Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre Review

This year Netflix released their own Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the 9th movie in the series! Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre came out of nowhere, and many questioned why Netflix would go for such a large and monumental piece?  I think the real question is, why not?


Yana Blajeva / Legendary, Courtesy of Netflix

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE Cr. Yana Blajeva / ©2021 Legendary, Courtesy of Netflix


This year Netflix released their own Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the 9th movie in the series!  Horror movie buffs flocked to their couches to see what Netflix had in store for this classic slasher-thriller.  While opinions of Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre vary, one thing is for sure, Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre is groundbreaking and is going in the horror movie hall of fame.

Leatherface is Back

Many horror buffs were surprised and skeptical when Netflix let out that it would be producing its own Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  When it comes to horror, Netflix has played it safe with shorter physiological thrillers with low budgets, often ending with an awkward CGI monster meant to jumpscare you before the end credits.  Most of Netflix’s horror films have minimal blood and gore and are often more so societal statement pieces than spine-shivering murder sprees.  Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre came out of nowhere, and many questioned why Netflix would go for such a large and monumental piece?  I think the real question is, why not?

Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre was in production for two years starting in 2020 and the filming process was quite scandalous.  After buying the rights to Texas Chainsaw Massacre from Legendary Pictures, Netflix hired Ryan Tohill and Andy Tohill to direct the film.  However, later when reviewing the tapes Netflix decided they didn’t like Ryan and Andy Tohill’s film, firing them and hiring David Blue Garcia as Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s new director.  The team started from scratch, scrapping all of the Tohill brother’s film.

Interestingly, Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre was filmed in Bulgaria, and David Blue Garcia said one of the most challenging parts of filming was getting the set to look like Texas, emphasizing on West Texas to make it a little more believable.  Although, all of us Texans know they were pretty far off from three miles out of Austin.


The Plot

Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre begins with young entrepreneurs Melody (Sarah Yarkin), Dante (Jacob Latimore), Ruth (Nell Hudson) who is Dante’s girlfriend, and Lila (Elsie Fisher) who is Melody’s sister; characters clearly meant to represent Gen Z, with environmental talk and little appreciation for tradition or ideas other than their own.  The group is driving towards Harlow, a little ghost town in the middle of West Texas, that Dante and Melody have bought in hopes of rebuilding from scratch, starting by auctioning off storefronts to wealthy, city buyers.  Before the buyers arrive at the seemingly vacant town, the group notices a Confederate flag hanging from the window of an orphanage.  Knowing their buyers wouldn’t favor the Confederate flag, Dante and Melody head inside the orphanage to take it down.  Melody and Dante wander through the old orphanage and realize that an old woman, Ginny, is still residing in Harlow with her last orphan who is now a middle-aged man.  Ginny claims she still owns the property and has the papers to prove it but after offending Melody and Dante, she is quickly kicked out and has a heart attack.  While in the ambulance, Ginny dies and the middle-aged man crashes the car, killing everyone.  The man who is now aggravated, skins Ginny and puts on her face becoming Leatherface.  Leatherface heads off to Harlow to kill Melody and Dante, and anyone who stands in his way.

Throughout Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the film covers many problems our society faces focusing on the problems of young people, like racism, gentrification, school shootings, and cancel culture.  Yes, it is a lot for an hour and 20-minute movie, or any movie at that, but it wouldn’t be a Netflix horror movie if there wasn’t a greater meaning.  The film lightly glazes over most of these societal problems, like how Dante claims to be so woke yet is directly contributing to gentrification which has been known to target black communities, or how the wealthy buyers literally die to maintain cancel culture.  Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre focuses on school shootings and what it can feel like to be a survivor.  When Lila chooses to fight back at the end of the film it means so much because it represents Lila accepting that she survived the school shooting and deciding that she wants to live, choosing to use her trauma to lift her up rather than hold her down.

