This film claims to be a prequel to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre but unfortunately, those looking for some answers need to look elsewhere.
Synopsis: In Texas, years before the events of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, in the early days of the infamous Sawyer family, the youngest child is sentenced to a mental hospital after a suspicious incident leaves the sheriff’s daughter dead. Ten years later, the Sawyer teen kidnaps a young nurse and escapes with three other inmates. Pursued by authorities including the deranged sheriff out to avenge his daughter’s death, Sawyer goes on a violent road trip from hell, molding him into the monster now known as Leatherface. (VVS Films)
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, and Sam Strike
Writer: Seth M. Sherwood
Directors: Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo
Rating: 18A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 90mins
For showtimes and more, check out Leatherface on movietimes.com.
The film starts off interesting enough when we get a glimpse of the Sawyer family and its patriarch Verna (Taylor). They are a demented family, as we can see from the perspective of a young boy named Jed who didn’t seem as on board with the rest of his family. Once the family happens to kill Texas Ranger Hal Hartman’s (Dorff) daughter, he takes Jed and the rest of the Sawyer children as revenge. He and the Sawyer family had past history so he wanted them to suffer.
Now the film changes after a 10 year time jump as it focuses on a nurse working at a youth reformatory named Elizabeth White (Vanessa Grasse). On her first day, we see that this reformatory is full of dangerous young people that Hartman put away. She also manages to befriend a troubled youth named Jackson (Strike). He seemed to mean well, however, had violent tendencies. After Verna shows up looking for Jed, a riot ensues, leading to Elizabeth, Jackson, and a trio of other patients named Bud (Sam Coleman), Ike (James Bloor), and Clarice (Jessica Madsen).
Ike and Clarice held Elizabeth and Jackson hostage while the simple minded Bud just followed along. Here they witnessed Ike and Clarice’s crime spree with Hartman on their trail. This part of the film was incredibly dull and frustrating to watch while the characters were unbearable. The dialog and writing was so bad that the characters weren’t worth caring about, especially Elizabeth who was supposed to be the character to care about.
The story pretty much went the way you would expect with the advancement of plot, or lack thereof, relying on stupid logic or stupid character decisions. Nothing should come as much of a surprise due to how predictable the film was. This was most evident once the film came full circle with its twist that wasn’t really a twist. Because of the meandering in the middle, the non-twist lacked any impact whatsoever.
The acting wasn’t that great either but that was mostly because of terrible writing and direction. The younger actors were mostly terrible while Dorff and Taylor were decent to mediocre. Dorff was decent as Hartman although his character did not get nearly enough screentime. Taylor was miscast as Verna and her overacted performance was mediocre at best.
Overall, this was a bad and gratuitously violent horror film with terrible writing, leading to a stupid story and stupid characters that not even the performances can save. Some hardcore Texas Chainsaw Massacre fans and horror fans may like this but others may not like the liberties it takes.