Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)


David Blue Garcia


Sarah Yarkin - Melody

Elsie Fisher - Lila

Moe Dunford - Richter

Neil Hudson - Ruth

Jessica Allain- Catherine

Olwen Fouere - Sally Hardesty

Mark Burnham - Leatherface

Genre - Horror/Slasher

Running Time - 83 Minutes


After nearly 50 years of hiding, Leatherface (Mark Burnham) returns to terrorize a group of idealistic young friends who accidentally disrupt his carefully shielded world in a remote Texas town.


The TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE series has long been a troubled one for close to 50 years now. The original 1974 movie is a time capsule of terror that still manages to be extremely effective all these years later, making one know that anything that follows it would just come up short whether it’s of good quality or not. While some of the sequels and even the remake have memorable moments that horror fans still talk about today, none of them have quite matched the impact of Tobe Hooper’s immortal horror classic - no matter if Matthew McConaughey’s mechanical leg or Alexandria Dadarrio’s “Do
your thing, cuz," cracks us up for unintentional purposes.

But here we are in 2022, and Netflix has attempted to bring us another reboot of this horror franchise for millions of their subscribers. Hey, it worked for HALLOWEEN and SCREAM right? Putting Leatherface against a newer generation of horror characters, while having the film’s original Final Girl want revenge for the tragic fates of her friends seems like a winning horror formula these days. The problem is both HALLOWEEN and SCREAM knew how to handle their Legacy Characters for the most part, while maintaining strong quality for their respective movies. TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE’s lack of a strong story and likable characters ruins any good will this movie is trying to pull off, despite having strengths in all other aspects of the film.

Let’s get the good stuff out of the way. For the first time in a while, I think the franchise finally lives up to its title. The movie takes place in Texas. There’s definitely a chainsaw being used in the film. And when it comes to a massacre, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE ‘22 goes all out. For those who love blood and gore in their horror movies, this film will definitely satisfy that lust. It’s rare for a slasher film to make my jaw drop with death sequences, since I’ve seen so many of them get repeated over the years. But there are a lot of great kills in this movie, making these sequences the only real reason to watch this flick. Decapitations, limb amputations, face cutting, knife and gun play and of course a person getting chainsawed through their body happen in this movie. I also thought the ending was very clever and a nice twist to the ending of the first film. The film doesn’t shy away from the violence at all, which makes up for the lack of other things that ruin this sequel. 

I also thought the film looked really nice, with interesting shots that were memorable and inspired. David Blue Garcia, mainly known as a cinematographer, took over for original directors Ryan and Andy Tohill in visualizing this new installment of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE after creative differences occurred. And due to his strength in photography, this horror film looks pretty polished and great. I know viewers made fun of Leatherface popping up in that sunflower field, but I think it’s a beautiful shot within such an ugly horror movie. And while the film is never scary, I thought some moments within the film’s final act had decent tension and good action. That bus sequence, in particular, will probably be a horror highlight for 2022 for better or worse.

And while I had an issue with the characters, I didn’t hate the acting. I don’t think anyone really stood out and wow’d me, but they all played their roles well. The script was so meh, so I’m surprised the cast made the most of what they were given, which wasn’t much.

And that’s what really ruins TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE ‘22 for me - the bad screenplay and lack of a story I could somewhat connect with. I honestly didn’t care about any of the characters here and that includes both Sally Hardesty and Leatherface. Besides maybe Lila and Ritcher, the rest of the characters were so unlikable and annoying that I was hoping Leatherface did his thing sooner than later. I saw some defending the unlikable characters due to the fact that they were rich influencers who only cared about buying property rather than acting human. That’s a problem in itself because you’re telling me all of these influencers were that selfish and stupid enough to take footage of a chainsaw killer stepping onto a bus rather than calling for help or running away? I guess it could be possible in this day and age, but that shouldn’t excuse bad writing. Influencers, whether unlikable or not, should have some depth to them. The last thing I would expect any of them to do is tell a dangerous person that they’re being filmed for the purpose of getting canceled in society. That’s not good writing. That’s lazy writing. I get that they’re around for a body count, but give them some personality at least.

also shows us how not to bring back a Legacy Character. I get that it’s the new trend for these reboot/sequels, where you take a popular character or two from a brand franchise and bring them back to somewhat pass the torch to newer characters while continuing their respective story. It worked for Laurie Strode in HALLOWEEN (2018). It worked for Sydney Prescott and company in 2022’s SCREAM. And it’ll probably work for the upcoming EXORCIST trilogy with Chris McNeil’s return. It should have worked with Sally Hardesty’s return, considering it’s believable she would want revenge on Leatherface over what happened to her and her friends almost fifty years ago. She should have been more of a focal character, involving herself more with the newer characters to build upon the legend of Leatherface through their past history. Instead, Sally is barely in the movie, barely interacts with any of the main characters and gets treated like an idiot before the movie’s end. After all was said and done, I kept wondering why the character was even in the film to begin with. I can’t believe this film totally wasted a popular character like Sally.

