[Review] Teques Chainsaw Massacre [Screamfest]: It’s Mayhem in Mexico for an Ill-Fated Film Crew

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

With a horror movie titled Teques Chainsaw Massacre (Masacre en Teques; Mexico, 2023), you might expect a horror comedy — and you would be right, but only for part of the running time as the laughs cease abruptly and the film takes a dark, gore-filled turn and never looks back in director Rodrigo Hernández-Cruz’s feature.

A group of student filmmakers, their pretentious producer, and a soap opera actress venture to a seemingly abandoned house in the titular rural area of Mexico. The director wants to make cinematic “Art” with a capital A, while the others think he is full of himself. The first part of the film mostly finds the group doing its best to work together — rivalries and jealousies abound — though viewers know from the film’s cold open in which the group’s location scout is attacked that someone with a penchant for murder resides there. 

The title makes clear what type of vibe that Hernández-Cruz wanted to go for, and he delivers in graphic spades. Viewers witness some gruesome kills earlier on, but it is nothing compared to the brutal mayhem that occurs once a certain character surprisingly meets their demise and the film takes a twisted turn. The grisly work from Special Makeup Effects Artist Cristan Perez Jauregui, Special Effects Artist Gerardo Muñoz, and the crew members assisting them is terrific and is on full display. 

The members of the ensemble cast — which include Francisco de la Reguera, Ramón Medína, Danae Reynaud, Ricardo Esquerra, Jose Carlos Fermat, Florencia Ríos, Said Sandoval, and Juan Ugarte — all give dialed-in performances. Some are meant to be satirical and others meant more for the serious side of things, so the styles vary depending on what is asked of each performer and their character. 

Hernández-Cruz proves equally adept at handling horror comedy and straight horror. The tonal shift will certainly feel jarring to some viewers. Without wanting to get too deeply into spoiler territory, the screenplay by Hernández-Cruz, Carlos Marín, and Alfredo Mendoza relies somewhat heavily on coincidence for the killer’s backstory and the crew’s choice of location. Overall, Teques Chainsaw Massacre serves up enough splatterific kills and butcherous homage to a certain subgenre of horror classics that fright-fare fanatics should find it a more than worthwhile watch.

Teques Chainsaw Massacre screens as part of  Screamfest, which takes place in Los Angeles from October 10–19, 2023. For more information, visit  https://screamfestla.com/.

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.