount Rushmore, Leatherface would be on it, so that may be leading to more forceful opinions on this one. (Imagine if S. Craig Zahler made this movie instead.) I agree with a lot of what everybody’s said about this one. I know the movie is being politically or morally muddled on purpose, and I don’t think movies need to pass an ideological purity test, but I also think they need to be aware of the world they’re being released into, and try not to support or overly simplify the grand systemic problems that are actively ruining our society. It’s a fine line to tread. And maybe we shouldn’t expect Texas Chainsaw 9 to worry too much about that. And maybe if we just thought the movie was more of our personal idea of fun or exciting or clever, none of this would matter– the sheer feeling of “being entertained” can forgive a lot of sins. But like Vern said, the passage of time might change the way we feel about it. We know a lot of those ’80s action and horror movies we love wouldn’t necessary pass political or ideological muster if they were released today. But at some point a work of art becomes a historical object and the context around our opinion changes.

  72. I also hadn’t considered how expressing my dislike for a movie beneath one of its outlier positive reviews may come across as dismissive of the article, but I get why it would. I always see Vern’s comment section as different from most others in that it’s as much a forum between members as it is direct feedback to the review posted, though Vern gives us that springboard. Anyway, I’ll be careful about this in the future, Vern, and I always gain something from reading your stuff, especially, I think, when you find the positive in stuff that’s easier to deride.

  73. Vern: You’ve often remarked that you feel somewhat embarrassed when looking at your old reviews. It reminds me of De Palma seeming kind of embarrassed by Femme Fatale in that documentary. Your old reviews are fucking hilarious, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about there. It kinda seems like a Jet Li in Fearless/Fist of Legend situation, one first has to master the art of beating the shit out of a motherfucker before embracing a life of peace and contemplation. Such is the duality of the outlaw style.

    Psychic_hits: I dunno If I agree with the idea of South Park contributing to real life political apathy/anti-left sentiments, even in the very small and indirect way that you’re considering. I don’t see South Park as the cause (or small part of the cause) of such sentiments, I see it as an expression of sentiments that were already part of the zeitgeist long before South Park came out. Guess there’s no way to know for sure either way.
    People who post about movies online tend to vastly overestimate how important movies/narrative media are in the average person’s life, imo. I’ve known my share of right-wingers, their view of leftists wasn’t influenced by movies and tv, it was created by watching SJW CRINGE COMPILATION VOL 15 on Youtube. This is why I have to call out other lefies when I feel that they’re being ridiculous, this shit drives normies into the right’s open arms, no psy-ops needed.
    Another thing that bothers me about this idea is that I can’t really see how “South Park contributes to anti-left sentiments” is all that different from “heavy metal contributes to violence and aggression”.

    It doesn’t help that there is so much ridiculous shit littering our current media discourse. When I read current reviews or discussion of movies/literature, I often get the impression that these people not only have trouble understanding basic concepts like “depiction does not equal endorsement”, they have trouble with seperating fiction from reality at all. Others seem to believe that you can actually make the world a more equal place just by watching enough movies directed by women. People have lost faith in governments and society in general, the only thing left to believe in is media consumption. Therefore, media most be 100% ideologically pure, an endless exercise in preaching to the choir.

  74. I went into this with an intentional attitude of ‘I love trashy slasher sequels and I will accept that TCM has been like this for 30 years.’ It worked for the first 30 minutes or so but the movie just honestly starts to drag and it lost me. I’ve been spending years talking about how the screenwriter on Leatherface changed his mind about having a scene where 30 people get chainsawed, and what a missed opportunity that was, and this movie really had me admitting to the people I was watching it with that, actually, it turns out that 30 people getting chainsawed is not an inherently awesome cinematic experience.

    Politically I really just think the movie is too dopy to take seriously. It has the feel of when you see a family member you don’t see much and they vaguely try to make a joke about wokeness or cancel culture but it’s clear they don’t really grasp the concept or even care very much and you just go, ‘Yeah bro, it sucks to be canceled,’ and move the conversation along. The TCM-Vietnam war stuff is like, horror movie 101 at this point and it seems clear that the school shooting bit is gesturing in that direction going, ‘Is this anything?’ There isn’t even any kind of actual throughline when she picks up a gun at the end of the movie. I think they might have honestly been going for a bit of like, student-activist satire but no one involved could summon up enough venom to make it land.