And as with the case with modern horror films, there is a bit of what people would consider a “wokeness” factor that will either invite or turn away audiences. Some films do it right, letting the story accentuate the message the movie is trying to tell. Others are so driven by the commentary that they forget they’re trying to entertain audiences with a horror movie. TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is kind of in the middle. The infamous bus scene where influencers threaten to cancel Leatherface if he attempts to hurt them is just so ridiculous and stupid that I’m not sure if the comedy is unintentional or not. The other main angle involves the character of Lila, as she’s a victim of a school shooting and it’s brought up a few times whenever she sees a gun or is in the middle of Leatherface’s carnage. I saw some complaints about this aspect of her character, but I didn’t mind. For one, the film does a decent job displaying her PTSD over certain situations, making this part of her character feel authentic to her. And honestly, I’m just glad someone got a character arc in this film. Her handling a gun at the end of the film is a bit odd, considering the message, but at least she had some depth. I can’t really say that about many of the other characters.


It’s interesting to see where audiences lie with 2022’s TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Many love it. Others hate it. I personally landed right in the middle with this movie. It has some really great gore and death sequences, with some actually making my jaw drop in how well executed they were. The cinematography is really beautiful in this film and I thought there were moments of genuine tension. The actors were also okay, as I don’t think anyone had a terrible performance. Unfortunately, these things become hurt by a terrible screenplay that doesn’t do a whole lot to keep audiences invested. Besides maybe one or two characters, nobody in this film has any depth or any reason for us to care about them. The use of a returning Legacy Character is a total waste and probably should have been left on the cutting room floor since it wouldn’t have changed much of anything. And I thought certain occasions of what some would call “wokeness” worked, while others were so terribly used that I’m still wondering whether these moments were supposed to be funny on purpose. While a disappointment, it’s still not the worst film in the series. And you know me - I’ll keep watching future installments as long as producers continue to chainsaw them out. 

2 Howls Outta 4
(5 out of 10)


Lunar Cycle - January 2022

Since I don’t have as much time to write longer reviews than I used to, I figured I would just post shorter reviews for horror/cult films that I feel deserve your attention.

Directed By: Danishka Esterhazy

Starring: Hannah Gonera, Frances Sholto-Douglas, Mila Rayne, Alex McGregor, Reze-Tiana Wessels, Rob van Vuuren, Jennifer Steyn, Schelaine Bennett

Genre: Horror/Slasher

Runtime: 86 Minutes

SCORE - 3 Howls Outta 4 (7 out of 10)

Plot: Dana, daughter of the only survivor of a massacre in 1993, is going on a weekend trip with her friends. After their car breaks down in the very same town where her mother once fought the Driller Killer, Dana and her friends must come face-to-face with the man who has haunted her mother’s life for the past 30 years.


Despite me being skeptical due to its October premiere on SyFy, the 2021 remake of the popular 1982 slasher THE SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE is a good time from beginning to end. Telling the familiar story of the original between two generations of girls [the 1990s and the present day], female filmmakers Danishka Esterhazy and Suzanne Keilly bring the terror of Russ Thorn back to the forefront for a newer generation. This means more of a slight focus on social commentaries on toxic masculinity and women taking charge instead of playing the victims. However, unlike with 2019’s BLACK CHRISTMAS, the message never overtakes the slasher premise, with the film poking fun at the “wokeness” of its commentary to give depth to both the female and male characters involved. The final act does become Slasher 101, with the characters suddenly becoming stupid and almost helpless, to the point where it almost derails the message the film was providing for the first two-thirds. But thanks to a mid-film twist that I didn’t expect at all, SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (2021) manages to stand apart from the other films in the series.

The film is also helped by solid direction by Esterhazy, who doesn’t shy away from gory drill deaths, including an inventive one involving a drill and a guitar string that mutilates a victim’s face. The pacing is strong, the movie looks polished, and the tone and homages to the first two films in the franchise are welcoming. All the actors do well, adding as much depth to their archetypal characters as they could. I just found this remake to be a pleasant surprise and worth anyone’s time who is looking for a decent and modern slasher flick that does a whole lot right and embraces what it is without any shame.

