Leatherface is a 2017 horror film directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo and written by Seth M. Sherwood. It is the eighth installment in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre franchise, and a prequel to the 1974 film which is also set in the timeline established by the previous installment, 2013’s Texas Chainsaw 3D.
It is about a teenage Leatherface who escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnaps a young nurse and takes her on a road trip from hell. Along the way, they are pursued by an equally deranged Texas ranger named Hal Hartman who's out for revenge, and they quickly run into the infamous Sawyer family. One of these teens is destined for tragedy and horrors that will destroy his mind, molding him into the monster we now call Leatherface.
The film was first shown on August 25, 2017 at Empire's Leicester Square, released exclusively on DirecTV's streaming service on September 21 of that year, and later distributed through theaters on October 20.
This films provides example of:
- Ax-Crazy: The entire Sawyer family.
- Cannibal Clan: The Sawyer family are as deranged and insane in this as they are in the original. In this film however there's no indication of actual cannibalism and the bodies of their victims are fed to the pigs.
- Chainsaw Good: Even as a teenager, he managed to get a hold of one.
- Coming of Age Story: A horrific and tragic variant for Jedidiah, who's taken from his home and given a new identity as Jackson, a suave teen who flirts with Lizzy on the first encounter. However, after a series of tragedies and a facial deformity, Jackson's psyche breaks completely and is reset as the iconic Leatherface, who kills without question and ends the movie by making a mask from both Hartman and Lizzy's faces. Leatherface comes of age by losing his original identity and losing the remainder of his innocence.
- Downer Ending: Given it's a prequel, this isn't surprising. Jackson loses his fragile sanity after Bud's death and after he is shot in the face leading to him killing Hartman and then Lizzy when he chooses his mother over her. The final scene is Jackson creating his first mask, which is half of Hartman's face and half of Lizzy's face, solidifying his transition into Leatherface.
- The alternate ending, which is closest to the original script, is even darker. Lizzy doesn't escape the house. Instead, she tries to hide in an upstairs room but is found by Verna who orders Jackson to kill her. He eventually nearly amputates one of her legs but can't bring himself to finish her. Suddenly, Grandpa hits her across the face with the hammer. The final scene plays out like the original, with Jackson creating his mask from Hartman and Lizzy's face. However, we then see that Lizzy isn't dead - instead, she is hanging on a hook with the bottom half of her face missing, still barely alive. Jackson admires her body and then brings his chainsaw between her legs just as the film cuts to the credits.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Lizzy probably could have survived and prevented the full transformation of Leatherface if she hadn't chosen to insult Verna Sawyer in her You Are Better Than You Think You Are "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight.
- Evil Matriarch: The designated mother of the Sawyer family shows how the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, even if Leatherface was already messed up before they got to the Sawyers.
- Facial Horror: When Hal Hartman shoots at the escaping Jackson/Jedidiah and Lizzy, the bullet tears off the former's face.
- Fed to Pigs: The Sawyer family does this to their victims after killing them (as opposed to eating them).
- Final Girl: Lizzy White, a rookie nurse kidnapped by the four inmates after they escape the sanatorium, fulfills this role.
- Subverted given that Jackson murders her at the end of the movie, solidifying his transition into Leatherface.
- Fingore: Hal Hartman's hands get horrifically cut up before he dies with a chainsaw to the chest.
- Foregone Conclusion: Due to being a prequel, Leatherface (which ever one of the teens he will be) will survive and the Texas ranger will fail in his mission to kill him.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Jedidiah Sawyer goes from mental hospital escapee to becoming Leatherface.
- Gentle Giant: Bud is this most of the time, except when he isn't.
- Gorn: This movie is rather bloody, but the scene with the dead cow stands out.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jackson and Bud are very close.
- Hillbilly Horrors: The Sawyer Family.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Jackson wishes he could be different and be with Lizzy under normal circumstances.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Lizzie tries this with Leatherface. It doesn't work.
- Off with Her Head!: Lizzy White's fate at the hands of Leatherface.
- Origin Story: For Leatherface. One of the escaped teens will ultimately become him.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: The beginning of the film opens up with Jedidiah about to kill an alleged burglar they captured, but he is hesitant to kill him, leaving Verna to kill the thief with a chainsaw Jedidiah received as a gift.
- Rage Against the Reflection: After wearing the Hartman/Lizzy mask, Jedidiah destroys a mirror with a pair of scissors before the credits start rolling.
- Red Herring: The most likely candidate for Leatherface is Bud; obese, mentally impaired and prone to murderous tendencies when angered. Then he gets killed.
- Road Trip Plot: After they escape their prison, the teenagers and a nurse go on a road trip to kill some more.
- Shoutout: In an homage to the famous opening sequence of the original film, at one point there's a close up on an old-fashioned camera going off.
- Villainous Incest: implied by Hartman as happening within the Sawyer family, when he presents Verna as Jed's mother, or aunt... or both.