Leatherface (2017) Movie Review
Written By: LFG
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Julien Maury, Alexandre Bustillo
Producers: Christa Campbell, Lati Grobman, Carl Mazzocone, Les Weldon
Writer: Seth M. Sherwood
Date Released: October 20, 2017
Stephen Dorff as Texas Ranger Hal Hartman
Vanessa Grasse as Elizabeth “Lizzy” White
Sam Strike as Jedidiah Sawyer / Jackson
Lili Taylor as Verna Sawyer
Chris Adamson as Dr. Lang
Sam Coleman as Bud
James Bloor as Ike
Jessica Madsen as Clarice
Rating = 2/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
While driving down a country road, a young couple comes across a child named Jedidiah Sawyer. The girl, Betty Hartman, initially thought he was wounded, so she follows him to an old barn hoping to help, but she gets killed by the boy’s deranged family. The girl turns out to be Sheriff Hal Hartman’s (Stephen Dorff) daughter, and out of anger for unable to arrest the culprit of the crime, Hartman retaliates by taking Jedidiah and his brother Bud (Sam Coleman), and sends both to a mental asylum. A decade later, Jedidiah—now renamed Jackson—has adjusted to his new life and he forms a bond with a newly hired nurse named Lizzy (Vanessa Grasse). Meanwhile, Verna Sawyer (Lili Taylor) drops by the asylum in hopes of exercising her visitation rights to her sons. After being denied by Dr. Lang (Chris Adamson), she causes a riot after she sneaks her way into the facility. A number of patients escape, including Jedidiah and Bud, and they take Lizzy with them to safety as a fire breaks out. However, they are taken hostage by two criminally insane patients, Clarice and Ike. The five of them now make their way around town, wreaking havoc while hiding from authorities who are out looking for them.
There was gore and violence throughout the film. Although one might consider this to be a bit more muted in comparison to other films in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. The scene where Jedidiah finally embraced his persona as Leatherface was the goriest, and it brings an awe factor as it was his first time to wield his chainsaw to kill someone.
The Grave Review
Leatherface (2017) is a prequel to 1974 classic, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and is the eighth installment in the film franchise. It serves as an origin story to Leatherface and showcases the events that led him to becoming the sadistic killer that he is today.
Jedidiah/Leatherface is a despicable character, but he was not always that way. Back when he was a kid, it was shown that while his family was crazy, he had hesitations in following suit in their ways. And the fact that he formed a bond with the nurse, Lizzy, and helped her escape the riot at the asylum shows that at some point, he had morals and even mercy—despite his disturbing childhood. He also made it a point to protect his brother, Bud, from the people who bullied him. Unfortunately, the actor who portrayed Jedidiah was quite dull and did not give the titular character justice.
The film featured the Sawyer family, but most of the graphic scenes showed Jedidiah in the company of his fellow patients from the mental asylum where they escaped from. As such, the Sawyer family mostly served as secondary characters. But this does not stop Verna, the main matriarch, to shine, thanks to the actress who portrayed her. The other characters who were interesting enough were Clarice (Jessica Madsen) and Ike (James Bloor) as they were the most savage and had no qualms in killing anyone who came their way.
In the final moments of the film, Jedidiah finally came out of his shell when he killed Hartman with his chainsaw and when he donned the skin of Lizzy’s face as a mask after. This is where Jedidiah is no more, and Leatherface is born. Another memorable scene is when Jedidiah’s mother sews up his torn face and then attaching the muzzle to keep everything together. This eventually becomes Leatherface’s signature look.
Leatherface (2017) is one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history, so making a movie that would live up to people’s expectations would be very challenging. Sadly, this film fails to live up to its hype. It has its good moments, but there were some parts of the film that felt pointless. Overall, this feels like a watered-down origin story and is an unnecessary addition to the entire franchise.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Leatherface (2017) two graves out of five graves.
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