    This is obligatory at this point but, wow do I continue to not understand why you would make a TCM movie without a dinner scene.

    My favorite part of this one was the younger sister coming out of the mechanic’s bathroom smoking a cigarette. It was unexpected enough to get a startled laugh out of me and probably the only actually compelling character moment in the movie

  75. CJ, I think fighting bad speech with more speech is working out better than your realize and better than the alternatives, and I honestly don’t really follow your logic or what argument you are marking. My contention: This movie is fine, it is not as right-wing as you are implying, it is not even Nazi-adjacent-adjacent. I think there will always be stupid people and bad ideas and bad ideologues, and there will always be people who make the argument that certain people should be de-platformed or marginalized because of their dangerous ideas. This was very much the argument made about NWA and the like: That they glorify violence, misogyny, substance abuse, deviance, and feed into racial stereotypes and bad role modeling. I still think NWA deserved their platform, not on the grounds that they are good and Joe Rogan (or SOUTH PARK or TCM 2022) is bad, but on the grounds that speech is not the same as action, speech should be free and diverse, and we should trust in the democratic ideal of educating people and engaging in spirited debate and discourse and then letting people make up their own minds. Not because this always leads everyone to come to the right conclusions, but because it is the better way of life than the alternative, which is letting authorities decide what speech is safe and dangerous and then creating a culture that supports the persecution or demonization of speech. That may be a slippery slope argument, but the reaction to this mostly politically innocuous film as dangerous coded propaganda that serves as a purity test of liberal bona fides illustrates the insidious effect of adopting lower and lower and more and more abstract standards for categorizing something as offensive, dangerous, or whatever.

  76. “ What does it take to change the essence of a comments section?”

    That’s a great question Franchise Fred. Everyone needs to stop trying so hard to WIN. This isn’t about persuading people to admit your opinion is the correct one. Have discussions, not arguments. You can be passionate and still be respectful of other people’s opinions.

    Everyone here has shown their ability to be thoughtful and funny and invested in the kind of films Vern and all of us love. Please don’t turn this place into every other comment section on the internet.

  77. Majestyk – You don’t need to apologize but if you insist on it then I accept your apology. I appreciate your non-promise and I’m glad you understand that I want you to be here and to be you even if that’s standing on the corner with a sign that says “THE END IS NIGH.” I just want to be honest about where I’m at because I seem to be being argumentative in the comments and I don’t want to be like that. I wish something in this world could make you feel less apocalyptic, but I guess if it did it wouldn’t be as exciting when things come along that you actually are over the moon for. Like Mikey from Life Cereal.

  78. Thank you everybody, I appreciate everyone being so nice and thoughtful. I hope you know I’m not asking anybody to censor themselves or not tell me why they hate the stupid movies I like. Just sometimes let’s talk about, like, the movie that we think did this sort of thing way better or something. Let’s have a positive attitude about something, if not the particular movie I’m reviewing. When possible. Thanks for letting me air my emotions, I am a modern sensitive man like Alan Alda.

  79. “What does it take to change the essence of a comments section?”

    Grading on the curve, this continues to be the benchmark in generally civil and constructive commentary and, for me at least, is a genuine community of sorts. I would say that Vern’s politics and ultimate desire to be somewhat vulnerable and constructive in engaging humanity and the world is a big part of that. The energy trickles down. And I appreciate the honesty that both negativity and positivity can feed-back upward, too. You can have vicious or virtuous cycles.

    In some tension with what I said above, other people’s speech *does* impact me and my feelings and things, but in the long-run, it’s my choice to engage with that, and I think it ultimately will make me better and make life richer. And I think it is good to be able to tell someone or a community if the energy is becoming a bummer, because then you know, and that communication is a good sign, because the alternative is passive-aggression or aggression aggression and just a simmering stew of building resentment.

    For my part, I very much appreciate CJ’s and psychic_hits’s points of view and engagement, to name just a few. I hope it is safe to disagree and evolve / workshop one’s views in real-time, which is how I approach it. I know I have and probably am saying things that will make future me cringe, but that is just being human and evolving and being willing to express one’s thoughts, even if they are somewhat half-baked. I benefit from the support and also the pushback, and it is good to have a mix of those.

