Leatherface – 2017
Director Julien Maury, Alexandre Bustillo
Screenplay Seth M. Sherwood
Starring Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Vanessa Grasse, Finn Jones, Sam Strike, Sam Coleman, James Bloor, Jessica Madsen
It comes from a place where someone that’s a fan of the series really wants to show us that they’ve thought about everything logically, when the original story didn’t demand that much in the way of logic or explanation. Characters are given an amount of reason or motivation that isn’t required. Why do they do this? Well, we’re going on movie #8, with this, its second attempt at a prequel. This one is a pre-prequel, so to speak. They gotta talk about something with all of that killing they’ve been doing. Or do they?
This one starts off in 1955. The Sawyer family is still sick and demented. They kill a guy horribly for “stealing” from them. Next thing we see are the kids leading half of a romantic couple to her death in a barn. That teenage girl happens to be the daughter of Texas Ranger Hal Hartman (Dorff) isn’t good for the Sawyers. Hartman takes all of the rage out on Mama Verna (Taylor) by stealing her kids away to Gorman Reformatory.
Ten years pass and there is a breakout. One of the Sawyers, Jed (Strike), escapes with his friend Bud, two other inmates and one of the nurses. What happens for the next two hours is wholly unnecessary in explaining what made Leatherface the thing he is by the time we first see him.
His mother / aunt is a freak, to be sure, but damn, no one in this movie is anything less than 3 cans short of a six-pack. As for the non Sawyers, what is the point, when they aren’t in the family? Why do we need any peripheral stories to distract from the story of a family of freaks who feed off of passers-by?
Rob Zombie’s Firefly Films took the wind out of that, story, so they tried a something different, and whiffed. There is an attempt at subterfuge that leads the viewer to a dead-end when you try to make sense of what you’ve seen in the past. Unless someone goes through a growth spurt past age 18, it is as ridiculous as anything else in the film.
This film is a mess, stylistically too. It takes place mostly in the dark, as if they’re trying to hide that their slashed budget required they film in Bulgaria. I am not sure it would have helped to shed any light on it though. To say this series has gone far enough is pointless. They can keep going around in circles in the woods for the next 40 years and people will still find ways to put these films out.
(* out of *****)