3/5* Siobhan Divers | Shiv’s Show
Dir: Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Sam Strike, Vanessa Grasse, Lili Taylor, Chris Adamson, Finn Jones, James Bloor, Jessica Madsen, Sam Coleman, Boris Kabakchiev.
Continuity in horror franchises is often not required, resulting in multiple resets to the timeline, stories told from different perspectives or the best storylines at the start being skipped and underutilised to make way for the many scenes of violence.
Leatherface is no different.
The eighth film in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, Leatherface introduces the youngest members of the cannibal Sawyer family who are trained to torture and brutally murder by Sawyer family matriarch Verna Sawyer (Lilli Taylor).
The film opens with gruesome scenes showing an attempt to induct young Jedidah Sawyer (Boris Kabakchiev) into the murderous family rituals at his birthday party. After refusing to participate, Jedidah’s participation in the rituals becomes limited and he is later tasked with leading a young woman to her swift death, with another member of the family finishing the job.
When it is discovered that the woman was local Texas Ranger Hal Harman’s (Stephen Dorff) daughter, Jedidiah is sent to a psychiatric institute for dangerous children as although his participation could not be proven, the incident was deemed suspicious.
Ten years later Jackson (Sam Strike) kidnaps young nurse Lizzy (Vanessa Grasse) and escapes along-with Ike (James Bloor), Clarice (Jessica Madsen) and Bud (Sam Coleman).
Pursued by local authorities and the sheriff looking to avenge his daughter’s death, the film follows the road trip of the escaped inmates and the path that Jedidiah took which lead to him becoming ‘Leatherface’.
With some relatively obvious and predictable ‘plot twists’, Leatherface is passable at best. Featuring a limited amount of suspense, the film is quite slow-paced and features few moments of genuine horror with the expected scenes of horror being replaced with gruesome imagery, violence and gore.
An origin story that leaves much to be desired, Leatherface might excite existing fans of the horror franchise who are already involved in the narrative and ‘legend’, however for fans of true horror stories, the film joins a list of other relatively disappointing ‘scary films’.
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