    In conclusion, fuck all you Nazis.

  80. Majestyk, I want you to know that you’re the man. At this point I consider you Vern’s co-host, the curmudgeonly Siskel to his easygoing Ebert.

    At worst, your brilliantly witty writing makes the “I’m contributing to this discussion only to say I would never watch this movie and/or am disgusted that it exists” tirades palatable.

    At best, your articulate appreciation for crazy movies makes this place even more fun than usual.

    So don’t go nowhere. Stick around.

  81. I would also like to say that I hope Majestyk didn’t walk away feeling bad about this, mostly because I feel like in this case I was the one guilty of bringing the mood down, not him.

  82. So I stepped out to the store real quick, what did I miss?

  83. Hey guys. Thanks for the encouragement. I’m doing fine and have not skulked away to feel bad about myself or anything. Just trying to do what I said I would and not post unless I have something either positive or at least constructive to say. If I’ve been quiet, it’s because Vern choosing a Haneke film so soon after The Great Commenter Intervention Of 2022 was either bait or a test of will, one that I very narrowly passed. (Also it’s been way too long for me to have anything substantive to say about THE TOXIC AVENGER, a classic I sadly have no sleepover stories to tell about because my friends were lame and would probably want to watch POLICE ACADEMY or some shit.)

    And just so nobody is too worried about my general mental state, I want to assure you all that, despite all appearances, I’m doing better right now than I have in years. I got a job I like that leaves me plenty of time to right, and I’m about 300 pages into the craziest and most ambitious novel of my life. I’m keeping my head down and being my most Majestyk self. So while the doom and gloom is always lurking just below the surface with me, it does not rule me 24/7. I have joys in my life that have little to do with the state of contemporary filmed entertainment. I wish the same for all of you, the group of people on the internet I hate least of all.

  84. *write

    Somebody fucking kill me.

  85. In the spirit of being positive on here, can I say that “plenty of time to right” just made my fucking day?

  86. Plenty of time to write. No time to proofread.

  87. Write on, man.

  88. Misspellings are probly okay on this websight.

  89. I would say that I don’t see Vern as a critic in the sense of “here’s whether you should go see The King’s Man or not”–he rarely reviews a current release, and when he does it’s already such a big deal that most everyone has made up their minds on whether to see it or not–but as a critic in the sense of “here’s an essay about a movie I watched, with the assumption that you’ve either already seen it or you’re not going to see it and just want to read a well-written critique.”

    If he raves about a film or makes it sound relevant to my interests, I’ll give it a shot–and if it’s on my watchlist, I’ll bump it to the top so I can get in on the discussion. Which I suppose is just a long-winded way of saying this place would lose a bit of its charm if it went from reviewing straight-to-DVD Riddick spin-offs from 2007 to giving a yay or nay on seeing The Batman. I can get that anywhere. I come here for the boutique shit, even if I have to give it a grain of salt.

    And if we’re getting, like, Nazi-level political–every time I see Vern tween about Kyle Rittenhouse, I kinda want him to tell me what he thinks happened that day with the provision that I get a nickel for everything I can prove wrong.

    Trust me, this is not a hill the Left wants to die on.

  90. Thank you for the first part Kaplan and as for the other part I’m gonna try to forget you said that but it’s going to be difficult.

  91. I think all of Verns readers including myself are going to see what we want to if it strikes us as interesting. We just really like reading his take on whatever movie that happens to be. I guess you’re commenting his Twitter posts? I don’t know.

  92. I think all of Verns readers including myself are going to see what we want to if it strikes us as interesting. We just really like reading his take on whatever movie that happens to be.

  93. Sorry about the double post.

  94. He was responding to me venting about an enraging current event on Twitter that he apparently disagrees with me on, and I really don’t want to talk or think about it anymore, especially here. This is a land of peace and chainsaws now.

