Directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo
Written by Seth M. Sherwood
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Vanessa Grasse, Sam Strike, and Lili Taylor
IMDb 5/10 Rotten Tomatoes 28% Metacritic 40/100
I just happened to catch this on tv and decided to watch it. I figured, okay, the history behind Leatherface…this has potential.
Now, I must clarify that when I say something has potential, I mean it has enough potential to be good but also enough to be bad. I say that when the plot sounds good but it’s all going to depend on the execution (not trying to play word games about murder and death, at least, not just yet). Also, being the eighth film in the TCM franchise, that also gives it potential to suck. So, I was skeptical when I started it. Also, I was tired so I figured if I fall asleep that means it couldn’t keep my attention. However, just the opposite occurred.
This film, surprisingly, grabbed my attention from the minute I started watching it. I actually got so interested in it that I went from laying down on the couch to sitting up so I wasn’t watching it sideways and with one ear covered.
The basic story is four kids escape from a mental hospital. In doing so they kidnap the new young female nurse who is also very pretty. During their escape and while on the run the two running the show kill a number of people until the Sherriff (Stephen Dorff) catches up with them.
I need to explain a little bit about these kids. There’s the leader Ike, Clarice, Bud and Jackson. Ike and Clarice are like the couple from Natural Born Killers or like Bonnie and Clyde. Bud is very VERY quiet and frankly, a little slow mentally. Jackson is actually Jed Sawyer. His family, the Sawyers, killed the Sherriff’s daughter. In retaliation, Jed is taken from his family and put in a mental institution.
Ten years later, Lizzy is hired as a new nurse to help with the patients. She is eager to “help” these young adults but, she is quickly corrected by the doctor in charge who tells her that they are ALL there for a reason, because they are violent murderers and it is safer and best for everyone if they remain locked up.
Verna, Jed’s aunt or mother…or both, is hell-bent on getting Jackson/Jed out of the hospital before he turns eighteen. Once he becomes an adult the doctor can (and threatens) to recommend him for prison instead of release.
So, all these crazy ass teens are on the run and this poor nurse is along for the terrifying ride. One by one, they get killed. Eventually, it’s just Jackson and Lizzy. Jackson ends up getting shot in the face and it tears through a number of areas, mangling his face forever. Verna sews him up and they commence to finish killing everyone.
So, here’s my thing. All through the movie Jackson/Jed is fairly mentally stable. Well, comparatively speaking. Then he gets shot in the face and all of a sudden he’s the Hunchback of Notre Dame, is completely out of it mentally and has a wicked limp. That can’t ALL be caused by a bullet ripping through your cheek. I mean, even if he had a wicked case of PTSD or something, where did the weird posture and limp come from? I get that after he’s sewn up and his mother puts a muzzle on him that he wouldn’t be able to talk. But, he gets shot and sewn and all of a sudden he’s a completely different person. I felt like that was a HUGE hole in the story and wasn’t explained very well.
The rest of the teens were crazy as hell. Jackson was definitely the sanest out of all of them. I mean Clarice, my god. This chick is completely nuts. And her man, Ike, not only a loser but also a psycho. They really are a creepy match made in hell. Then there’s Bud. You really do feel sorry for this kid. I mean, truly. It seems like he’s not really sure what’s going on or in control of what he does. Jackson seems to have the biggest anger control issue and our Bonnie and Clyde wannabes are two people with an insatiable hunger for blood and murder.
Now, having not seen all of the TCM movies, I can’t tell you if this one is worse or better than all the others. I CAN tell you that it IS worth watching (even if Rotten Tomatoes thinks it’s a bust, I hardly ever agree with those morons). Any horror fan should like this film and any fan of the TCM movies will dig this too.