“Leatherface” is a deeply unpleasant movie. I know, I know: horror movies are supposed to be unpleasant. But on a spectrum of horror films, this one leans in the direction of very, very unpleasant. And it’s also no fun.
This is at least the second time that someone has tried to tell the origin story of the titular character, who debuted in Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” The first one was 2006’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning,” a film that I remember seeing but don’t remember disliking as much as I hated this one. The difference, I guess, is that Hooper was involved with executive producing “Leatherface,” whereas he had no involvement in the other film. But so what?
In “Leatherface,” we are introduced to the character as a child, when his murderous family, the Sawyer clan (led by his mother Verna (Lili Taylor)) is celebrating his birthday with, well, murder. After the family kills the wrong person, young Leather is taken away from his family to be put in a juvenile detention facility full of other murderous youth. In a shocking (not) turn of events, the boy escapes with a group of other demented killers for a blood-soaked road trip, eventually making his way back to his family home in Texas.
There’s not much to like here. Lots of gore but nothing unique or inventive. And for a film promising to tell us how Leatherface came to be, we get very little insight into his character and what motivates him. In fact, when he does begin killing it actually doesn’t feel true: in other words, nothing that came before Leather’s first kill explained how he got there (other than his family ties).
Yuck. “Leatherface” is no fun at all.