Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot brings back original survivor Sally Hardesty, but utterly fails the character. One of the most well-known horror archetypes is the “final girl,” the lone female survivor who usually manages to defeat the villain, or at least make it out of their rampage alive. In director Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Sally (as played by Marilyn Burns), served as one of the earliest examples of the final girl. She was far from an action heroine, but she still outlived everyone else.

While Sally is heavily associated with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, she didn’t go on to become a recurring character within it, outside of a quick (and strange) cameo by Burns in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. Instead, Sally was written out in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 as having died in a mental hospital. That is until Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022 brought her back, which it was able to do by retconning all past sequels.


With Burns having passed away in 2014, Sally is now played by Olwen Fouéré, and in this new continuity, she became a Texas Ranger after surviving Leatherface in 1974. She spent nearly 50 years searching for him, and when he resurfaces in the 2022 movie, she shows up armed and ready for a showdown. That’s all well and good, outside of being rather close to the use of Laurie Strode in Halloween 2018. Unfortunately, the reality of how Sally is actually used utterly fails such an iconic character. Sally’s assault on Leatherface is ineffective, her efforts ultimately accomplish nothing, and she was barely onscreen for five minutes before dying.

While Sally didn’t necessarily need to beat Leatherface, or even survive Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022, for her return to be satisfying, how Sally was incorporated into the plot left much to be desired. Unlike the aforementioned Laurie Strode, Sally played almost no real role in her comeback movie. In fact, Sally’s scenes could be almost entirely cut out without affecting the plot progression of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022 at all. If anything, Sally’s role is a glorified cameo, which makes no sense to do when the original actress isn’t even around to reprise the part.

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The Texas Rangers are a fairly elite law enforcement group, meaning that Sally Hardesty couldn’t have just casually decided to become one. She likely spent years working her way to that position, and holding it should’ve given her an aptitude with firearms at the very least, and also possibly an aptitude for tracking and apprehending suspects. While Sally is an older woman in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022, and Leatherface is no ordinary suspect, her almost complete inability to actually hit him with shots, terrible plan of trying to fight a man with a giant chainsaw in close quarters, and general lack of an actual strategy against him makes her seem like she would’ve been pretty terrible as a Texas Ranger. Sally Hardesty’s use in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022 is both an insult to the character, and an insult to the original 1974 movie that spawned her.

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