Art critique

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Proves Scream 5’s Biggest Review Was Right

When it comes to the return of classic slasher stories, the go-to storytelling technique has been the “requel.” Short for reboot-sequel, these films usually take the best parts of the original and invigorate it with something new for a new generation. While Scream (2022) noted this trope, it looks like it’s been given new life thanks to the latest trailer for Chainsaw Massacre. Not only is the film a requel by definition, but by leaning heavily on the past to forge a new future, it also validates the explanation provided in the last Scream.

Scream (2022) takes the franchise full circle by introducing new characters as well as legacy characters. But rather than telling a totally new angle, it subverts established ones, allowing seasoned fans to be surprised as well. There’s also a scene that lays out its requel roots with cinephile Mindy Meeks (Jasmin Savoy Brown) laying down the rules for this new horror genre. These rules include a standalone movie tied to the original, bringing back classic characters and introducing new ones, and packed with tons of fan service. Surprisingly, the meta takes a more literal approach with Chainsaw Massacre.

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Little is known about the sequel’s exact plot, but the trailer paints a clear picture of the expectations set for the new movie. For starters, the movie is a direct sequel to the original but is separate enough to attract a new generation of curious fans. As a result, a new cast of characters are also brought in to combat the threats presented by Leatherface. Yet seasoned fans can also expect a familiar face from the first film with the return of Sally Hardesty’s character. However, there’s a ton of grassroots fan service that begins and ends with Leatherface’s Chainsaw ending.

While the angle the film aims for is clearly in requel territory, it also borrows from another film that had a similar angle, Halloween 2018. A new collection of protagonists are introduced in this film alongside the older survivalist version of Laurie Strode. With his help, his family could slow down and nearly end Michael Myer’s murderous rampage. It’s a simple plot that unites new and old fans of the franchise. Chainsaw Massacre can do the same with a good balance of fan service and story progression.

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Rather than separating the fan service from the story, Scream instead, it took fan service and moments from the original film and worked it into the story. From Stu Macher’s house to a recreation of the original kill from the first movie, every moment helped drive the story forward while reminding fans of the past. It is not clear if Chainsaw Massacre will follow the same storytelling style, but it’s a path the story could take to improve its overall impact.

Chainsaw Massacre is the latest in the slasher genre to tell a new story in a universe that helped define the genre. As a result, the film has great potential to break the mold and create something new and terrifying. That said, fans will have to wait for the premiere to see if the movie will follow through. Screamtraces of or further redefining the definition of a requel for fans.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre hits Netflix February 18.

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