Texas Chainsaw Massacre Reviews Have Arrived, Here's What Critics Are Saying About The Netflix Horror Reboot

Texas Chainsaw Massacre
(Image credit: Netflix)

Everything old is new again, and unfortunately for some new visitors of Harlow, Texas, that adage definitely includes Leatherface. Texas Chainsaw Massacre hit Netflix on February 18 as the ninth film in the horror franchise, yet serves as more of a direct sequel to Tobe Hooper's 1974 slasher The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Critics had a chance to see the latest horror requel ahead of its release, so we’re here to help you decide if you want to add this one to your watch list.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre was directed by David Blue Garcia and stars Sarah Yarkin and Elsie Fisher as sisters Melody and Lily, who travel to Texas on a business venture with friends Dante (Jacob Latimore) and Ruth (Nell Hudson). Sally Hardesty, the iconic Final Girl from the original (and two sequels), is played now by Mandy's Olwen Fouéré, as the role’s original actress, Marilyn Burns, died in 2014. Let’s take a look at what the critics are saying about Texas Chainsaw Massacre, starting with our CinemaBlend review

Nick Venable rates the movie 3.5 stars out of 5, saying the slasher film does what it’s supposed to do — deliver entertaining and masterful massacres — even while toying with themes of gentrification and guns. 

As one of the longest-running horror franchises that still adheres to certain shades of continuity, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre universe has arguably seen more lows than highs in the past 48 years, with filmmakers who just haven’t been able to properly capture the backwoods madness of Tobe Hooper’s original film. (Nor its hoot-worthy genre-mashing sequel.) And while the latest effort from burgeoning filmmaker David Blue Garcia (Tejano) also isn’t a perfect representation, Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre does what few post-Hooper films have tried to do: have fun amidst the bloody brutality.

Valerie Complex of Deadline, however, doesn’t find any fun in the film. The actors do their best with the material, but the irrational script already puts Texas Chainsaw Massacre on this critic’s Worst Movies of the Year list.

Every horror trope in the book is executed throughout a film that juiced up on Deus Ex Machina overload. People trip and fall on cue, stand around not even trying to prevent their own murders, individuals surviving the impossible, and the main heroines getting saved by fate every single time they’re in trouble. Many horror movies are full of tropes, yet they persist because they are executed well and include engaging characters. Unfortunately, you won’t find any of that here.

Jude Dry of IndieWire gives the movie a C+, saying while there’s not a lot of new ground covered here, Leatherface gives viewers some amusing kills, and horror fans should find themselves satisfied.

Aside from a mild commentary of mass shootings and late stage capitalism (the term even gets a shout-out), the story of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” hangs loosely around dopey characters and unsurprising plot developments. Still, it delivers plenty of blood spattered, gut-spilling gore to satisfy genre lover’s bloodlust, even if we’ve pretty much seen everything a chainsaw can do by now.

In a movie that connects directly to the classic original, Chris Evangelista of SlashFilm argues all that’s really accomplished is highlighting how much better the 1974 movie was. He rates Texas Chainsaw Massacre a 4 out of 10 and says while there’s tons of blood, the movie isn’t particularly frightening.

Gorehounds will certainly have much to love here, as Leatherface's chainsaw (and hammer, and other random objects) obliterates one poor soul after another. But is any of it scary? There's a literal massacre aboard a party bus that's so over-the-top that it becomes comical, and this, too, is just another nail in the film's coffin.

Matt Donato of IGN gives the movie a 5 out of 10 — or “Mediocre,” saying the movie has some standout kills, but the poorly written script ruins the experience.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre fails to redefine Leatherface's legacy any better than the sequels and remakes it leaves in the rearview. Those who only value slashers based on their body count and murderous creativity might give this pure guts, no glory slasher a pass. Otherwise, 2003's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre does "dark and gritty" better. Almost every other entry that features a freakshow family affair proves why Leatherface needs his Sawyers or Hewitts. Texas Chainsaw Massacre stinks like a basement full of corpses as Leatherface becomes just another hulking villain — not exactly the fresh start franchise diehards might have otherwise welcomed.

It sounds like the critics are in general agreement — Texas Chainsaw Massacre brings the blood but not really the plot. If this gory venture sounds like one you can stomach, you can catch this one from the comfort of your own home. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is streaming now on Netflix. Be sure to check out some of the other best movies on Netflix, as well as our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what else is coming soon.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.