Leatherface (2017)

Director:Alexandre Bustillo – Julien Maury

Starring: Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Sam Strike, Sam Coleman, James Bloor, Jessica Madsen, Vanessa Grasse. USA. 1h 30m

Finally a modern prequel that actually has some substance and a wild dark nature!! The sequels and remakes tried to pick leatherface from the rest of the family and turn him into another serial slasher such as Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers and while this new prequel again singles him out it gives a larger insight into his family, hopefully next we’ll be able to see what turned Grampa into the hammer wielding nutter as I feel that’s the most interesting character (fan fiction anyone)?

But who doesn’t love the flesh mask chainsaw hulk? who managed to cast a fearful shadow over the world of cinema since 1974 when the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was released. The approach to this  new prequel adopts a slightly different aspect but it’s applied so well I think a lot of people overlook the stirring of the psychotic pot, and finally we get to see the tiny terror turn into teenage leatherface.

Most people watching the film will already be aware of the back water dysfunctional family, lead by matriarch Verna Sawyer (Taylor) and she ensures that this family slays together, trying to introduce her youngest Jed  by serving him birthday cake and a random victim, the boy is too scared to kill his “gift”with the chainsaw placed in front of him, but he’s given other chances to appease his mother, in one fateful turn he is party to the death of a teenage girl, who happens to be the daughter of the local hard ass Texas Ranger (Dorff) who’s been looking for a reason to destroy the family. He takes young Jed away claiming that he’s “at risk”.

After forcibly being removed, fast forwards a few years and Jed has been placed in a mental hospital, specialising in children with a  lot of issues, for his safety his identity has been changed, re named  it’s now totally clueless who Jed is, although Bud (Coleman) fits the young leatherface boots, with his size and looks and kills with some ferocity.  After some interference from Verna there is a riot, Bud tags along with his best friend Jason (Strike) a couple of horny teens Clarice and Ike and a nurse, Lizzie (Grasse) they kidnap in their crazy scheme to head to Mexico.

At this turning point the horny teens turn into characters from a Tarantino movie and Jackson does all he can to try and feel normal, while protecting Bud and Lizzie but gradually becomes more and more violent at the movie continues, and the rage of the Texas Ranger is soon unleashed, all the while Lizzie is determined to escape and makes many breaks but is always quickly apprehended, I kinda wished she wore a lambs outfit as she seemed up for the slaughter by everyone at some point in the movie.

 

Maury has a great talent for his slow burning thrillers, such as A’L’interirur (2007) and cleverly doesn’t make this film just about Leatherface, picking apart every little detail, this just runs a a group of wild teens who are on a thrill kill ride across america, while one of them is slowly feeling this calling and starts to reflect his true inner nature. Arguments for nature and nurture can be made  as well as teenage rebellion but there is a brilliant red herring that I didn’t see coming and which really adds volumes to the film’s character.

Bustillo and Maury use David Fincher-esque filters to distort the hot texas landscape, and the angels really enlarge their crazy treck across country.  Within this sentimental countryside the kids kill, main, steal, and make out with each other and a corpse, all the things which horror fans want to see, and this film is only one step away from modern exploitation, a few execution scenes were reminiscent of House of 1000 corpses (2003) The gore and violence is just over the top, enough to please a horror fan and enough to annoy a critic. but it is controlled, there is a story to be told here and some great drama fills the gaps, until the end where all kinds of shit hits the fan, the plot twist is backed up with a monstrous chainsaw ending that is expected from the get go. Everything changes, the atmosphere is similar to Final Girl (2015) or The Wolfman (2010), as the  frightened nurse makes another break for freedom but leatherface has now lost touch with reality and has his favourite toy now. 

 


Rating 7/10

R: À l’intérieur (2007), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974),
L: Dysfunctional families Vol1 and Vol2

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