Leatherface is Back But You’ll Still Miss Him At The End
Leatherface Film Details
Based on characters created by
Screenplay: Seth M. Sherwood
Release Date: October 20thRelease
Release Format: VOD, Selected Theaters
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 90 min
A teenage Leatherface escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnapping a young nurse and taking her on a road trip from hell while being pursued by an equally deranged lawman out for revenge.
Who doesn’t want another Texas Chainsaw Massacre film? We love Leatherface. His grizzly manners, his passion for sewing, his unnatural murder family and their gruesome deaths. When I heard French duo Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury would direct, I was ecstatic. I love their filmography especially À L’Interieur (Inside). That film still brings me some of the darkest memories. I loved how they went so far with the intensity of the scenes and how they direct their cast. They are the newest directors having a raw vision of bringing back the art to the horror genre.
Leatherface is a fresh new take on the Sawyer family and Leatherface’s beginning. Here we have a new cast and new characters involved but less fire from the classic. Yes, the name is on the title and we expect him (the monster, not the person) from start to finish, but well… since it’s a prequel… How could I have expected that? Yes, I was mildly disappointed. I think I’m not a fan of prequels.
Stephen Dorff ..Texas Ranger Hal Hartman
Lili Taylor …Verna Sawyer
James Bloor …Ike
Sam Strike …Jackson
Sam Coleman …Bud
Vanessa Grasse …Lizzy
Finn Jones …Deputy Sorrel
Nicole Andrews …Tammy
Leatherface is out now on DirecTV and soon on October 20th on VOD platforms.
2. First Impressions:
Being in hype waiting for a new film of this franchise to come out isn’t the best idea ever. I’m glad there are new stories for this franchise and that new ideas come from fresh minds and perspectives, so it’s difficult to say what’s good or bad in a film that new things are happening while you discover the birth of Leatherface. What I’ll say though is what I felt as a fan of the original and the remake (yes, I enjoyed very much Jessica Biel’s performance). I was disappointed. I wanted more Leatherface. I wanted more deaths, and I wanted a slasher film. Sherwood opted for a different take and the directors gave us a mixture between The Devil’s Rejects from Rob Zombie with the setting and atmosphere of the classic.
The film isn’t lacking on horror or gore, one reason I love Bustillo and Maury are their fierceness of not respecting boundaries in limits of raw terror. The blood and guts are present in some scenes and the gruesome acts of the Sawyer family are present to an amazing tour-de-force.
Performance of mother Verna Sawyer is portrayed with finesse by Lili Taylor. Stephen Dorff portrays the good Texas Ranger turned anti-hero seeking revenge masterfully and you almost lose yourself thinking he might be as bad as the Sawyer family. Vanessa Grasse portrays Lizzy on point as the final girl and even though the little chase scene, her exaggerated expressions of terror were brilliant. Yes, it reminded of Sally from the original. Just a little nod.
While a big fan of the franchise I admit Leatherface works miles away better as a prequel than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. We can’t even compare the two. There is love for the franchise in Leatherface, for the incredible work for the setting, atmosphere, and dread. Yes, the atmosphere is outstanding, the decor and the rebuilding of the original farmhouse are pretty much detailed to the core. When you watch these scenes, the close-up shots with twisted angles as the family has supper, you feel right at home and the nostalgia comes along.
It feels good and I must praise Bustillo and Maury for the love. The way we first encounter with the saw, the object, how important it is the key element of the franchise is palpable here and it deserves some applause. I loved every single nostalgia-feel the film brought while I was watching it.
As a film on its own, it’s new and fresh and you feel it’s apart on the Leatherface standards as a slasher but while it’s little on the suspense and the slasher, the craziness from the classic returns – ironically – as crazy people are breaking out from hospitals, shooting people at a diner, splashing blood as they shoot with shotguns That crazy heavy tone of deranged people acting on violence is back on Leatherface but sometimes it feels like you’re watching something else, something other than the chainsaw. And when you come back to where you wanted, there are only ten minutes left from the end…
French magazine MadMovies interviewed Bustillo and Maury and in it, the directors said they had problems in the editing room. They edited a first draft of the film with almost two hours but the producers said it was too long, so they had to cut out half of the film to be by the standards of American horror. This decision is felt in the film. One problem I had with Leatherface is how quick the scenes are, you don’t have that much time to breathe at all.
In a way, it’s what you are expecting to feel through the emotional state of the film. Since it’s a raw and cruel experience to watch but this time around since it’s a background story on Leatherface, it felt like the directors had little time to create tension with the character and the final girl. This, for me, should be one priority but it was a letdown. The final act of the film is surprising though, and it has the nostalgia attached to it but all of that becomes wrapped with one chase scene that felt too quick to leave a taste in my mouth. I wanted more.
5. In Conclusion:
Sherwood and the directors spent too much time on the three mental institution characters. While we’re presented with a whole new arc, we guess who might Leatherface be between the deranged teens and then a twist happens and you keep going with it but while you are figuring everything out, the story comes to an end. So we come back to the editing problem and how the film feels short delivering what fans wanted from the beginning. Maybe a sequel is in the works and we get what we are hoping for? I won’t be that enthusiastic if it comes to it. I’ll try to level down my hype for the next time around.
If you’re into Rob Zombie’s deranged characters and if you love The Hills Have Eyes, you’ll want to watch Leatherface. If you’re hoping for a slasher with a background story on the titular character, you might still want to watch, at least for the last ten minutes. I won’t say you should skip everything leading till then. Even though the film disappointed me, at the same time the love I have for the franchise is back and I’m happy to say Leatherface has a lot of it.
Click for information on rating metric: 0-10 Avoid | 11-20 Mediocre | 21-30 Good | 31-40 Average | 41-50 Satisfactory | 51-60 Stunning | 61-70 Terrific | 71-80 Must See | 81-90 Amazing | 91-100 Impressive