Double Feature: Leatherface (2017) & The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

Welcome to the next double feature as we continue on the A-Z journey through Netflix. As mentioned in the previous one, I did two L selections mostly because I have nothing interesting I wanted to watch for the Q selection. Here we are with a horror franchise addition Leatherface and a YA fantasy novel adaptation in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

Let’s check them out!

Leatherface (2017)

leatherface

Director: Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury

Cast: Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Sam Strike, Vanessa Grasse, Finn Jones, Sam Coleman, Jessica Madsen, James Bloor

A teenage Leatherface escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnapping a young nurse and taking her on a road trip from hell, while being pursued by a lawman out for revenge. – IMDB

I’m not going to lie that its been a while since I saw Leatherface (or at least it feels that way). Either that or it was simply one that I didn’t really care too much for because its fading really fast from my memory. I’ve never been really on track with Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. My startoff point was with the 2003 remake where I was so new to horror that I barely even watched that one and then went on to watching Texas Chainsaw in 2016 (Review) which was pointless and disappointing so I wasn’t sure how to feel about this one. Leatherface is something of an origin story. But then Texas Chainsaw was kind of an origin story also. I believe how I feel about Leatherface is probably how people that I’ve talked to who dislike Rob Zombie’s Halloween feels like where the fact of giving Michael Meyers a reason behind why he is the way he is makes it less scary (although I do like Rob Zombie’s Halloween) however for Leatherface, the movie seems to be doing the same thing and in a much less effective way might I say.

There’s a ton of problems here. The story in general does work in the beginning and then it falls apart in the middle and somehow ends up trying to pull off a twist ending because the deal with this is that we never quite know who is meant to turn into Leatherface and that is the big question throughout this entire crew we’re watching. I’m not going to lie that it did work on some levels but then, something just never seems to land.

I’m not sure if its because I’m not familiar with this franchise but I’d really like to hear fans of this franchise tell me whether this one worked for you or not?

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

city of bones

Director: Harald Zwart

Cast: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Robert Sheehan, Robert Maillet, Kevin Durand, Godfrey Gao, Lena Headey, Harry Van Gorkum, Jonathan Rhys Meyer

When her mother disappears, Clary Fray learns that she descends from a line of warriors who protect our world from demons. She joins forces with others like her and heads into a dangerous alternate New York called the Shadow World. – IMDB

You can tell from the way the story ended and where it chose to end The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones that it didn’t plan to be a one movie deal but unfortunately, I believe the movie didn’t do too good so somehow it ended up being a TV series instead. Since I haven’t gotten around to writing up the TV binge for Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments quite yet, I’m going to get down to business and say that I have never read the novel series but I do love the TV series a lot and felt pretty sad when it got cancelled. However, we are here for the movie adaptation and I’m going to go straight out with this and say that, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was actually not too bad. Its biggest fault (very similar to what I thought about Death Note) is that it had too much story to stuff into a movie (which is probably why it works better as a TV series).

The movie itself had a decent cast. I actually didn’t mind the chemistry behind the two main leads, Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower playing Clary and Jace respectively. They were pretty decent. Everyone else was also pretty good in their roles. Except, the biggest problem is with a story built through a lot of background lore and connections and deeper relationships (family, love, revenge, friendship), it falls apart because none of the characters get the depth and development because of the lack of screen time. At the same time, there was a whole lot of Shadowhunters things that weren’t really explained or highlighted which made it seem even more confusing for people who haven’t been exposed to this world before. Seeing as the film took 2 hours to get where the TV series took almost a season to achieve, this shows how much was taken out.

In the end, the overall issue with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was its execution and an oversimplification of content making it lacking a lot of substance hence, making it feel disjointed. There are some cute scenes between Jace and Clary which worked but the story was all over the pace. Its always interesting to see how some more known stars end up in these YA adaptation projects and in this case, we have Lena Headey as Clary’s mom and Jonathan Rhys Meyer as the villain Valentine, who pretty much had zero presence, another issue with the movie having too much to cover and not enough time for its characters.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen either of these films before?

 

Netflix A-Z: Texas Chainsaw (2013)

Next up is the T selection! Man, the choices for this was huge.  Honestly,  I couldn’t quite decide what I wanted to watch.  My original selection in the rundown was between Tomorrowland and Two Night Stand but somehow, I just didn’t feel like watching either of those so I switched it up.  I guess what I wanted was something that was easy to watch and I have no idea why I went for Texas Chainsaw.  Don’t even ask me because I’ve only ever seen one Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie and that was the remake in 2003.  I would never had thought I’d start up a Texas Chainsaw anything after that one since that was so memorable in the way that I watched about 20 minutes of  the movie and hid under my coat covering my ears for the remaining portion and randomly peaking out into gory scenes on screen.  Sure was a great way to spend Halloween with friends, right?  That being said, watching more horror has desensitived me a little to it all, I guess so I feel confident about watching this.

Enough rambling! Let’s check it out!

