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Taking a chainsaw to a classic franchise: A review of the abomination that is ‘Texas

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A column header designed for Night Light by Jamie Miller, a culmination of reviews opinion from a night owl. (Abby Haywood/The Collegiate)

By Jamie Miller

Greetings nightlighters it is I, “the goofy gory movie loving geek” Jamie Miller here with yet another issue of Nightlight. Now dear friends as I have stated many many times I am a huge fan of slasher movies. From the “Halloween” series to “Scream” I just love to watch a group of annoying young people being stalked by a masked assailant wielding a bladed instrument. However one horror franchise I don’t have quite as much experience with is that of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” 

Unlike “Halloween” I haven’t seen every movie in the franchise, nor do I own multiple replicas of Leatherface’s mask like I do of Jason Vorhees. The original is a beloved classic which despite its reputation doesn’t have as much gore as people believe at least compared to modern horror movies. In fact the original as well as the aforementioned “Halloween” and “Black Christmas” are considered the founding fathers of the slasher movie genre, the ones that put them on the map. Though much like the aforementioned films, the franchise has spawned many horrible sequels and remakes. And that leads us to the latest entry in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” For you see friends, Netflix released their own sequel/remake and of all the movies I have seen…. This one was an abomination.

“Texas Chainsaw Massacre” which dropped on Feb. 18 tells the tale of a group of young arrogant go-getters. Now you see these would-be entrepreneurs have come to Harlow, Texas in order to gentrify the town, however they clearly didn’t run their plans past ole Leatherface who after being set off by one of them proceeds to go on a brutal and bloody rampage forcing us once again to ask: who will survive and what will be left of them? 

The film stars Sarah Yarkin of “Motherland:Fort Salem” fame as Melody, one of the people in charge of gentrifying the town. Eslie Fisher known for voicing Agnes in “Despicable Me” plays Lila Melody’s younger sister and one of the few likable characters. Moe Dunford of “Vikings” fame plays Richter, a gun-toting mechanic helping with the gentrifying of the town and an actually interesting character. Jacob Latimore of “Maze Runner” fame stars as Dante, the other person in charge of gentrifying the town and the most arrogant, annoying stuck up character in the whole dang movie. Every time his character opens his mouth I can feel brain cells dying due to intense feelings of annoyance and anger. Also along for this ride are Alice Krige of “Star Trek” fame stars as Virgina McCumber the owner of town orphanage. Olwen Fouéré who played Yeva in “Cursed” plays the part of Sally Hardesty the lone survivor of Leatherface’s original massacre stepping in for Marylin Burns the original actress who died in 2014. And then of course you have Leatherface being played this time around by Mark Burnham who has had small roles in numerous movies and TV shows. John Larroquette of “Night Court” fame returns to do opening narration.

When it comes to my critique of this film there are so many disappointments to cover. First off, what was their message? Was it a critique on cancel culture, was it poking out the problems with gentrification? Perhaps they wanted to talk about survivors’ guilt. These are all good themes. The problem is the film failed to pull any of them off. The gentrification theme, which was probably the strongest, was dropped far too quickly. And they addressed the others with all of the care and subtlety of a gorilla trying to hang up a painting with a sledgehammer. This has to be one of the worst horror movie sequels I have seen, and I watched “Halloween 6: The curse of Michael Myers.” The only saving grace of the film were the effects and gore, at least that was entertaining. That is literally the only reason it isn’t getting zero torches out of 10. No, I give it two torches out of 10. Nightlighters, please if you want to see a movie from this franchise, watch the original or the 2003 remake. This film is 1 hour and 23 minutes better spent on nearly anything else.