In 1974 Tobe Hooper directed a bloody masterpiece. “Leatherface” is an abomination in comparison.
“Leatherface” kicks off in middle 50s. After a brief introduction to the Sawyer family’s shady endeavors, the story makes a 10-year long jump, to land in a psych ward. A rebellion bursts out there, which sets in motion a bunch of hillbilly lunatics to go on a killing spree.
The French duo of directors – Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo – are obviously ardent fans of Hooper’s original gorefest. However, they did not fully understand the phenomenon behind it. Hooper’s film was a absurd study of an inbred disaster of a family. It was visceral, crazy and ultimately scary. But time flies and cinema has changed. What scared audiences in the 70s, not necessarily does so today.
Therefore, modern horrors often become caricatures of what really could be considered scary. Maury and Bustillo looked for a variety of bludgeoning flicks to draw inspiration from. The kind of hillbilly killing rampage strongly reminds of Rob Zombie’s favorite family of depraved psychos from “Devil’s Rejects”. Just like in Zombie’s film – his follow-up to savage-but-cult “The House of 1000 Corpses” – it is laughable rather than scary.
Rob Zombie’s repugnant piece is not the only adherent material that is glued to this pulp called “Leatherface”. A Hannibal Lecter reference made a cut too, in a scene during which a man is devoured by oinking pigs. There was even space for a “cameo” of Jörg Buttgereit’s “Nekromantik” in a short sex sequence. In this scene, two cuckoo fugitives perform a repulsive act of love in a company of a rotting corpse. Awesome.
“Leatherface” is neither disturbing like “Antropophagus” nor magically blood-curdling like “Suspiria”. Instead, it’s a silly b-movie, that constitutes solely a let-down for those, who waited for its premiere. Instead of suspense and creepiness, there is lots of clichés and… too many hillbillies.
In the end, hardly can I imagine someone frightened at lines like “do that again and I’ll turn you into strawberry pie”, pronounced with one-and-only Louisiana accent. After all, Tobe Hooper might be too old to see that he was tricked into a cheap tickets-money heist, but I hope he is not too old to see that someone desecrated his opus magnum again.
Dir. Julien Maury & Alexandre Bustillo
Cast: A bunch of no names
Hate Grade: 8/10