NEW TO NETFLIX! Desecration gets a new face in director David Blue Garcia’s insipid Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Pretending to be a direct sequel 50 years after the original, we are transported to the mythical Texas ghost town, Harlow. It is somewhere outside of Austin and is supposedly where the chainsaw murders happened in the 1970s. The local gas station owner, Herb (Sam Douglas), sells chainsaw souvenirs and t-shirts, but the town has fallen into ruin with boarded-up storefronts. So talented young people with resources, who, back in the day, we called Yuppie Scum, bought up all the downtown buildings to auction off to other Yuppie Scum.
Melody (Sarah Yarkin), Lila (Elsie Fisher), Dante (Jacob Latimore), and Ruth (Nell Hudson) arrive ahead of the party bus of investors to set things up. They immediately start butting heads with the locals, especially Richter (Moe Dunford), a gun-toting redneck sporting two coats of dried sweat and a truck. Lila is uneasy around guns, as she’s a school shooting survivor. They also encounter Mrs. Mc (Alice Krige), the demented owner of the closed orphanage who claims still to own it. When Dante and Melody try to get her to leave, she throws a conniption fit and collapses. That is when the last resident of the orphanage shows up.
“Sally became a Texas Ranger and has devoted her life to hunting down Leatherface.”
Apparently, Leatherface (Mark Burnham) has been hiding in the town orphanage for 50 years and, for some reason, hasn’t been adopted yet. The police and Leatherface carry Mrs. Mc off in an ambulance, with Ruth riding along for some reason. On the way to the hospital, Mrs. Mc dies. So Leatherface murders almost everyone inside, and the ambulance crashes. Ruth, still alive, sees Leatherface peel off the old lady’s face and wear it. Ruth calls for help on the police radio before the slasher closes in. Herb hears her pleas and calls Sally (Olwen Fouere), the survivor of the original attack. Sally became a Texas Ranger and has devoted her life to hunting down Leatherface. So Sally descends upon Harlow while Leatherface gets to sawing. Expect lots of running around and screaming.
The original 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a high mountain in my pop culture landscape. Tobe Hooper’s work looks more and more like a hippie art movie every time I watch it. My high score on the Atari video game adaptation is 25, meaning I was able to cut up that many victims before my chainsaw ran out of gas. So how does the “direct sequel” shape up? First off, as someone who used to live there, Austin, Texas, does not look like the dust bowl. Not everything is wilted, rusty, or beige. The hill country around Austin is lush and green, not plastered in sand. While it is impressive that Garcia and his crew could disguise Bulgaria as Texas, they needed to turn down the Yosemite Sam effect on the art direction.
Also, hate to break it to you, but the highest bidders have already snatched up every square inch of property for hundreds of miles surrounding Austin. I understand the world imagines all of Texas to look like an abandoned desert gas station in Needles, California. It doesn’t, so please stop it.
"…avoids innovation in order to jump into as many cow-pies as it can find."