This recent entry in the most convoluted horror franchise ever, tells the un-needed story of how Jackson Sawyer came to wear a mask of human skin & carve up Texans with chainsaws. Directed by French stylists Bustillo & Maury, Leatherface is a grimy & gory road-trip horror and worth a watch, despite not really earning the title of the film. We meet the Sawyer family when Jackson is a boy and being goaded by his family to use the saw on a neighbour. After the family murders the daughter of a Texas Ranger Hartmann (Stephen Dorff), young Jackson is removed from his family and placed in a mental hospital for 10 years. His mother Verna (Lili Taylor) helps orchestrate a riot which allows Jackson and a group to escape into the Texas wilds pursued by Dorff & a fleet of police. This section plays out as a twisted road trip with a bloody diner massacre, hiding in rotten cow carcasses, some necrophilia (cos why not?) & a trigger happy Dorff out for revenge. Eventually we end up back at Sawyer farm for a showdown where the chainsaw makes a welcome return and of course Jackson gets his skin mask on. As a standalone entry in the series, that supposedly leads into the original Chainsaw Massacre, it's a nasty blood spattered bit of fun, with the strong sense of shock that Bustillo & Maury brought to their French extremity films Inside & Among the Living. The weird mystery over who Jackson has become is an odd choice & doesn’t really play as the big twist it thinks it is & his sudden elevation to chainsaw wielding maniac is far too rushed. But you’ve got old pros Dorff & Taylor bringing some chops to the film and Sam Strike as Jackson is likeable enough —until he isn’t. And it's far better than the woeful previous entry Texas Chainsaw 3D and its ill-advised ‘Go get him cuz’ shenanigans. 3.5 maggoty cow carcasses out of 5.
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