Leatherface is a 2017 American horror film that was directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo. The film was written by Seth M. Sherwood and stars Stephen Dorff, Vanessa Grasse, Sam Strike, and Lili Taylor. It is the eighth film in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise and works as a direct prequel to 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, explaining the origin story of the lead character.
Following the financial success of Texas Chainsaw 3D, a sequel went into development from director John Luessenhop for a planned shoot in Louisiana, but failed to receive the green light to move forward. In favor of avoiding the convoluted continuity of the previous films while going in an unexpected direction, Sherwood pitched Leatherface to Millennium Films as a prequel that would follow the title character in a mentally competent state, enduring the trauma that transforms him into the intellectually disabled murderer that’s seen in the previous films. Maury and Bustillo signed on as directors after reading the screenplay, impressed with what they found to be a unique take on the long-running film franchise. The film takes place in the canon that was established by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Texas Chainsaw 3D, chronologically taking place before the two films.
Principal photography took place in Bulgaria in May and June of 2015, with locations and sets chosen for their resemblance to the Texas terrain and as homage to the series’ previous films. After being temporarily shelved by Lionsgate Films in 2016, the film was made exclusive via DirecTV on September 21, 2017, before receiving a wider release on video on demand and limited theaters, simultaneously, in North America on October 20, 2017. Overall, it generally received mixed reviews from film critics and garnered just a little bit over $792,000 worldwide.
The Film Itself (4.5/5):
Surprisingly, Leatherface wasn’t all that bad. When I first had this film show up at my door, I couldn’t help but think “oh great, it’s another play on an already successful film franchise” or that it’s another cash grab. But, after my wife and I sat down to watch this film last night, we found that we were given a really good back story for the infamous title character. Not only is it a pretty damn good back story, but it’s one that actually makes sense and falls in line with the crazy things that he’s done over the years. You would think, it really takes some messed up stuff to happen to someone to go as crazy as Leatherface has over the years, and this film really captures the messed up crap that he was subjected to throughout his childhood and adolescent years.
Picture Quality (4.5/5):
Overall, the picture quality of Leatherface was nicely done. Mostly everything about the Blu-ray release was done in a nice clean, clear and crisp manner; allowing everything to be seen and understood without any distortion. There were however a couple of moments, during the lower lit scenes, that could’ve used some more ambient lighting to present a clearer image; but it didn’t really deter from the overall experience and nicely conveyed the story that they were trying to tell.
Audio Quality (4/5):
Packaged with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track, Leatherface does everything within its power to offer an all out immersive experience for its viewers. Certainly doing a really nice job at making use of all of the channels within the technology and placing its viewers in the middle of everything, the experience would’ve definitely been a lot nicer had it been packaged with a 7.1 audio track. One of the more notorious sequences that really stood out with the included audio track was as the chainsaw was revving and the character that we’ve known as Leatherface over the years is taunting his victim. The film places the audience in the seat as the victim and allows you to hear the rather creepy sounds as their inevitable fate is about to unfold.
The Packaging (3/5):
Leatherface comes packaged in your standard single disc Blu-ray amaray case. Within that case is the standard Blu-ray copy of the film, with the disc featuring some artwork that’s relative to the film and differs from that of the case art. There are no DVD copies of the film included, however there is a digital copy redemption pamphlet that allows you to add the film to your digital collection. A slipcover has also been provided during the initial print run of this release.
Special Features (4/5):
Leatherface does come packaged with some additional content that allows for a continued excursion into the film and the story that they’re offering, including an alternate ending for the feature film. While the features that are included are pretty minimal, they are pretty elaborate. I do wish, however, that there would’ve also been a feature audio commentary included with the film. Included with this release is:
- Play Feature Film With Alternate Ending
- Behind The Bloody Mask: Making Leatherface
- Deleted Scenes
- Also From Lionsgate
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English SDH, Spanish
Original Film: 88 minutes
Overall, I was really glad that we were given the opportunity to check out Leatherface as it is definitely a film that I wouldn’t have picked up right from the get go. Telling a really nicely done origin story for the infamous murderer of the Texas Chainsaw film franchise really adds a new perspective to the earlier films. The story that we’re given with this release is nicely done and holds up through to the end. The overall visual and audible experience of the Blu-ray release was clean and clear; despite offering some room for improvement. There are a few special features that are included that also include an alternate ending for the film, as well as a behind the scenes look at the work that went into making this film available. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to pick this film up, I’d highly recommend picking up Leatherface on Blu-ray. It will be available from all retailers beginning on December 19.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.