  95. Strange, this one. Extremely disjointed and chaotic, and you can immediately tell that it cannibalizes parts of at least two scripts, and that several of its sections were killed and revived in reshoots. It’s particularly obvious that the mechanic (the most likeable character, and either the sole likeable one in this, or one of the two, alongside “Final Girl”) was supposed to be more prominent and probably end up differently.

    On the other hand, it does not come across as a completely soulless piece of empty trash (compare Bay’s imbecilic 2003 and 2006 ones for that), and it has a few genuinely decent scenes. It’s certainly not a good film, but it’s also not atrocious (again, see Bay), and it is probably the most watchable Chainsaw since “Leatherface” (the real one, from 1990, not the 2017 carbuncle) and the bizarrely glorious oddity that was “The Next Generation”.

    By the way, for a film that ignores the sequels, it was surprising to see that Bubba looked 100% like an aged version of Randal Mihailoff’s portrayal from “Leatherface”. The same hair (just whiter), the same clothes, the same boots… His Droopy Dog mask was awful, though; it was not as idiotic as Bay’s 2003 rag, of course (nothing is), but it was a very shoddy take.

  96. This comments section took the hardest left turn o any I can remember. I did not expect this 70 minute film to stir such commentary.
    I love the people who post here and of course, we all have one thing in common. We love Vern’s writing.
    Keep it up everybody. You won’t see 100 posts on the Roma review, which is why we come here.

  97. Just want to say sorry for the way I’ve conducted myself here, now and in the past. I don’t mean to drop in and stir shit and then disappear, but that’s what I always feel like I do by accident. Real life is defeating me enough these days that I don’t need to go rocking the one online boat I attempt to engage on. This community and the positivity that Vern strives to put out into the digital ether do make a difference; of that, I am certain. I’ll be more thoughtful before I post in the future.

  98. I suppose Michael Bay is the de-facto whipping boy for grievances directed at soulless/vacuous/empty/trashy (insert pejorative of choice) movies in spite of him not directing them. I am not a fan of the 2003 or 2006 TCM versions but Marcus Nispel directed the former and Jonathan Liebesman the latter and I don’t see their names called out for accountability, unless of course the general consensus is they were mere Ring Wraiths to Bay’s Sauron. But Nispel also directed a mediocre Conan Reboot and an even more mediocre Friday the 13th one not to mention fumbled an earlier Karl Urban Viking actioner called The Pathfinder, while Liebesman went on to do the Ninja Turtles reboot and a horror flick called Darkness Falls that was so soporific I can’t remember a single minute of it. So I’d say they deserve some of that mud splatter as well.

  99. I won’t say which ones but there were two different directors of Platinum Dunes movies that emailed me saying they somewhat agreed with my negative reviews! That was very unusual. Not to say they don’t deserve blame/credit for the movies but these two both felt they didn’t have much freedom to do them the way they wanted.

  100. The thing with people associating Michael Bay with that certain kind of horror remakes, is that his name and finger prints are all over them. They were even marketed as MICHAEL BAY’S (NAME OF MOVIE) and while they didn’t go full Bay in style, they looked stylish enough to give people, who were lured in with Bay’s name, at least partly what they wanted.

  101. Isn’t the problem with Platinum Dunes not Bay but Brad Fuller and Andrew Form?

  102. First, I’m just going to copy and paste my comment from the Welcome to Raccoon City thread:

    I am someone who very rarely feels like I completely wasted my time watching a movie. While I obviously have films I love, films I only like, and films I even hate (with gradients in all categories) I find things to appreciate in most films, and, often, actively enjoy movies that “the internet” has deemed terrible or unwatchable. I appreciate that Vern and I seem to be on the same wavelength most of the time. It’s refreshing to read a critic who enjoys movies.

    To that I’ll add like many of you I have been reading Vern since AICN, and have been here since the beginning over at the Geocities site even if I comment around 99% less than many of you and have quite enjoyed many of his old more scathing reviews. But, to echo what Bill Reed said I have also very much appreciated his growth as a writer and man over the decades (has is been that long?). Like I said at the time I quite enjoyed his original Friday the 13th review series at the time, but I enjoyed his new one that didn’t keep calling Jason the “R word” last year even more. Other than that a lot of Bill Reed said echoes my exact sentiments. I’ll just say end this section by saying that I’ll keep reading as long as Vern keeps not knowing what the television show Felicity was.