Directed By:
Edward Drake 

Starring: Bruce Willis, Frank Grillo, Costas Mandylor, Adelaide Kane, Lochlyn Munro, Johnny Messner, CJ Perry, Brandon Thomas Lee, Eva De Dominci, Trevor Gretzky

Genre: Adventure/Action/Science Fiction/Aliens

Runtime: 88 Minutes

SCORE - 0.5 Howls Outta 4 (2 out of 10)

Plot: In the year 2524, four centuries after humans started colonizing the outer planets, retired General James Ford gets called back into service when a hostile alien fleet attacks soldiers on a remote planet. The threat against mankind soon escalates into an interstellar war as Ford and a team of elite soldiers try to stop the imminent attack before it’s too late.


At least it has the perfect title to describe this awful movie. 

Bruce, what the F happened to your career??

COSMIC SIN started off okay - like a live-action Halo or Gears of War with interesting lore and action that reminded me of DOOM or Paul W.S. Anderson’s RESIDENT EVIL series. A war between humans and aliens, aliens infecting humans and possessing them, and raising the stakes as characters get killed or infected by one-by-one creates a bit of intrigue during the film’s first act, making me think that maybe all the negativity against COSMIC SIN may be a bit unwarranted.

Then, I watched the rest of the film. Boring, uninspired scenes of people spouting dialogue without much action, and then a pretty silly and predictable final act with cheap special effects that make me wish I was watching ARMAGEDDON, INDEPENDENCE DAY or watching someone play Halo or Gears of War [which would be more entertaining than watching this]. There’s shaky cam throughout for some unknown reason and it’s grating. Some of the actors try to make the movie good [Frank Grillo deserves better and Brandon Thomas Lee has potential in the business], while Bruce Willis proves he’s only doing movies for the paycheck now as he sleepwalks through the film. The action isn’t all that exciting when it happens and the creature designs are barely explored, probably due to a small budget. COSMIC SIN is an ambitious project without anything in the production coming close to matching that ambition. For a 90 minute sci-fi/action movie, it should not feel twice as long. If it wasn’t for HOME SWEET HOME ALONE, this would have been 2021’s worst film of the year for me.

Directed By: Christopher Landon

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton, Celeste O’Connor, Misha Osherovich, Uriah Shelton, Dana Drori, Katie Finneran, Melissa Collazo, Alan Ruck

Genre: Horror/Comedy/Thriller/Fantasy/Slashers

Running Time: 102 Minutes

SCORE - 3 Howls Outta 4 (7 out of 10)

Plot: A mystical, ancient dagger causes a notorious serial killer to magically switch bodies with a 17-year-old girl.


A mash-up of FREAKY FRIDAY and FRIDAY THE 13TH, 2020’s FREAKY is a fun time if you like horror-comedies with more laughs than scares. The body swap aspect to a standard slasher formula elevates Christopher Landon’s movie and separates it from his more popular works [the HAPPY DEATH DAY series]. It allows the lead actors [Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton] to have fun playing one another - with Vaughn going from a silent and menacing killer to a confused teenage girl finding herself, while Newton does the opposite. Vaughn, in particular, is fantastic in how he changes his persona and seems to be having fun playing a young girl trapped in a man’s body. I also enjoyed Misha Osherovich as best friend Josh, who provides a lot of the sassy, comic relief.

Christopher Landon directs a polished and well paced movie, while visualizing some cool death sequences - like a champagne bottle being forced down someone’s throat before it breaks through said throat, or a buzzsaw demise that slices a victim vertically in a great effect. It’s never the goriest film out there, but there is enough murder to satisfy slasher fans looking for cool death effects.

What brings the film down are some story elements, like not enough character development for either of the leads prior to the switch. There’s also a mother-daughter subplot involving grief, alcoholism and fear of abandonment that doesn’t get enough time devoted to it to make its resolution mean much. And the last part of the film feels a bit tacked on, despite a nice portrayal of female empowerment for the victims.

FREAKY isn’t as good as the HAPPY DEATH DAY films, but it’s still a fun ride from beginning to end that pleases both the slasher fan and comedy fan in me. It has enough laughs, cool death scenes and game actors to make this worthwhile for anyone looking to swap an old horror classic for something new.

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