Wesley R. Ball’s review published on Letterboxd:
Less rooted in atmosphere and more concerned with pure insanity, Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a horror sequel that actually manages to stand out on its own. Maybe it's not quite as iconic or memorable as the original classic, but there are elements to this film that worked on their own. The best thing is that Hooper doesn't try to bank off of the success of the original and instead creates a new tale loosely connected to the first film. Even better, Leatherface is given a bit of character depth as well, making him all the more of a sympathetic character that I somewhat imagined him as being in the first film.
A lot changes in twelve years. The cannibal family has moved out of their rickety old Texas farmhouse and built up a new murder house underground. They're still eager for fresh flesh, but will easy rider Dennis Hopper be able to stop their cannibalistic crusade? Dennis Hopper's character seems almost as crazy as Leatherface himself, with an oral fixation on chainsaws that makes the audience wonder who the real madman of the film is. I loved that Hooper decided to take a different turn for this sequel, in what could have easily been a horribly mishandled mess that only tries to mimic its predecessor. There are many horror sequels that feel like clones of the originals, begging the question as to why the creators thought a sequel was even worth it in the first place. Like Evil Dead II, however, this sequel completely changes the tone from the first film into something deliberately fun and crazy. Dueling chainsaws, Leatherface falling in love and dancing, Dennis Hopper screaming "Bring it all down!" like a madman- it all fits in perfectly for this sequel, making it a fun and worthwhile venture that proves to be another successful blind buy for me.
I had no idea what to expect from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. I was certain that Hooper could not match the eerie atmosphere that fueled the horror behind the original classic, but I was curious as to what would make this one so great. Instead of trying to leech off the story and success of the original, the sequel is a lot more fun and even humorous at times. The antagonists' insanity carries over from the first film and is multiplied exponentially, amping up the adrenaline levels that last much longer than they did in the first film. It doesn't match the masterful perfection that the first one reached for me, but darned if I didn't have a great time watching this. A genuinely surprising horror sequel that defied my own expectations, as far as sequels go.