    As for the movie. I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it. I appreciated how short and fast it was. However, we are left with the fact that still nobody except Hooper has made a great Chainsaw, but this one was better than most. I will say though, that I am the person who Vern described, in that, while I can recognize that this movie is probably better made I do overall prefer the ridiculousness of the “Do your thing, cuz” TCM. Also, as an aside the wife and I just watched Single Parents on Hulu and the actress who plays Melody plays a character who is an exact parody of the type of the millennial, avocado toast eating blah blah blah stereotype and her wardrobe in this film is pretty much an exact duplicate of what she wore on the show.

    I did really like the wrist bone thing, the origin of the new mask, and the chainsaw through the floor bit. I did not like Richter. To sum up I’d give it like a C+. I’m not sorry I watched it, but I’ll probably never watch it again. The end.

  103. The movie is… very silly. It’s like someone heard an internet forum asking for a cheap, 90 minute, direct-to-DVD Friday the 13th movie that’s just more Jason doing his thing… only they don’t have the rights to Jason, so they turn Leatherface into Jason with a chainsaw. It substitutes name-dropping big ideas for having subtext (yes, I’m sure many Deep South gas station attendants would be aware of, and call out, gentrification, AND that’s the best word to describe buying out a ghost town where three people live, AND one of those people is a young, physically fit mechanic running a profitable business from that ghost town in the middle of nowhere… AND that buying a ghost town is not only a thing millennials do, but something that’s so on-brand for them that it’s going to be treated as a normal thing to castigate millennials for) and edgy shock value for being provocative.

    In its defense, I’m sure the makers of Friday the 13th Part 3 weren’t trying to make a timeless work of cinema either, so if your argument is that this TCM is no better or worse than your average Jamie Lee Curtis-less Halloween… fine. But I still think this one’s almost offensive in the lack of thought or effort put into it. The Sally storyline is a baldfaced rip-off of Halloween H40, only they have Sally state out loud the ‘subversion’ (which is exactly the same as in H40) and they stage it so she spends ten minutes about-to-killing her arch-nemesis, not that it matters, since this seventy-year-old man is bulletproof. And can also forget he has a limp when he needs to.

    I just think they could’ve come up with a slightly better reason for these evil rich millennial big-city influencer liberal school shooter survivors to want to gentrify an empty town. Or if they want Richter to have hidden depths, they could write the character as behaving consistently and revealing those depths instead of acting like an asshole one minute and then being nice the other. Maybe they could’ve explained how and why Leatherface is staying at an orphanage instead of treating what this character has been doing for fifty years as a complete afterthought. Anything, ANYTHING to keep this from feeling like a movie for horror fans who will eat up whatever so long as it says Texas Chainsaw Massacre on the box and some folks get chainsawed good.

  104. [visual-parse url=”https://bloody-disgusting.com/exclusives/3705857/leatherface-stephen-susco-and-james-wan-tear-into-the-chain-saw-sequel-trilogy-that-almost-was-exclusive/

    Speaking of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Saw guys almost made a trilogy. Would you believe it gives all the characters an insanely convoluted backstory?

  105. Blackie Lawless

    March 10th, 2022 at 6:31 am

    ^- I don’t buy that “Saw trilogy” for a second. Every time a film generates unexpected profits that lead to sequels, you will hear dolts immediately shouting how they “always intended to make it a trilogy/pentalogy/dodecology”.

    One of the more hilarious examples were the Wachowskis claiming that they “always intended the Matrix to be a trilogy”. I’m sure that now they’re saying that they “always intended the Matrix to be a tetralogy”.

    The same goes for any Hollywood twat saying: “I’ve ALWAYS wanted X for the role/the music/the catering service” about anyone employed in any position on any film.

  106. The Wachowskis sold THE MATRIX as a potential trilogy. It’s just that the first one was painstakingly storyboarded shot for shot and the other two were some ideas they had. Nothing unusual or wrong with that, that’s usually what is meant when people say they planned something as a trilogy, isn’t it?

  107. In case anyone’s wondering what Leatherface has been up to lately, he showed up at a pro wrestling show to cost Jeff Hardy the Leatherface Belt. As one does.


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