In all honesty, the plot to Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre feels forced and has many plot holes.  The storyline feels as if it accompanies the gory kills rather than the kills happening as the story progresses.  I love a good slasher-killer so I didn’t mind, but if you plan to watch Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the story then you’re probably better off just watching Micheal Myers.  As well, the characters felt very shallow.  It was very apparent that the main four characters were meant to represent typical Gen Z, and there wasn’t any character development.  We never learn anything about the characters so watching them die felt very dissociated.  However, considering how realistic the kills were it’s understandable that some aspects of Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre would be lacking.


The Kills

Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre has some of the goriest kills I have ever seen, I was honestly shocked.  When watching Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre I wasn’t expecting much as far as gore, as Netflix has never produced a slasher-thriller before and never at this level, but I was happily surprised.  Both the prosthetic effects and graphic effects were extremely well-executed, and even the angles at which the kills were filmed were spectacular.

Two major prosthetic scenes stood out to me, which were Dante’s slashed face and the bus driver’s decapitated head, because yes, it really is that gory.  Both prosthetics were extremely detailed, especially Dante’s slashed face which was included in a whole monologue scene and was scarily accurate.  As far as graphic effects go, Netflix did not disappoint either.  Netflix gave us everything with Texas Chainsaw Massacre, combining pan shots (when the camera zooms out), with graphic effects to give the goriest kills the full effect without looking cheesy or obviously edited in.  Some of the graphic effect kills were so good; like Richter’s death, they left me wondering how Netflix was allowed to air them at all.

What gave Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre that extra edge was the intense attention to detail.  Every kill scene was artfully filmed, from the angle at which the kill was shot, to actor expressions, to the audio effects.  Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre shot kills at many obscure angles, often in the perspective that a character might see from.  Screen time was spent well, with the deaths of the main characters getting more time and the actors playing it up evoking sympathetic feelings for the characters despite having little character depth.  The audio was frankly scary as there was no background music to the film.  Many of the kills were done off-screen leaving the viewer with only the audio and their imagination, only showing the viewer the aftermath.  Every floorboard creak and spine crack was intensified and it felt as if I was watching the kills happen right in front of me.

Lastly, I want to acknowledge the amazing job Netflix did with kills involving decapitations.  In every Texas Chainsaw Massacre, there is at least one decapitation, and oftentimes directors either go too far with it or not far enough.  Decapitations can look cheezy and weird with prosthetic heads or just feel like a waste of screen time when done off-camera.  Netflix found a happy medium, combining prosthetics with graphic effects and filming the decapitation scenes from far away, cutting to a different angle right before the viewer could notice any imperfections.  Netflix’s director did an especially great job in the final scene which was filmed with a prosthetic that smoothly transitioned to a graphic effect and zoom out.

In other words, Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre is not for the faint of heart.


Future of Film

While watching Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, one of the most noticeable aspects of the film itself is that it has little to no product placement.  Product placement is when companies or brands will pay producers to embed their products into a film to get the viewer’s attention.  For example, a product like a soda can might be held by a character, “conveniently” showing the brand of the soda.  While a few seconds of screen time may not seem that important, companies will pay millions for product placement, and when you see a film with a ton of product placement this is usually a sign of a low-budget film.  This is not the case with Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as the only product placement in the whole film is the Tesla Model S which is used throughout the film, and the classic Poulan 306a chainsaw which is used in all the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies.

So, how does this play into the future of film?  Netflix’s lack of sponsors essentially means that Netflix produced Texas Chainsaw Massacre almost entirely on their own.  With all the money Netflix has accumulated, this wasn’t hard to do.  Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre wasn’t limited by budget or product placement cuts meaning the final film is exactly how it was intended to be.  If all film production companies had this kind of expense freedom, movies that were just good could become jaw-dropping, and cinematography itself would excel in skill and method 10 times faster.



If you’re a fan of bloody slasher-thrillers I highly suggest Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Though Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre isn’t perfect, with a far from superb plot, it is still an unforgettable experience.  For their first slasher-thriller horror movie Netflix pulled all the stops and gave us an amazing movie.  I can’t wait to see what’s next for Netflix horror and when Leatherface makes his next comeback.