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‘Leatherface’ (2017) is a direct prequel to the original 1973 classic 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’.
Directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, written by Kim Henkel and based off of characters created by Tobe Hooper. The film stars Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Sam Strike, Vanessa Grasse, Sam Coleman and Finn Jones.
“A teenage Leatherface escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnapping a young nurse and taking her on a road trip from hell, while being pursued by a lawman out for revenge.”
When I first heard about this film the only information I originally received was that three people, (two males and one female) break out of a mental hospital with one of them inevitably being the future killer known as Leatherface.
From this description alone, I thought about how fun it would have been for the creators to make three completely different endings, each of which would have a different result as to who would dawn the mask of human flesh by the films end and releasing them all in separate regions around North America. This would not only have given the film a lot of unique press, but would have given the people who love arguing online something to truly fight about.
Unfortunately this was not the case (as you can see from the films description) and was released with a singular ending. But, in my personal opinion, this film worked does work fairly well.
I typically like to keep everything spoiler free when reviewing films but for this one I'm going to have to make a slight exception as I feel certain things need to be explained.
A lot of people complained about not enjoying it due their either being die hards of the original film which does not allow room for them to accept a backstory, others would state that the film had nothing to do with Leatherface next to a few minutes by the film's end and some who just, without reason state they didn't like it. I have to disagree with these people and I'll explain why.
I'm a sucker for a backstory. I found that Rob Zombie's Halloween was immensely enjoyable due to his addition of a young Michael Myers and his ability to show why this young boy turned violent. In Leatherface, the same idea is provided to viewers where a young boy, raised by a family of inbred murderers, is forced against his will to harm, maim and even kill others.
After an incident takes place where his daughter is murdered by the Sawyer clan but is unable to prove their involvement, Sheriff Hartman has the state take custody of the family’s youngest, Jed, under child endangerment. This act sends him to an asylum which attempts to brainwash their young patients by giving them new names and aiding them in forgetting their past.
A breakout ensues ten years later and the three runaways (a young man, a nurse and a large man who easily resembles what Leatherface not only physically looks like but in mannerisms and vocal skills as well) are taken hostage by two other inmates, both of whom are extremely violent and have no care for anybody's lives but their own.
As things progressed in the film, the thought of who Leatherface really is kept poking at me. The obvious answer felt too obvious while the others did not come across as a possibility of becoming the titular character. While watching and paying attention to all the characters involved, you start to pick up small things that start pointing towards a specific person and how their downfall begins to take place.
Some people claimed it didn't make any sense as to why the person suddenly snapped, but if you’re reading between the lines, you’d realize that his family’s history was the main reason why things started to unravel. Once faced with a threat, he would not be able to control his impulses. This together with a few other 'traumatic’ factors led him to become the beast that people know and love today.
The other issue people had about the film is incredibly stupid to me. The complaint goes as follows: “Well he doesn't look or act like Leatherface.”.
People, this is a freaking prequel! He’s a young man, he's got many years before he would get to the proper weight or act with a certain demeanor. He has been physically and mentally traumatized from different events. His family is going to treat him like crap as they likely don’t have the ability or the patients to deal with a mute individual. Following years of this treatment, he's going to mentally devolve into an animal of sorts such as an abused dog and will eventually begin acting scared of his owner aka his family.
And for those complaining about his weight, once again, this is years prior to the Sally Hardesty storyline you've all come to know and love. What is a depressed, disfigured homebody going to be doing with their time? Likely using food as a way to suppress their feelings for years. This mixed with a sedentary lifestyle is going to lead to some massive weight gain.
Other than this, the origin of his first mask is also explained which I appreciate, there’s an abundance of gore, some of which come from a few over the top scenes but are still enjoyable to see and while the storyline isn't perfect, it still progressively works its way towards a proper answer of who and how our killer became what he is known as today
So what say you readers? Have you possibly jumped the gun about the film without thinking about all these possible factors added in? Or are you in the boat of not having enjoyed it at all? Let me know!
7.5 out of 10.
Have you listened to the newest episode of Beyond The Void Horror Podcast? They talk about “Altered States” & “Demon Seed”. One story about a guy who is researching the effects of the brain on hallucinogens in sensory deprivation tank and one scientist who creates the smartest Artificial Intelligence with a healthy appetite for makin babies. Listen here or on iTunes Here!