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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) is a controversial and brilliant attack on American values and decency – a true staple of the horror genre. To hear The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) explained and described is also going to be quite controversial… for how ignorantly it treats its original source material.

Now if you want to read a negative review of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) then here you go good-bye and thanks for joining us!

But if you want to take a deep dive into why the film wasn’t great and what it did actually do well, and of course, THAT last scene, then, my friend, stick around.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) Explained

Usually at this point I would give a little synopsis of what the film is about. And, in this case, little is the key word.

A group of “gentry-fucks” from Austin buy up the town of Harlow in a quasi-attempt at shoe horning in the decline of the American economy post-2008, and are auctioning it off as a Disney-landesque opportunity to sell 15 dollar coffees and get pictures for the ‘gram. Think Paris for Hipsters and Gen-Z. Upon entering an orphanage they may or may not own, they find a sickly woman who they decide to chuck out onto the street for trespassing/ Her health declines, and her ‘boy’ – a hulking shadow at the top of the stairs (yes, Leatherface) – begins to take revenge on the pretentious influencers. It’s a good ‘ole massacre, ye hear!

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What The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) Gets Right

Well, not a lot, but some things.

First things first, the killings? Forgeddabout it! Absolutely incredible from the first to the last.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022 explained

An absolute smorgasbord of unique and fabulous kills that would make Ed Gein tremble (read about the inspiration behind the original here! The true story: The True Story That Inspired Texas Chainsaw Massacre and here’s a list of the nine best kills: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022): 9 Best Kills In The Movie, Ranked. Truly, if unadulterated violence is your thing, then here you go, this is the film for you.

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The subtext of the film is also great, as detailed here: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022).

Richard Scheib makes a fantastic comparison between the original group of kids in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) being children of the Flower Power movement and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)’s group being a modern version of this subculture – eco-capitalists. In both, traditional values clash against contemporary ones with a bloody reckoning that leaves modern values scarred, but ultimately victorious. With our Final Girl triumphing over Leatherface and escaping to rain down holy hell with the full weight of the law.

Which brings me to my next topic…

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The Laurie Strode Problem

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) is an obvious production of the Halloween reboot’s success. Yet with one key difference, no Laurie Strode.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) had Sally Hardesty, but neither in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) or its sequels, was she built up as a character strong enough to deserve, or even frame, an entire series to come back around.

For one, Laurie knew where Michael was (locked up), yet in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) Sally Hardesty (now an officer of the law) is said to have been hunting Leatherface for fifty years, yet she never looked in the orphanage where numerous kids would have seen a great brute of a man with a penchant for hacking at the Thanksgiving turkey with a little too much enthusiasm? I mean, ca’maaaannn.

It sets Sarah up to be useless at best and incompetent at worst (yes, I know they are the same, that’s the joke, d’uh!). And does little for her to earn her whole “Say my name,” spiel as she faces off against Leatherface.

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And here, I posit, lies why this film is so hated. Not simply because the protagonists are immensely unlikable as ‘oh woe is me’ types with the kick off event of the film (the investors) being a ferociously unlikable motive, but because none of the film feels earned. It comes off as a flashy exercise at the shallow end of a wave of great requels, yet one that completely dismisses why The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) was so good in the first place. Leatherface.

Far be it from me to dictate to Hollywood, but in this little horror lover’s opinion, this film would have been better as a cat and mouse game between Sally and Leatherface spanning those missing fifty years, with Sally claiming a series of differing murders as that of Leatherface and her fellow officers dismissing her as a crazy old lunatic still struggling to deal with the PTSD of that fateful summer day in 1974.

Last Updated on March 14, 2022.

Conner McAleese
Conner McAleese is a current PhD student at the University of Dundee studying 'spaces' in contemporary horror. His debut novel, The Goose Mistress, was published in 2018 by Dark Ink Press and details Eva Braun's experience of World War Two. McAleese now considers himself a horror writer and has had his short stories published in Blood Rites Magazine and Haunting Voices among others. He looks to the 'disturbing' for inspiration, hoping to academically push back the last taboos in literature to analyse what they represent for today's cultural fears and anxieties. However, he hopes to balance this with a satisfying and long career in horror writing. He currently lives in Dundee and is working on his first horror novel.

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