Leatherface (2017)

This is the story of Leatherface. Again. No, “The Beginning” was not his origin, “Leatherface” is. I’m not sure what “The Beginning” was supposed to be. “Leatherface” is the official prequel to the iconic movie maniac, they promise. And once again, like “The Beginning,” 2017’s “Leatherface” is really just a tired, nasty, unpleasant road film following a group of psychopaths. Leatherface’s actual origin is reserved for the final ten minutes where he just reverts to Leatherface mode because—um—it’s familiar! Familiar is good, right? Once again, no one seems to be interested in actually dissecting the madness of Leatherface, or why and how his persona of wearing human skin and carrying a chainsaw relates to him. In the original Tobe Hooper masterpiece,

Leatherface was a force of violence and sexual confusion that used his chainsaw to rape, and violate his victims. “Leatherface” just seems to be interested in squeezing in as many gory kill scenes and gross out moments of torture that it can in its ninety minute time frame. Nothing makes the slightest bit of sense and we’re never given the slightest bit of insight in to the character before he became Leatherface. He just goes from point A to point Z in seconds, and we’re supposed to accept that as the molding of a maniacal serial killer. I’ve read essays on movie blogs that have given so much more insight and poetic analyses in the persona of Leatherface in the first Tobe Hooper film than all the alleged “origin” has even bothered with. It’s just a series of nonsense that, ironically enough, cribs from Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects.”

The characters here are evil because they have to be evil to give us a movie, meanwhile directors Maury and Bustillo completely waste the only strong actor in the bunch, Lili Taylor. She plays demented matriarch Verna Sawyer who wreaks havoc on those that cross the Sawyers, and influences her children in to doing the same. Her youngest, Jedediah, is given a chainsaw on his birthday and encouraged to murder an alleged ranch thief, but he simply can’t find the strength to do so. When a young girl is led to the ranch by Jed, she’s viciously murdered, and her father, local sheriff Hartman vows revenge on Verna, taking away all of her children. Years later, the children are institutionalized, and new nurse Elizabeth forms a bond with the Sawyer kids, now grown adults.

When Verna fails to take back Jed, she incites a riot which leads to the Sawyer clan violently escaping with Elizabeth as their hostage, and they seek to flee back home. Along the way, there’s a ton of meaningless violence that counts as plot progression and, yet again, we’re never given the slightest bit of insight in to the mind set of these characters. They’re lunatics, and hillbillies, and that’s about enough for the script. “Leatherface” never amounts to terror or pure chaos, no matter how hard it tries, and it just does as much as it can to exercise is nastiness with plenty of blood splatter, and evisceration, all filmed in that delightful brown-orange tint that adds the Platinum Dunes aesthetic. “Leatherface” is just an absolute waste of time. It’s pointless, it’s tedious, it’s dull, and worst of all, it’s lazy.