Leatherface (2017) Review

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Leatherface and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre rightfully take their place among the slasher movies that started the genre. These films are also probably right up there with the most famous horror films of all time. The last film before this one was pretty damn good, so I had no hesitation in watching this one as well. Obviously by the name you can guess it tells the origin story of Leatherface, how did he become the beast that we all love chainsawing people in the face.

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Directors – Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury

Writing Credits – Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper

Screenplay – Seth M. Sherwood

Stars – Finn Jones, Stephen Dorff, Nicole Andrews, Lili Taylor, Vanessa Grasse, Sam Strike, Sam Coleman, James Bloor and Jessica Madsen

Run Time – 90 minutes

Tagline – Witness the beginning of your end

IMDB.com Link

Trivia – The Sawyer House seen in the 1974 original film was rebuilt for the filming of “Leatherface”.

Trivia – The first film in the Texas Chain Saw Massacre franchise not to be filmed in the United States. Instead, the film was shot in Bulgaria for budgetary reasons.

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The film starts as you’d expect with a bunch of rednecks having dinner but unlike most families the dinner descends into the murder of a kidnapped man. The young man we see we assume is Leatherface as a child, he is hesitant to kill the tied up man, unlike his family he seems to have a heart. Soon after however he distracts a young couple on the road, the girl follows him into the woods and into a barn. This is her mistake and she ends up getting exactly what you’d think she would.

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Turns out the victim is the daughter of a local law man, he takes it on himself to take all the redneck children away from their mother in revenge. They all end up getting sent away, we join one of them years later locked up in a mental home with some other strange characters.

Enter Lizzy a nurse who actually has a heart along with Bud the big guy capable of inflicting pain but he clearly doesn’t like doing it if it can be avoided. Along with his mate Jackson who keeps an eye on him. One day there’s a riot at the mental facility when Verna Sawyer comes looking for her child, it ends with everyone escaping.

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This is where our group all meet up: Bud and Jackson along with Nurse Lizzy and two nutjobs Tammy and Ike. This pair love a good killing and will do it for the smallest of reasons, they take Lizzy and Jackson hostage and out of fear Bud agrees to tag along and flee to Mexico.

Things aren’t that simple though as Texas Ranger Hal Hartman knows Verna’s son is on the loose and he wants to track them all down and “deal with them” He doesn’t exactly follow the law on his journey, effectively giving the movie two sets of villains and making us root for the young Leatherface.

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Along the way there’s some crazy kill scenes and a decent bit of action as they try to avoid getting caught. The question is will Leatherface link up with his family again and will he end up losing what little heart he has, obviously like all prequels we know the answers to these questions before we watch. It’s why I’m not really a massive fan of prequels. Sure the builds are interesting but the end product is always known.

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The Good

  • Ike and Tammy are proper crazy and the scene when they going on a killing spree in a diner/bar makes for great viewing.
  • Lili Taylor is a solid actress and plays Verna Sawyer perfectly.
  • The gore is great, there’s some real brutal kills and some very bloody scenes.
  • Good pacing to the movie from start to finish it moves along nicely building up to what we all expect.
  • I really liked the performance of James Bloor as Ike, he was unhinged to the max and his relationship with fellow patient Tammy was well done in making the film about more than just Leatherface’s family.
  • Threesome with a corpse.

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The Bad

  • Suffers like all prequels that we know what it leads to despite how the characters act but that may well just be one of my pet hates.
  • There’s a part of the story that I can’t reveal but I’ll be curious to see if people found it as predictable as I did.
  • Finn Jones’ character was massively underused.

Other than that there wasn’t much wrong with this film at all it was enjoyable without being fantastic. Lots of gore and some very decent kills along with a reasonably solid story for a slasher film make it worth a watch. It’ll never be praised as much as the originals and it’s arguable that it’s better than the last Chainsaw Massacre film. However like many films I review this is worth a watch if you’ve got 90 minutes to kill one weekend or late night.

Overall Rating – 7/10

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