Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Film Review: Leatherface (2017)

Leatherface (Review)
United States/2017
Format Viewed for Review: VUDU
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...an interesting origin story."

The story of Jedidiah Sawyer, a mentally-competent child who grows up to become a mentally-disturbed killer.

Leatherface is an origin story. The plot follows Jedidiah Sawyer, a fairly normal boy in a very strange and violent family. After helping his family kill the daughter of Hal Hartman (Stephen Doriff), an unhinged Texas Ranger, Jedidiah is taken from his family and sent away to a mental institution. Ten years later, Elizabeth White (Vanessa Grasse) begins working at that mental institution. She quickly forms a bond with patients Jackson (Sam Strike) and Bud. It turns out: the kids are given new names when they're admitted to the institution, so Jedidiah is amongst the bunch. After a while, a riot occurs in the facility, and a group of patients escapes and take Elizabeth hostage, which forces Hartman to pursue them. I enjoyed most of the story. The final act felt rushed—for want of a better word—but it offered a decent ending.


Leatherface is an interesting origin story. As a big fan of the original and as someone who also enjoyed the remake, I'll start by saying this: Leatherface doesn't feel like a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie. It kinda resembles the series, despite not being shot in Texas, but it gives off a different vibe. That might put off some of the more die-hard fans, but I was okay with it. The fact that this is an origin story might put off some die-hard fans, too. Personally, I thought it offered an interesting perspective on the subject. It shows Jedidiah transforming from an innocent, mentally-competent kid to a vicious, intellectually-challenged killer due to his family and the system—nurture, for the most part. It has some moments of suspense and plenty of moments of violence. It's not the most extreme film out there, but it has some very bloody moments. Actually, it even has some downright disturbing moments. I went into it without any expectations and I ended up enjoying it as a whole. It's certainly better than that 3D movie that came out a few years ago.

I suppose my biggest issue with this film stems from its final act. It felt too convenient and rushed. It felt like the filmmakers ran out of money. It just didn't pack a big, satisfying punch. There were some contrived moments, too.

At first, I thought the acting was mediocre. That first scene put me off for all of the wrong reasons. However, eventually, the acting actually became decent. Stephen Doriff, Vanessa Grasse, and Sam Strike were all great. The supporting cast was also good—most of the time. The film was shot well, despite it not being shot in Texas. The music matched the tone of the film, too. The screenplay was written by Seth M. Sherwood and directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, the directors of Among the Living and Inside. Like I said, although some moments were hard to believe and others were predictable, I liked the plot. I enjoyed the approach Sherwood took with the writing. The direction was also great—until it loses steam during its final act.

Overall, Leatherface is a very good movie. I can tell some people hate it from its IMDB score (5.0 as of the writing of this review), but I think it's better than that. It's not as good as the original—it follows the path of Rob Zombie's Halloween in many ways—but it is interesting, suspenseful, and disturbing. I think that makes for a good horror movie. If you're an open-minded fan of the series or if you just like some dark horror movies, this is for you.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, sex and nudity.

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