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'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' Review: terrific Leatherface is let down by his dull victims

'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' is the ninth entry into the horror franchise, and ultimately falls flat.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre
(Image: © Netflix)

Our Verdict

Despite some impressive gory moments and an eerie central performance, 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' does little else to stand out from the mountain of other sequels.

For

  • - Mark Burnham's take on the iconic Leatherface is very good
  • - Gory set pieces take center stage (which is why you're here, let's face it!)
  • - Slasher fans have seen it all before, but it's still entertaining in places

Against

  • - The Gen Z characters are too stereotypical and unlikeable
  • - It doesn't bring anything new to the table, even though it really could have
  • - Feels like another unnecessary horror sequel that proves you can't beat the original

Texas Chainsaw Massacre has landed on Netflix, with horror fans tuning in to the latest installment in the popular franchise. The 2022 film is the ninth entry into the film series, which follows the cannibalistic Leatherface as he terrorises and kills his victims.

The very first film, styled as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, was directed by Tobe Hooper and saw Gunnar Hansen in the iconic role of Leatherface. Hooper went on to direct the supernatural horror Poltergeist and quickly made him a celebrated name in the horror genre.

Now, almost 50 years after the original, a new Leatherface reigns terror on a group of Gen Z'ers in Netflix's take on the slasher film, but despite having countless opportunities to do something different it struggles to bring anything new to the table.

In the 2022 version, we follow Melody (Sarah Yarkin), her teenage sister Lila (Elsie Fisher), and their friends Dante (Jacob Latimore) and Ruth (Neil Hudson), who are headed to the Texas town of Harlow hoping to start a business... for some reason.

They all pretty much embody the insufferable stereotypes that are associated with the current generation. All of these characters are unlikeable and although in a horror film it's inevitable that many people will meet their maker, it's nice to have someone to root for and actually have some connection with.

Instead, all these characters are oversimplified and and any scene where Leatherface isn't around doing his twisted thing feels like it drags on, as it's difficult to care about any of these people and what they're doing here. Not to mention some of the cringeworthy dialogue.

Leatherface, on the other hand, is the film's saving grace as Mark Burnham's take on the iconic serial killer is incredibly good. He plays the role with conviction and every moment he's on-screen is genuinely terrifying, as he meticulously goes about his killing spree, having no issue harming anyone that gets in his way.

His first appearance is at the top of the stairs of an orphanage, where an elderly woman (Alice Krige) refers to him as "the last of her boys" and explains he needs special care. But it's not long before his reign of terror begins because after she dies, he's back with his chainsaw and the body count starts to rise.

If you're a horror fan, you'll want some satisfying kills, and thankfully you do get them in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It's a gross-looking film and there are some wonderfully gory moments, so it definitely has that going for it. 

But aside from Leatherface's impressive murders it attempts and fails to make any sort of modern social commentary, with fleeting references to capitalism and the confederate flag which feel like they could go somewhere, but end up being filler dialogue throughout the course of the film.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

(Image credit: Netflix)

It could have gone a lot further than it did, but ultimately fell flat. Horror is known for various social commentary so it's a shame that this didn't really have anything to say.

The sole survivor of Leatherface’s original killing spree, Sally Hardesty, also returns for this film with Olwen Fouere in the role following original actress Marilyn Burns' death in 2014. In cliche film style she's traveling around with a polaroid of her murdered friends, hoping to avenge them.

It's not uncommon for final girls to return and face their adversaries, as we've seen it many times before in the likes of the Scream and Halloween franchises, so long-time fans of the Texas Chainsaw film series might welcome this showdown between two horror icons that happens during the film's climax.

Ultimately, the film does not do much to stand out among the mountain of its horror predecessors, but if you're purely in this to be entertained and watch some seriously gory kills, it could be one to watch this weekend. But you might be also better off just sticking the original film on.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre is streaming on Netflix globally.

Lucy Buglass
Lucy Buglass

Lucy joined the WhatToWatch.com team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 2016 with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.


She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story and Black Mirror, but recently she's loving everything about Apple TV's Severance