Sunday, 7 January 2018

Leatherface (2017)

There are some people that like Leatherface, the . . . . eighth instalment in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise (unless I have miscounted). Some people liked Texas Chainsaw. Some people like iced coffees. And pineapple on pizza. And these are the people that I will sit and silently glare at. Yes, ALL of them.

Once again attempting to show audiences the "birth" of Leatherface, this is arguably the tamest film yet for the franchise. There are a few good gore moments, I won't deny it, but it all lacks a certain edge, instead opting to give us a plot that's typical "criminals on the loose" fare, with the addition of an attempted rug pull so entirely predictable that it wouldn't even fool either of my two cats, even if they were watching the film while catnipped out of their tiny cat minds.

Most of the cast do a decent job, despite having such weak material to work with. The youngsters include Sam Strike, Vanessa Grasse, Sam Coleman, James Bloor, and Jessica Madsen. None of them make a very strong impression, but they're only really there so we can find out when the chainsaw was first put to good use. As for the adults, Lili Taylor does the coddling mama act just fine, Stephen Dorff is excellent as an angry lawman who might be confusing revenge with justice, and Finn Jones is present in some scenes.

Written by Seth M. Sherwood, the script is even more forgettable than so many other insipid horror vehicles from recent years. Some very minute characterisations help, and the opening and closing sequences are better than anything we have to muddle through in the middle, but it's certainly not enough to keep you caring, even for what should be quite a perfect runtime.

Sherwood at least has the excuse of inexperience, which cannot be said for the talented co-directors, Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury. Inside and Livid are two of the finest French horror movies from this first part of the 21st century. How the two decided that this project would be a good use of their time and energy is beyond me. It isn't, and their considerable talents are hidden so deep here as to be practically invisible.

Completists will watch this film. Fans who believe that "the saw is family" will watch this film. Undemanding horror fans will watch this film. But I suspect it is only the last group that will end up enjoying it. It's a below average film, hence my rating (as generous as it is), but it's a TERRIBLE Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie.


Buy Leatherface here, if you must.
Buy it here if you're in America.

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