Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (originally released as The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre) was written and directed by Kim Henkel, and stars Renée Zellweger, Matthew McConaughey, and Robert Jacks as Leatherface.
If you thought Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III was the lowest the franchise could go, you’ve not seen anything yet. The only reason to watch this horrible movie is to see famous actors before they were famous. Just don’t expect greatness from them as their characters are so rubbish.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation plot revolves around four teenagers in Texas who leave their prom early and get into a crash with another car. While they searching for help, they end up crossing paths with Leatherface and his family. His new family, led by the psychotic Vilmer who seems be working for a secret society.
What starts off as ‘seen it all before’ story turns into standard Texas stuff before descending into absurdity that just leaves you scratching your head. The latter part of the movie might have been interesting simply because its different but it’s so nonsensical, it’s no fun. Not only that, to get there you have to wade through a swamp of bland characters, disappointing violence, uninspired gore and a Leatherface that is shockingly ineffective.
Robert Jacks’ version of the killer is second-rate. Not only does he lack the deadly finesse of other versions, this film instead choses to focus more on him adopting the persona of faces he wears. For example, when he wears a female face, he becomes much more effeminate. That’s not a bad idea but it’s not handled with grace here. Instead, the acting becomes quite hokey and the iconic killer comes across like an idiot.
The other notable actors, Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey would certainly go on to do much better things. Neither is spectacular here, Zellweger’s Jenny is plain and the early promise of darker developments with her, never amounts to anything. In fact, the cover you often see is down-right false advertising.
McConaughey’s Vilmer is more enjoyable as he gets to play a villain and does it in an ‘over the top’ way. The problem with his character is that he takes up too much screen time and his ‘leg’ thing just seems jammed in so we can get an ending.
It’s such an unsatisfying watch but the worst thing about Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is how far removed from the franchise roots it feels. Considering this sequel comes from Kim Henkel who had previously co-written the original suggests the actual talent lay at the feet of Tobe Hooper.
This film was such a critical and commercial failure that it would actually kill the franchise until 2003 when the remake would be released. It surely can’t get any worse then this.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
The Final Score - 2/10