Dec 142017

Leatherface is yet another, at best, disappointing entry into the vaunted Texas Chain Saw franchise, one where probably for the first two and, for me, the remake, were any good, the others not so much and I’d include this one but more for how forgettable it was than outright bad.




Genre(s): Horror
Lionsgate | R – 88 min. – $21.99 | December 19, 2017

Date Published: 12/14/2017 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by: Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo
Writer(s): Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper (characters); Seth M. Sherwood (screenplay)
Cast: Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Sam Strike, Vanessa Grasse, Finn Jones, Sam Coleman, Jessica Madsen, James Bloor
Features: Featurette, Deleted Scenes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.37
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 41.5 GB
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A


THE MOVIE — 2.0/5

In this prequel to the popular, and original, Texas Chain Saw Massacre franchise, Leatherface gets the Rob Zombie Halloween treatment to the frightening origins of the chainsaw-wielding serial killer. After we get a taste of his childhood with his deranged family, headed by matriarch mother Verna Sawyer (LILI TAYLOR).

Circa 1955. After young Leatherface aka Jed leads a girl to a barn in one of the dumbest parts of this film, and that’s saying a lot, she’s dropped from a trap door by one of Jed’s brothers and subsequently she is crushed by an engine. Not sure what the purpose of this kill was, but I guess it moved the plot along. Well, as it happens, this girl was the daughter of the ruthless Sheriff Hartman (STEPHEN DORFF). With the Sawyer children being linked to many crime scenes, and given none of the children can be held for the murders, Hartman has Verna’s kids taken away and placed at the Gorman House Youth Reformery, names changed, including Jed.

Fast forward ten years when we meet nurse Elizabeth White (VANESSA GRASSE), newly hired to Gorman. Residents of this nightmarish facility include giant man Bud (SAM COLEMAN) and Jackson (SAM STRIKE), whom become friendly with Elizabeth. Following a riot brought on courtesy of Verna attempting to see her son, psychopaths Ike (JAMES BLOOR) and Clarice (JESSICA MADSEN) make their escape and pull along Jackson and Bud, as well as Elizabeth who they take as a hostage.

So the five escapees attempt to make their way to the Mexican border before parting ways (in reality Ike and Clarice want to kill Elizabeth), though they need cash and what better way than to rob a dingy diner and kill several patrons upon getting guns. On their trail is Harman, still seeking vengeance for his daughter’s murder.

So, Leatherface if it were called anything else would just be another run-of-the-mill horror film because there’s little resemblance, or craziness, to the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre or the zaniness of its sequel. So while this might get more notice because it can be taken as a direct prequel, this film is rather bland and forgettable with thinly written characters (all around).

The headliners here are Stephen Dorff and Lili Taylor, the latter probably having the better impact and former not really get a whole hell of lot to do except be angry. The other cast members are unmemorable from newcomer Vanessa Grasse as the nurse to Sam Strike as Jackson, Sam Coleman playing large mental case Bud to James Bloor and Jessica Madsen as the psycho duo.

I presume the filmmakers want you to believe Bud is in fact Jed/Leatherface but the box cover artwork rules that out. So when it’s revealed, doesn’t mean a whole lot. The finale is more lazy rather than stunning or horrific, instead just going through the motions of turning Jed into the serial killer we know and are scared of and a character that has been beaten to death in the numerous sequels, prequel, prequel-to-remake, etc.

Admittedly, I’ve never been all that crazed over The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, though I enjoyed it a lot, it’s not something I watch all that often but having seen a few of these others like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Texas Chainsaw: The Next Generation or Texas Chainsaw 3D, they’ve all ranged from being bad to truly awful.

So, where does Leatherface place amongst those gems? Somewhere on top I suppose as it’s not awful but I can’t even say it’s average, more that it’s “there”. True fans I doubt will like it and casual ones will probably find it lackluster and forgettable, not to mention not in the least bit frightening, scary or even makes one feel uncomfortable. At least the gore effects weren’t too bad, so there is that.

Leatherface was directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, the pair were amongst 27 others to direct the vignettes in The ABCs of Death 2, along with a few other indie horror flicks. These two might be talented and again, if this wasn’t Texas Chain Saw related, might’ve made for a throwaway film, but being tied to that kind of a legacy, doesn’t at all work.



This release comes with a matted slip cover and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Feature Film with Alternate Ending (1:28:44; HD) – You can choose to watch the regular version or the one with an alternate ending. It’s about a minute longer.

Behind the Blood Mask: Making Leatherface (13:24; HD) is a behind-the-scenes featurette with interviews by the cast and crew as well as on-set/location footage.

Deleted Scenes (21:04; HD) – There are six scenes either removed or trimmed including an alternate opening and ending, the latter can optionally be played with the movie. Although this wouldn’t have made for a better movie, I probably prefer this one over the original.

PreviewsJigsaw, The Hatred, Blair Witch, The Devil’s Rejects, The Vatican Tapes


VIDEO – 4.0/5

Leatherface chainsaws its way onto Blu-ray presented with a 2.37 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec). One of the problems with this addition to the franchise is the fact it actually looks a bit too sterile at times despite the artificially-looking creepy Sawyer Farmhouse or even the exterior of the diner. Still, detail is generally nicely defined and colors, albeit more toward natural tones, are decent.

AUDIO – 3.75/5

The disc includes a bit too low key but still serviceable DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which outputs the various blood-curdling screams well enough but otherwise the depth isn’t great and the LFE channel only had minor impact. I kind of hoped to get a bit more of an oomph from this horror movie.


OVERALL – 2.25/5

Overall, Leatherface is yet another, at best, disappointing entry into the vaunted Texas Chain Saw franchise, one where probably for the first two and, for me, the remake, were any good, the others not so much and I’d include this one but more for how forgettable it was than outright bad. The Blu-ray released by Lionsgate offers up good video/audio transfers and some basic bonus features.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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