Steven’s review published on Letterboxd:
Tobe Hooper's irreverence for his terrifying classic's reputation in his sequel was pretty hilarious to witness unfold onscreen. The final moments of this outright parody the harrowing final scene of the first film, and even though I consider the first one of my favourite horror movies of all time, I still kinda loved it?
I was fully convinced for the first half of the movie that I'd be giving this 4-4 1/2 stars by the end. It's more like a Texas Chainsaw film by way of Sam Raimi but that hardly felt like a bad thing. The visuals were pretty sharp, the action was absurd and a blast to watch, and there was genuine suspense in the radio tower sequence.
Unfortunately I feel the movie could have benefited from the brevity of its predecessor because it dragged a bit for me in its second half, and some parts just felt unpleasant to watch in a weird and uninteresting way. But, the location for it was pretty fantastic. A complex system of corridors and rooms underneath an amusement park (?) led to some pretty fun chase sequences and cool visuals.
The use of human remains as set dressing returns here, and what once painted a realistic and disturbing portrait of the Sawyer family in the first film has been reappropriated into something far more kitschy and entertaining. I chuckled at the arrangements of a few of the decorative skeletons I noticed in the background.
I also really loved Dennis Hopper's character and how hilariously inept he was, actively making things more difficult for the heroine while genuinely thinking he's doing...anything useful. And this made his actual acts of heroism during the film's climax feel even more satisfying and fun to watch.
Also he has a chainsaw duel with Leatherface, and I feel like that statement alone says everything one needs to know about this movie.