Directed by Alexandre Bustillo (ABCs of Death 2) and Julien Maury (Inside) Leatherface is the prequel to the 1974 classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This extends the franchise to eight films. The franchise is based around the Sawyer family. A murderous, evil, sadistic family that enjoys murdering “outsiders.” The family starts their reign of terror in 1965 and has been on a rampage ever since. The film starts with a young Jedidiah Sawyer/Jackson (Sam Strike – Timeless/M.I. High) in 1955 before he turns into Leatherface.
Leatherface is the eighth film, and the beginning of all of the madness. The film is centered around Jedidiah Sawyer. He is Verna Sawyer’s (Lili Taylor – The Conjuring, The Haunted, Maze Runner: Scorch Trials) youngest child, and her prized possession. The family is trying to raise Jed to be a murderer, and he disowns his eventual fate in the first act. After Jed and his brothers murder the sheriff’s daughter though, things go downhill from there. Jed is taken away from his family, and sent to Gorman House Mental Institution. Some times when kids go to these mental institutions they get new names to protect their identity from their family. Jedidiah’s new name is Jackson.
In Gorman House it’s everything you’d expect in a mental institution from 1965. There’s shock therapy, horrible upkeep, nurses who there to help, and nurses who don’t care about the patients. There are many things wrong with the facility, it’s understaffed, and the boss, Dr. Lang (Christopher Adamson – Judge Dredd) is an evil and crooked man. Things go crazy when Verna Sawyer and her lawyer appear at Gorman House and try to get Jed back. A riot ensues and a few inmates escape with a hostage. Jed (Jackson), Ike (James Bloor – Dunkirk), Clarice (Jessica Madsen – Breathless), Bud (Sam Coleman – Game of Thrones) and kidnapped nurse Elizabeth White/Lizzy (Vanessa Grasse – Roboshark). This is where things get crazy. They have a plan that seems like it could work. They face many odds, and the murderous rampage they go on only make the odds worse. Texas Ranger Hal Hartman (Stephen Dorff – Blade/Immortals) and Deputy Sorrell ( Finn Jones – Iron Fist) are on the hunt for the escapees with a ton of other police. Hartman, however, is on his own rampage looking for Jed and the gang. He wants revenge for his daughter’s death.
The third act is one of disappointment. I expected to be scared, and worried. There was nothing there at all. I was thinking of that old school Texas Chainsaw Massacre grit. It doesn’t exist in this film. The third act starts at the farm where it all began for the Texas Ranger. He goes out of his way to try to bring upon his own justice. The way everything goes in the third act is a slow start that gets fast paced and intense. I won’t say much more about the third act because it would spoil everything.
Overall, I didn’t like the movie. The film was up and down. The film would move fast, and then slow down completely. The characters had hardly any development. There were a lot of questions I had about Jed and his rise to serial killer that went completely unanswered. The kills in the film were one of the few good things about the film. The settings were amazing and gave it a better feel. Some of the main characters had absolutely no purpose to the film. There was nothing that was terrifying about this film like the other films in the franchise. The movie just felt empty, and kind of out of place. The movie furthered my hopes for a reboot of the franchise as a whole.
Rating – 4.5/10
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Leatherface is currently available on demand, and releases digitally and on blu-ray this Tuesday 12/19!
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 a lawman out for revenge.