 Texas Chainsaw (2013)

texas chainsaw

Director: John Luessenhop

Cast: Alexandra Daddario, Trey Songz, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Shaun Sipos, Thom Barry, Paul Rae

A young woman travels to Texas to collect an inheritance; little does she know that an encounter with a chainsaw-wielding killer is part of the reward.- IMDB

Texas Chainsaw turns out to be in the horror thriller genre according to IMDB.  Not quite a surprise there for the horror part.  I’m not sure its a thriller though.  When Texas Chainsaw ended, I literally said to myself, “Wow, that was more dramatic than I expected it to be.” I don’t know the origin story to Leatherface. There was only one time before that I’ve seen anything of this and that was back in 2003 and I don’t think closing my ears, just hearing muffled sounds and peeking at the screen randomly counts as even seeing the movie.  My impression of the franchise is that its gory and violent and Leatherface is super scary. What Texas Chainsaw is is an origin story, giving a reason to why Leatherface does what he does.  I guess it makes him an anti-hero? But I mean, all the horror baddies like Michael Myers, Freddy, Jason kind of had back stories too that justified what they did, I guess it gives reason to why this movie is necessary if it wasn’t covered before (has it been covered?)  The thing is Leatherface suddenly seems justified in being the chainsaw-wielding giant (he’s 6 foot 5, so he’s giant to me) and even if it didn’t justify it, it seemed to try to make us sympathize for him.  But then, I guess what the deal is is that it didn’t all quite make a lot of sense, like the flow of the story.

texas chainsaw

The story here derives from Heather getting a call from a lawyer that she’s actually a Sawyer.  We know that because of the opening sequence portion but then it flashes to her adoptive parents that seem to give her nothing on the story and she just storms out. But still, she goes to follow the trail to get her inheritance which turns out to be a big house with tall gates and “Bitch” spray painted on one of the rock columns.  Inviting, right? But her and her friends still think its a great idea. And of course, she doesn’t follow instructions of what was left behind and in turn things get out of hand to what makes this movie.  I mean, the issue with this movie isn’t that its bad but rather that there are a lot of bad decisions, like illogical ones.  For example, why would you leave the stranger you picked up at a gas station in your new inherited house? Normally, wouldn’t at least one person stay behind? I do groceries by myself a lot and they needed four people to do a little bit of groceries. The plot had a lot of meaningless bits also that amounted to nothing either but it also gave us another side of the story (without giving away too much if you haven’t seen it and intend to).

texas chainsaw

Our cast here is actually rather familiar (to me at least).  For one, the main girl is Alexandra Daddario who I recently saw in San Andreas.  I’m guessing this is one of those starting roles in her career and for some odd reason they had to emphasize her awesome body and her big boobs for no odd reason like the scene above.  However, she was good with what her character was given.  Some times, in these roles, the main character isn’t particularly smart and she was okay. We can’t blame her for the script decisions.  Her character didn’t have much change and it didn’t make a whole lot of sense but I think she did alright for what she had.  There was Shaun Sipos who played the stranger they picked up called Darryl.  His role wasn’t huge but then I really like him quite a bit.  I just wish to see him in more significant roles.  But then, I haven’t seen Lost Dreams and apparently that’s supposed to be decent.  Moving on is another earlier role of Scott Eastwood.  I think this guy has some talent even if I only saw him in The Longest Ride.  He’s good looking and actually can interpret some good roles and in this one, his role was a nice addition.

Overall, Texas Chainsaw

Most of all, we have to talk about the main focus here: Leatherface.  I have to say that the character design at some angles weren’t great but then the story itself had its lacking moments as well and some parts didn’t make sense. However, there are some cringe-worthy moments and even some parts that did make me feel kind of tense.  Its still in the predictable slasher area but this scene up there, maybe wasn’t all the necessary, just like the open shirt side boob scene above, but I guess, it builds the character of what makes up Leatherface’s face. All in the name of the origin story building, right? 😉

Overall, it might sound like I’m trashing the movie.  Texas Chainsaw is by no means a slasher horror with a great story and it even enters the dramatic/suspenseful area to fulfill the thriller genre portion.  It gives us something like a twist and there’s an origin story that doesn’t completely make sense.  The characters and cast are decent.  I’m guessing I can’t be horrible about it because I haven’t seen the previous two (at all or much so I’m not a fan of the franchise either).  Something about a giant man wielding a chainsaw with a scary mask face makes me really agitated and tense so that alone made me a little nervous to watch it in certain parts but then, if it was in comparison to looking for gore like in the 2003 one (from what I remember), this one had next to none.  It all depends on what you expect.  To me, slashers (especially sequels) don’t always have stories that fully make sense and there’s a some bad decisions to be made and then some meaningless sexy moments and this movie had it all.  It was nothing new and there was like a scene or two of what looked like bad CGI so I’m indifferent to it.  That’s where I stand right now, maybe if I went back to watch the original and remake and come back, I might revisit it and do another review on it then. 😉

Have you seen Texas Chainsaw? What are your thoughts? Are you a fan of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise? Do you think I should go back and check out the movies before this?